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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Vehicle confiscations: Good or bad?

Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 3:34 PM

Oregon state law allows seizure of vehicles from drivers accused of DUI, being unlicensed or driving on a suspended license, or having no insurance and/or registration.

The jail intake in the Times-Gazette most days is full of people arrested on those charges.

Would such a law in Tennessee be a deterrent? I like the idea but wonder if those driving under such conditions would think about that sort of law any more than the others they're ignoring.

But if those drivers are found guilty, those vehicles are sold and the local arresting agency gets a share of potential sales, would that be a possible revenue source? Or is that unfair to the arrestees?

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Our supreme Court gave the following extremely eloquent summary of unalienable rights:

"As in our interaction with our fellow-men certain principles of morality are assumed to exist, without which society would be impossible. So certain inherent rights lie at the foundation of all action, and upon a recognition of them alone can free institutions be maintained.

These inherent rights have never been more happily expressed than in the Declaration of Independence, the evangel of liberty to the people: "We hold these truths to be "self evident" - words so plain that their truth is recognized upon their mere statement - that all men are endowed" - NOT by the edicts of Emperors or decrees of Parliament, or acts of Congress, but by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" -

that is, rights which cannot be bartered away, or given away, or taken away... and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and to secure these - not grant them but secure them - "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". - Butchers' Union Co. v. Crescent City Co., 111 U.S. 746, at 756-757

On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as President. On March 9, 1933, Congress approved, in a special session, his Proclamation 2038 that became known as the Act of March 9, 1933:

There were three Proclamations - 2038, 2039 and 2040.

FDR declared a banking Holiday then included the citizens of the United States and any territories within its jurisdiction as the "Enemy to the United States" any time we were at war or in a state of emergency. He then declared our country in a state of emergency. The U.S. has never been taken out of the state of emergency. It has only had other state of emergencies declared and if I remember right we are still at war - "War on Terrorists".

-{ 12 USC 95(b) refers to the authority granted in the Act of October 6, 1917 (a/k/a The Trading with the Enemy Act or War Powers Act) which was "An Act to define, regulate, and punish trading with the enemy, and for other purposes".

So our Governments (both Federal and Sate) are operating under the laws of the Trading with the Enemy act of OCT. 6, 1917, CH 106, 40 STAT. 411 Sec as amended March of 1933.

Because of the Trading with the enemy act aka "War Powers Act" as amended on March 9, 1933, the courts can take control of or seize anything fought over or included in any court case.

This gave the courts a license to commit Grand Larceny! The courts are suppose to return your property after time served if found guilty, but when has that ever happened?

THIS IS ADMIRALTY JURISDICTION! Or Statutory law also known as the Uniform Commercial Code that protects corporations and not the people.

The stupidest thing is... the Trading with the Enemy Act prevents anyone from making a legal binding contract with the enemy! If everyone is an enemy, there can be no legal contracts in America except with foreign countries who are not the enemy.

And you thought we didn't have a Totalitarian Government!

Where did our Freedom go?

To answer the original question:

No the courts don't have a right to take our property away and sale it for their own benefit.

I can buy a house on Land Contract easier than I can buy a car. We are talking about thousands of dollars for a car today.

That is just Grand Theft to confiscate someone's car for a crime committed. They are committing a larger crime by stealing your vehicle and don't even have to wear a mask to do it.

For example:

DUI = Time in jail plus a $10,000 to $50,000 car + a fine too! That is a punishment too cruel and harsh for the crime. That is forbidden by the US Constitution.

Punish the person who committed the crime by putting them in jail. If they lose their job so what. They were probably drunk on their job also putting peoples lives in danger.

If people have to do drugs and/or drink then put them in jail. Maybe they can sober up and do something with their lives. The more times they do it the longer they stay in jail.

However, We need to remind the Governments - local, state and Federal that we the people are the sovereignty not the Government nor the courts.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Sun, Feb 28, 2010, at 12:48 PM

While DUI is despicable, I beleive killing someone with a car is worse...yet if they have had nothing to drink, then there is no punishment...a bad driver should not be punished...correct?

-- Posted by zygoat on Tue, Feb 23, 2010, at 11:45 AM

What are you talking about? Depending on the circumstances people are punished for killing people with their care-manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and so forth.

As for your Godlman Sachs bankers, yes, they should be put in jail for years if convicted of a crime.

The point I was making is that DUI is hardly a minor infraction, especially when it results in the death or maiming of innocent people.

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Tue, Feb 23, 2010, at 12:16 PM

Please, while the latter is despicable, DUI is hardly a minor infraction.

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Mon, Feb 22, 2010, at 4:46 PM

So I guess what you are saying is that DUI is worse than stealing trillions of dollars from American citizens and you children's future? I say this because there is no punishment demanded for the bankers and politicians that steal from daily. Go to a gas station and steal $40 and see what happens to you. Get a job with Goldman Sachs and steal a billion dollars and see what happens. While DUI is despicable, I beleive killing someone with a car is worse...yet if they have had nothing to drink, then there is no punishment...a bad driver should not be punished...correct?

-- Posted by zygoat on Tue, Feb 23, 2010, at 11:45 AM

while the little people debate how hard they should punish themselves for relatively minor infractions, the bankers steal, rape, and pillage grandma's IRA account and her house equity...but the banker is to be respected, not the brother with whom much is shared.

-- Posted by zygoat on Mon, Feb 22, 2010, at 3:39 PM

Please, while the latter is despicable, DUI is hardly a minor infraction.

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Mon, Feb 22, 2010, at 4:46 PM

while the little people debate how hard they should punish themselves for relatively minor infractions, the bankers steal, rape, and pillage grandma's IRA account and her house equity...but the banker is to be respected, not the brother with whom much is shared.

-- Posted by zygoat on Mon, Feb 22, 2010, at 3:39 PM

OK, here is simple....

DUI, did you get busted for being drunk at the moment? Yes... OK, guilty. Impound the car til the court date. If he/she is guilty then sell the car. If they did not fail the breath test and/or field test then they are OK. Give the car back. No questions asked. Oh wait they would not be in court if they did not fail one of the 2 tests.

Drug users, well you are in the same boat as DUI busted cats.

No license, well you have bigger issues. The car is impounded automatically. No questions asked. You should have never been on the road at all. Oh and you have no insurance, oh that is even better.........

If you have a warrant then you lose the car and all that you have. Who ever signs your bond agrees to lose what they have in your name.

Whether it is 1st or 4th DUI, I say they all get broken down as if there is no tomorrow.

-- Posted by UVilleGators on Sat, Feb 20, 2010, at 1:52 AM

It's quite possible to agree with both sides of the issue of confiscation for various reasons. However family members of the victims of DUI offenders would reasonably argue that the injuries/deaths their loved ones and themselves have suffered are just as painful and tragic whether the person driving drunk was a repeat offender or not. The person who chooses to drive drunk should suffer very painful legal consequences that have an impact that they would remember for a lifetime.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 7:47 PM

Dear Thom:

Thank you for your informative answer.

However, the question still remains: If the statement, "presumed innocent until proven guilty" is taken literally, then how can we incarcerate an individual for a length of time prior to his trial. To a lesser degree, the same can be said for forcing a presumed innocent person to post a bond.

My point is that we should stop using these flippant motherhood and apple pie statements to promote our system of justice. The fact of the matter is that we do not presume a charged offender to be innocent. Our system presumes the individual to be guilty until such time as the charging authority can haul the suspected offender into court and, in most cases, have him prove his innocence. If so is not the case, then pray tell us, why would the system incarcerate or, force bond upon, a presumedly innocent citizen?

Challenging the statement is not to say that the system is unjust, but rather to bring the irony to light.

-- Posted by garhawk on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 9:39 AM

I watch a show last week about California who does this very thing, they set up road blocks and if you don't have a licence or insurance they compound your car for 30 days, then you have to pay a fee and show prove of insurance or licence to get it back. But they say its targeting the illegals because they can't get a licence to get their car back. They interviewed an illegal and he said he has lost two trucks this way, but he's in construction and needs a truck to do his job so he just goes out and buys another one. He says he knows he breaking the law but how else is he to make a living. I wondered why the police didn't contact immigration to send these people back, but why should they, they are making money off them.

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 8:56 AM

keep in mind that talking on a cellphone when driving is just as dangerous as drinking and driving according to well controlled studies. The day is coming soon when driving cellphone users will be treated equally under the law with the drinkers. Whatever harsh punishment is decided upon for the greatly diminishing number of drinking drivers (yes DUI laws are working wonderfully, a little fact that is not well publicized for some reason, go figure) will soon be applied to the texters and talkers. So be careful what you wish for and what punishment you recommend for others, because it just might be you that has to take that same punishment someday...

-- Posted by zygoat on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 7:08 AM


That is for the State of TN, you can get a suspended drivers license for speeding in another state as well. It happens all of the time.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 7:45 PM

"Also, TN is not required to inform someone that their license is suspended. That means that if a person is truly unaware that their license has been suspended (say for an unpaid ticket that they forgot about), their car could still be confiscated."

Posted by Thom on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 8:35 PM

Mmm...not so sure that is accurate...

From the TN Department of Safety website

The Driver Improvement Section of the Tennessee Department of Safety was established to monitor the driving records of Tennessee drivers. Drivers that accumulate twelve (12) or more points on their driving record within any 12-month period are sent a notice of proposed suspension and given an opportunity to attend an administrative hearing. If they fail to request a hearing, their driving privileges are suspended for a period of six to 12 months. In most cases, when a driver requests a hearing, they are given the opportunity to attend a defensive driving class in lieu of suspension or a reduction of suspension time. Locate a Tennessee Department of Safety approved Defensive Driving School.


And, it would likely take more than one "forgotten" unpaid parking ticket. Again from the TN DOS website:


I think if it is DUI related, impound the vehicle, and if convicted-sell the vehicle.

I guess what I wrestle with is this, do we do it after the first DUI conviction, or do we give them one more chance?

Or, the other thing we could do is make them serve their jail time. If they are a responsible drunk, ie; has a job, we let them out to go to work, but the minute work is over they come right back to jail. And, make the pay the cost of keeping them in the jail.

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 3:56 PM

If a drunk was walking around with a loaded gun, would you take the gun away? I think the car should be impounded until they have their day in court. If innocent, give it back. If guilty, sell it and the proceeds used to get more DUI offenders off the road. What we are doing now is not working.

-- Posted by chs61 on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 2:17 PM

garhawk - Bond is, ideally, a nominal amount of money posted to ensure that the individual shows up for court. Unusually high bail is also a violation of the Constitution. Most people that are caught violating the law that have ties to the local community and don't have a lot of prior convictions are usually (at least it should be usually) released on their own recognizance. Bail (or Bond) should not be used as a punishment, although that seems to be the case at times.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 11:25 AM

With Tennessee being on the point system it is very hard to keep up with the points that are attached to your drivers license. If you get a speeding ticket then a few days later get another speeding ticket or even running a red light ..How many points have you used? How would you know if the state has pulled your license until you go thru a road block or are pulled over again? You wouldn't and by this law they could take your car!!! Do any of you even know how many points each offense is charged to your license or how many points it takes to lose your license? Most people do not have a clue!

The only time a car should be taken from the owner is if they are DUI or drug convicted.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 11:10 AM

I don't agree with confiscating property before conviction. After conviction -- yes. Please take the drunk's car away from him. It may not keep him from drinking again, or even driving drunk again, but it does at least reduce the number of weapons in his arsenal.

-- Posted by MotherMayhem on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 10:10 AM

things that make you go hmmmm,,,,,

Yes to confiscation of the drivers vehicle AFTER conviction.. but I have concerns,

1) the arresting department gets NONE of the proceeds, but the funds are placed into drug abuse education, this is to prevent an agency from relying on confiscation $ as a budget item, and thereby be accused of confiscation for department gain..

2) the lienholder gets some reimbursement from the proceeds otherwise the public will wind up paying for the automobile thru higher interest rates at the bank...

3) if the auto is owned by someone other than the driver, they are fined heavily but do not lose the vehicle..

NO to confiscation on any other violations

-- Posted by balloon boy on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 10:00 AM

Attaboy Zygoat,

Could you be so kind as to publish your headquarters' address so we may contribute to your campaign fund?

By the way Thom, if "Until someone has been proven guilty, they are presumed innocent." why are many of those in jail or, forced to post bond?

-- Posted by garhawk on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 9:25 AM


You got my vote. I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter too.

-- Posted by bobdiamond on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 8:19 AM

I think we need much more government intrusion into our lives.

The authorities can always be trusted to do the right thing.

People that get caught texting or talking on a cellphone should have their cars confiscated and all proceeds go directly to the arresting officer only.

We should have a computer chip in our cars that automatically notifies the authorities when the car speeds, even 1 mile over the limit, and then that car should be taken from the owner and donated to the police so they can beef up their monitoring of the people for their own safety.

-- Posted by zygoat on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 7:16 AM

Thom and Evil Monkey, Okay I see your point. I was not talking about speeding tickets or parking tickets etc...I was talking about DUI's over and over with the person. No they have to be proven wrong doing in court 1st. Something has to be done with these people that ride around drunk all the time.

-- Posted by rebelrosecountrymom on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 5:51 AM

Actually, rebelrosecountrymom, I would not.

Until someone has been proven guilty, they are presumed innocent. That's one of the foundations of our legal system.

I can even understand pulling their driver's license (depending on the circumstance) for a DUI. But not confiscating their car.

What if a husband and wife are getting a divorce and he takes off in their only car, drives to a bar, then decides to just go driving around? She will be stuck at home with no car (and probably the car note now) with no way to get to work, day-care, the grocery store.

I'm not saying that this is the situation in very many cases, but it could definitely happen if we allow the government to impose penalties prior to a finding of guilt by a court of law.

Are they also thinking of taking the shoes from people that have a public intoxication arrest? Those people are dangerous too.

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 11:37 PM


There are many ways to lose your drivers license than over a DUI, no insurance etc. Imagine losing your license over a parking ticket you didn't pay and, of course never knew of in California! I have never been west of the Mississippi River mind even going to California.

So could you imagine losing your car over a mere parking ticket? Really. This could happen to anyone unexpectedly. Illinois does this and they auction the car off before you are even given a trial. Fair eh? Imagine it here.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 10:53 PM

Thom come on. If a drunk driver with no licences and insurance hit you or someone in your family or a friend and hurt them or killed them I believe you would change your mind.

-- Posted by rebelrosecountrymom on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 10:43 PM

No it would not be unfair to them. It is unfair to have drunk drivers out there riding around to all of us that do not and would not drink and drive.Let the money go to a foundation that would help people that need the extra help or set up something to were we could take a hot meal everyday to some of the elder people that need a hot meal every day. Give some of the money to the SPCA that always needs help. I say do it here. But will it keep them from driving someone else car? Maybe after they have several cars taken from them they will get smart.

-- Posted by rebelrosecountrymom on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 10:41 PM

Just because you didn't know you were breaking the law is no excuse.

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 9:53 PM

So if TN is not required to inform someone their license is suspended how can it be legal to be charged with driving on suspended? I mean I'm sure most of us are law abiding but I'm just saying if I don't know they are suspended.....

-- Posted by shelbyvegas on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 9:38 PM

I would disagree with that based on the fact that they're confiscating a person's property without due process. I can see confiscating it once the person is convicted, but not before.

Also, TN is not required to inform someone that their license is suspended. That means that if a person is truly unaware that their license has been suspended (say for an unpaid ticket that they forgot about), their car could still be confiscated.

In my opinion this sort of law is a violation of the fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 8:35 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.