TOW OR NOT TO TOW

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Rocknutz5
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TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by Rocknutz5 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:26 am

Scenario. Officer on mv stop. Subject hands over insurance card. Officer calls insurance company and insurance company states that they haven't been covered for months and are not insured. Although, the dmv has not suspended that vehicle for 39:6b-2, can you still issue 6b-2 and tow the vehicle or should you issue failure to produce docs and clear stop. Opinions. Thanks!

Jnate
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by Jnate » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:02 pm

Good question...

Cover your ass and tow it.

If the subject gets into an accident after leaving your stop and gets hurt / other person gets hurt = lawsuit on your end.

We even tow for 3-4 . But that’s just my town

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cop91
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by cop91 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:48 pm

I think it boils down to the necessity, and their attitude... because ultimately its a grey area.

Technically the only Title 39 statue that clearly says "Any police officer is authorized to remove any unregistered vehicle from the public highway....." is 39:3-4.

Of course then you have Johns Law (39:4-50), and hazardous vehicle (i.e MVC or disabled MV) but......

I wouldn't write them for 39:3-29 because legally although it NEVER happens you're supposed to give them 24 hours to produce valid insurance and if they do not then you're supposed to file the proper paperwork and obtain a warrant to tow their vehicle which NO ONE ever does. Here it is... http://www.njdcj.org/agguide/impound_guide_6804.pdf

Sure, you could be held liable if you tell them to leave and they get into an accident, but whats the difference between you saying "Park the vehicle" and they drive away after you leave anyway then get into an accident. Especially if you have body camera's/car cameras its all documented... Plus why would you tow the vehicle with a fully healthy young man/woman who is able to beat feet, but not tow the vehicle of a mother with 2 young babies? Would you say discretion? Probably.. but what if that mom gets into an accident... once again grey area.

Be careful though because a lot of attorneys read in Black & White and no where in 39:6-B2 does it say you're allowed to remove the vehicle, it's just assumed because everyone is sue happy.

So if you have BWC/Car Camera make sure you clearly tell them to park the car, and don't drive. If they do drive after that... its on them. If you don't and you feel more comfortable towing the vehicle to cover your own @ss... then do it.

In over 25 years, I only witnessed two people go to trial and win because of 39:6B-2. So just keep in your mind that people do fight and they do win in court. Good Luck

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Edit: 3/19/2018

I also forgot to add that 39:3-40 (Suspended registration) is also a definite tow.
Last edited by cop91 on Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jnate
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by Jnate » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:08 pm

^ very well written.

It is a very gray area and also it really depends on the town you work for.

CCSTestPrep
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by CCSTestPrep » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:58 pm

Great Topic:

^^The above explanation sums up the issue as it realistically and practically sits in NJ. The only things I'll add are as follows:

(1) Since the NJ Supreme Court rulings of State v. Ercolano (1979) and State v Slockbower (1979), police departments have been required to have clear department policy regarding impounds and any subsequent searches of motor vehicles following an impound. The department policy is expected to provide clear guidance for officers. When the half-assed, B.S. notice of impound provision of 39:3-29.1a et seq was enacted in 2003, the legislature clearly failed to address how officers should respond when faced with a "confirmed" case of uninsured vehicle during a roadside stop. Consistent with case law and reasonable application of law in the interest of public safety, departments "should have" modified policy to guide officers. The most reasonable approach would in fact involve the vehicle being towed, as it clearly cannot be legally operated from the point of the confirmation of uninsured. Likewise, officers should not engage in practice of having the driver park the confirmed less than legal vehicle on someone else's property. That brings up the second and real point to be made . . .

(2) The practice of a compulsory tow (seizure) under the municipality's police tow ordinance for a 39:6B-2 violation is questionable. The most legal approach, consistent with the intent of both case law, statutory law, and reasonable police practices, is to first offer the operator the opportunity to immediately make arrangements to have the vehicle towed to a location of their choosing by the tow service of their choice. If you think of it logically, they should be able to maintain possession of their property but not be permitted to drive or allowed to leave an uninsured roadside or on someone else's property without explicit permission of the property owner (as it is not simply a disable vehicle).

All in all, an officer's department has an obligation to provide clear guidance via the tow policy, so officers aren't stuck on roadside facing the dilemma. In three decades of law enforcement and advising other departments as well, I have never heard of any issues or lawsuits with the approach I described above. As we all know, in the absence of clear policy, it will depend upon which supervisor you are working for on a particular shift as to what approach you'll use.

I hope this additional information is of assistance in understanding the issue.
Dr. David A. Paprota, Ed.D.
Chief of Police (Ret.)
CCS Test Prep®
www.ccstest.com

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maroman88
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by maroman88 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:11 pm

if you spoke directly to the insurance company on the card the driver provided and they said that vehicle was not on the policy.... tow all day long. even have dispatch make the call on a taped line if you feel the need.

what time of day and what company, i can never get a company to answer the phone lol

Koolaidohyeaah
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by Koolaidohyeaah » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:19 am

Very good situation, but that specific scenario is an automatic tow at my agency. I know other agencies that just write 39:6B-2 and let the person go. Also adding the suspended registration just compounds the situation.

1065
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Re: TOW OR NOT TO TOW

Post by 1065 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:29 am

Absolutely tow but allow them to make their own arrangements if they can do so in ample time, or offer your duty tow.

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