Denver Rejects Vehicle Impound Law

Bump and Update: Vehicle Impound law is overwhelmingly rejected. Congratulations, Denver, reason and common sense prevailed. More here.


Denver Votes on Vehicle Impound Law

If you live in Denver, don't forget to vote today and oppose the vehicle impound initiative mandating police seize your vehicle if you are stopped and don't have a valid driver's license.

Aimed at undocumented residents (referred to as illegal aliens in the initiative), it has a far greater reach. Here's the text on Initiative 300. [More...]

What if you left your wallet at home? Unless you have have "convincing corroborating identification," proof of insurance and a valid driver's license of record, your car will be impounded. If you have these things with you, you will get a summons and have ten days to bring your license to court. If you miss the ten days, your vehicle will be ordered impounded.

What if your license is expired? It gets impounded and you have 20 days to get it renewed. If your vehicle is impounded, you will have 30 days to post a $2,500. bond (and pay a $200.00 impound fee) to get it released. The city keeps the bond for a year, and if an unlicensed driver is found to operate your car, you lose the car and the bond.

Whose idea was this? Some guy named Daniel Hayes, who opposes undocumented residents and doesn't even live in Denver.

The Denver City Council has passed a resolution urging voters to reject it. For one thing, it will cost $1.6 million a year to enforce. Even the Mayor, police chiefs and county sheriffs oppose it. If you live in Denver, you need to vote. Vote No on Initiative 300.

Ethics Watch has followed Hayes' failed attempts to get the initiative on the ballot in Aurora and Lakewood. He spends thousands of dollars getting people to gather signatures.

It only took 3,472 signatures to make the Denver ballot. (Ruling here.)

Given the probable low turnout for this election, it's important to get the word out. If you have a mail-in ballot but forgot to send it in, you can still drop it off today at the County Clerk's office or vote in person at your designated voting place.

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    Funny (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by maddog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 07:14:32 AM EST
    How about being responsible and making sure you have your license before you leave the house.  If you did thatn then you won't have to worry about getting your car impounded.  If you can't be responsible enough to remember your license, how can anyone expect you to be responsible enough to drive a car.  But god forbid you expect any personal responsibility anymore.  And if you are an illegal alien and don't have a license then you shouldn't be driving.  It seems pretty simple to me.

    I am all for the initiative.

    Shorter version... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 08:07:17 AM EST
    I love authoritarianism...I love big brother.

    You're still licensed to drive. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Samuel on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 09:40:43 AM EST
    Forgetting the card is an accident.  Impounding someone's car is just a way to take money.  

    That's not how I'm reading the issue (none / 0) (#11)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 09:51:45 AM EST
    I read it as only if you cannot convince/prove to the officer that you are a valid licensed driver who simply lost your wallet will you have your car impounded.

    We're obligated to keep our vehicle registration and proof of insurance in our glove compartments. I know my driver's license number and an officer could easily check on it.

    The tow truck companies are the ones who are going to make out the best on this one.


    I agree (none / 0) (#14)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 12:28:15 PM EST
    If you forgot your license and get a ticket, you get to keep your vehicle because you're actually legally licensed to drive. You're in the state system and the cop looks you up. That's common practice around the country. (This law may need tweaking to prevent abuse and force the cop to look you up.) If you're not insured or if your auto registration or license isn't up to date, you just have to get it done before you go to court to avoid the penalty. But if you're not even licensed, you don't get the chance to run out and get a driver's license. Your infringement is more serious, especially because people have their license taken away for drunk driving and other dangerous activities.

    Basically, if you don't even have a license, it's a good idea to get you off the road. Taking your vehicle does that quite nicely.


    It seems like a plan (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 07:25:07 AM EST
    to get people without insurance and a license off the road. If they are citizens or illegal aliens makes little difference to me. I hope it passes.

    Vote Tomorrow, Save $2,700 (none / 0) (#1)
    by MikeDitto on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 12:53:36 AM EST
    That's the title of an e-mail I sent out to ProgressNow's list. The push-back from Daniel Hayes this time is about how he's covered all the possible exceptions, so nobody would be unjustly targeted. Of course the vagueness of things like "convincing corroborating evidence" pretty much calls his BS, something happened to me years ago that would not have been covered by any of the exceptions he thought he so cleverly placed in there.

    I'll spare you copying and pasting and just link.

    If you're in Denver and you Twitter, please help us out by tweeting about it. Just click here and it will pre-fill a tweet you can edit.:


    I tweeted (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 01:03:21 AM EST
    before I got your link, so I just did my own. nYou have anyone going to the Board of Health meeting at 10:30? You can also be on the conf call.

    Texas has this law on the books (none / 0) (#7)
    by Saul on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 09:29:37 AM EST
    If you can't show proof of liability insurance on your car they  they impound your car.

    I'd love to figure out... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 09:38:00 AM EST
    what people are so afraid of, or why we hate on our neighbor so...to justify giving the state powers to seize more and more of our sh*t.

    I find it so baffling.


    You don't (none / 0) (#12)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 11:25:01 AM EST
    have a problem with uninsured drivers?  You do pay for their accidents.  How about the people who hate their neighbors so.. they make them pay for their car insurance?

    Not really Wile... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 12:08:55 PM EST
    obviously I'd prefer everybody have auto liabilty in case they should really hurt somebody....but for a lot of low income people there is just no room in the budget for mandated auto-insurance, and I don't fault them for choosing food and shelter over auto liability, they gotta drive to get to work in many cases...if I get hit by one I get hit by one, I'll deal.  I sure as hell don't wanna see anybody have their cars seized over it.

    Well, I'll disagree (none / 0) (#19)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:07:54 PM EST
    with you.  How about robbing their neighbor because they need money for food and shelter?

    The only people... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:19:29 PM EST
    I see getting robbed here are the citizens being robbed of their automobiles.

    You were on the insurance (none / 0) (#28)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:57:31 PM EST
    part of the thread.  

    kdog (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:37:48 PM EST
    They don't have a right to own and drive a car either, if they can't afford the insurance. I realize the logistical burdens this places on some people, but that's life. So to say that it's ok for people to drive around uninsured, and then have no consequences befall them when they get caught, is wrong, IMO.  Besides, it's not just those uninsured drivers who are paying - it's everyone else who pays too.  I think that was Wile's point.

    I get the argument... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:44:26 PM EST
    I'd rather pay higher premiums than pay for a cops salary so he/she can seize the cars of the downtrodden to (in theory) lower my premiums.

    Is it ok for the cars be seized (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 02:47:09 PM EST
    of the not-downtrodden?

    No.... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:05:24 PM EST
    it ain't...we should be reducing seizure powers, not increasing.

    Poverty is just one of many reasons not to have insurance...those who simply civilly disobey the mandate shouldn't lose their property either, imo.


    So someone (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:53:20 PM EST
    who civilly disobeys (or in this case, breaks the actual law) should suffer no consequences?

    And again, these people who civilly disobey (or again, break the law), are costing me money - why should I have to pay for someone who doesn't buy insurance?  Why should someone who is injured by an unisured motorist have to pay?  

    Again - your rights only extend to the end of your nose.  In this case, an unisured motorist is infringing on my and everyone else's rights.  How is that fair?


    Uninsured Motorist coverage is part (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 04:41:06 PM EST
    of most responsible people's insurance coverage. I would never drive without that because the few dollars it costs me per month is so much more affordable than having to replace my car if it got totaled by an uninsured driver.

    In WA, police can only ticket for not having insurance, and they can only ask for proof of insurance if they have pulled the person over for a legitimate violation. IOW, they can't profile or randomly pull cars over just to check their insurance card.


    Punish them... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:59:00 PM EST
    the same way we did before...a fine, I can live with that since the mandate ain't going nowhere.  In what universe is the loss of property that is likely worth thousands, if not tens of thousands, a just response to not having an insurance card...its nuts jb.

    How is an uninsured motorist infringing on your rights?  Or costing you money?  The way I see it the state is costing you money, and infringing on your rights...not the driver without the magic papers.  


    Uninsured drivers (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 04:27:53 PM EST
    Well, for starters, folks who are uninsured and get into accidents generally don't pay for the pain and suffering they cause their victims, usually because they don't stick around, so if you are hit by an uninsured motorist and seriously injured, your insurance company will end up paying for your injuries, and thereby will increase your rates.  On a macro-level, insurance rates are hiked because of the percentage of claims made by those injured by uninsured motorists.

    So, if I drive safely and never get into an accident, my rates will still go up because of all the people who couldn't or wouldn't buy insurance.  I get if someone doesn't want to buy it, but why should your decision to break the law affect what I pay for my insurance?


    So uninsured drivers... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:04:14 PM EST
    are not infringing, no harm no foul and all...it is uninsured drivers who cause an accident who are an infringement, for people who buy insurance or get hit by them, if they are unable to compensate for the damaged caused of course.  That's a legit infringement, for sure...is the grab 'n tow policy the best response?  Not if you didn't cause an accident yet.  If ya f*ck somebody up and can't pay to make it right, then ya, seize away...as long as it ain't "I got in a fender bender, lets call the back and neck quack and hit the lottery" type of deal...civil trial by jury first seems just.

    Not to mention what you pay for insurance is between you, your insurance company, and your state for mandating you two shall meet...Uninsured Joe has got nuthin' to do with that, no matter what the insurance man tells ya...except for Uninsured Joe's shared responsibility for said govt. mandate.

    A raw deal for the good guys?  You bet jb, but what else is new...luckily goodness is its own reward:)  


    Then you're gambling (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:09:27 PM EST
    with mine and everyone else's rates.  You are also gambling with with injuries that might be incurred.  You may be a gambler, but I am not.

    Life is a gamble whether... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:17:50 PM EST
    we like it or not...I just wanna make sure its worth the action my friend.  

    What would (none / 0) (#29)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:58:56 PM EST
    be uncivilly disobeying the mandate?  

    Driving without insurance... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:59:57 PM EST
    and slamming into people on purpose would be rather uncivil.

    Would you (none / 0) (#24)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:03:48 PM EST

    I'd rather pay higher premiums than pay for a cops salary so he/she can seize the cars of the downtrodden to (in theory) lower my premiums.

    Would you rather pay higher premiums so deadbeats who spend the insurance money on a trip to Vegas can have a nice vacation?

    Would you like to see the nearly downtrodded become the downtrodded because of higher  insurance premiums you propose?


    You're forgetting... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 03:07:45 PM EST
    the savings of less cops out stealing cars....whether the lower taxes will offset the higher premiums, I don't know.

    Another question...why should a multi-millionaire have to buy insurance or risk getting his/her car jacked?


    Language, please! (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 12:38:26 PM EST

    thanks, I deleted the comment (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 10:22:21 PM EST
    due to the language.

    Jeralyn asks that we not use profanity (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 12:44:23 PM EST
    on this site. It is used by lawyers and law students, etc., and profanity will get the site blocked by the business/college servers...

    Why is it so P-un-C to use the phrase (none / 0) (#18)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 01:24:14 PM EST
    illegal alien. Alien is a residency classification, and legal aliens have gone through the process to live and work here, while illegal aliens broke the law to be here. Even if we want to help any and all people in the world who could benefit from coming to this country, aren't we doing a great disservice to those who legally reside here by tacitly supporting those who sneak in?

    "Undocmented Residents" - My son was an undocmented resident. I refused to get him a social security number when he was born. But he's not an illegal alien. I'm a citizen and he was born here, so he's a citizen regardless of whether or not he's "documented."

    Let's call a spade a spade. Illegal aliens have a huge negative impact on our public resources. They don't just take those jobs no one else wants. They also take many, many jobs that lower the earning capacity of our middle class. In the construction field, legal residents who complete apprenticeships and earn membership in carpenters and other unions can make $30-$50 an hour for their extensive experience and quality work. But they're competing with workers who are willing to make $6-10 an hour under the table for unethical employers that get away with not paying for their workers compensation, FICA and other programs that exist specifically to help middle and working class Americans. When those employers don't pay employee taxes, the rest of have to pay more. In addition, companies owned by Hispanic citizens receive federal, state and local priority and support. If those companies "hire" relatives who are illegal aliens, they doubly undermine companies that hire legal residents. Our union qualified construction workers are forced to work for low wages / under the table in order to compete with the huge numbers illegal aliens in the field.

    The same thing is happening in other blue collar areas. Try to run a house cleaning business that competes with small family-owned companies that pay their employees/relatives under the table. Or a lawn maintenance company, or a childcare center or a restaurant or any number of enterprises that benefit from the lack of accountability for employers who hire illegal aliens and/or don't pay employee taxes as the law requires. It's not just those unwanted agricultural field work jobs that are taken, it's a entire sectors of our work force that are being forced to work under the table or not get jobs and contracts at all. The result is that the middle class pays even more for health care, social programs and everything else as huge numbers of people sink below the federal poverty level, or at least appear to be making less than the PL.

    This Denver law may discourage illegal aliens from driving without a license and insurance. That's a good thing, both for other drivers and for workers. When we allow illegal immigrants to impact our economy and public welfare in this country, we do a serious disservice to our legal immigrants and the rest of society. Let's stop pretending that liberals are good people for accepting and promoting the destructive actions of lawbreakers.

    Your comment is offensive (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 10:24:15 PM EST
    No human being is illegal.

    Presence in the United States without proper documentation, either because one didn't obtain it before arriving or because one overstayed his or her visa, is not a crime. It is a civil violation. It is only a crime to re-enter after deportation.

    The proper term is undocumented resident. Period.


    I beg to differ. (none / 0) (#49)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:25:26 PM EST
    I never said any person was illegal. Of course no human being is illegal, specific actions are. The term simply identifies a residency status, just like citizen or permanent resident (which is a resident legally living in this country with a green card or permanent resident visa). There's no need to take the description "illegal" as an insult, since it is simply the opposite of a legal immigrant. Sure, there's a big difference between civil and criminal law, but it is still US Code that delineates the process by which non-citizens can enter and reside in this country. Those who do not follow the law are breaking it and are subject to deportation.

    There's nothing inherently offensive about identifying people as those who did not follow the law. Given the immense political and social impact of illegal immigration, I don't think the description "undocumented" does justice to the issues.  It sounds like it refers to someone's paperwork that they haven't gotten around to completing, not specific deliberate actions taken by people who would otherwise not be in this country.  

    If we can't even describe breaking federal code with descriptors such as legal and illegal, we likely won't solve the societal and economic problems that illegal immigration creates.


    Call me irrational... (none / 0) (#34)
    by lentinel on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 04:41:21 PM EST
    but I don't want people driving who cannot show a current driving license. Cars are potential lethal weapons. I can't feel that impounding cars from people who can't remember to have their license with them, or can't be bothered to renew it, is a bad thing.
    I don't want them on the road.

    What if their (none / 0) (#38)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:20:18 PM EST
    wallet or purse was stolen a day or two before and they haven't been able to get the replacement? Double whack them?

    I think (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:22:17 PM EST
    That person would still have a valid driver's license.  This bill, it seems (or at least it should be) aimed at those who do not have a valid current license.

    I understand the law they want (none / 0) (#40)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:36:48 PM EST
    I was responding to the comment above mine who indicated it was simply enough to just forget your license.

    If you look up the thread a bit, I've already stated my understanding of the law.


    I know (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 05:46:36 PM EST
    But others have said the same thing

    What is the current law in CO (none / 0) (#44)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 07:12:22 AM EST
    for being stopped and not being a legally licensed driver? IOW, never having taken a driver's test and truly not licensed to drive? Are the police expected to just allow them to go on their way with a ticket?

    Thanks....so, (none / 0) (#46)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:25:51 AM EST
    custodial arrest. They can take the person, but they have to leave the car along the side of the road?

    It's looking like CO didn't need another law to cover this topic.


    In NY... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 11:34:41 AM EST
    the cop will usually at least give you a chance to get a licensed driver down to pick up your car before calling in a tow....and let you go with a summons, depending on their mood and whether they like the look of ya of course.  

    See, now that's what I would call (none / 0) (#48)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 03:55:37 PM EST
    fair and reasonable.