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AB-2169 Leased and rented vehicles: embezzlement and theft.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 08/10/2018 09:00 PM
AB2169:v96#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  August 10, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  August 06, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  August 09, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  May 22, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2169


Introduced by Assembly Member Voepel

February 12, 2018


An act to amend Sections 10500 and 10855 of the Vehicle Code, relating to rented vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2169, Voepel. Leased and rented vehicles: embezzlement and theft.
Existing law establishes a presumption that a person who willfully and intentionally fails to return a leased or rented vehicle to its owner within 5 days of the expiration of the agreement has embezzled the vehicle. Existing law requires every peace officer, upon receiving a report based on reliable information that a registered vehicle has been stolen, or that a leased or rented vehicle has not been returned within 5 days after its owner has made written demand for its return, by certified or registered mail, following the expiration of the lease or rental agreement, to report the information to the Department of Justice Stolen Vehicle System. Except as otherwise provided, a failure to comply with the Vehicle Code is punishable as an infraction.
This bill would reduce the 5-day period following the expiration of the vehicle lease or rental agreement to 48 hours for the presumption of embezzlement to apply. The bill would require the lease or rental agreement to disclose that failure to return the vehicle within 48 hours after expiration of the lease or rental agreement may result in the vehicle being reported stolen. The bill would require the lease or rental agreement to require the lessee or renter to provide a method to contact him or her if the vehicle is not returned as required. The bill would require the owner of an embezzled vehicle to attempt to contact the other party to the lease or rental agreement who has failed to return the vehicle using the contact method specified in the lease or rental agreement. If the owner is able to contact the party, the bill would require the owner to inform the party that if arrangements for the return of the vehicle that are satisfactory for the owner are not made, the owner may report the vehicle stolen to law enforcement. If the owner is not able to contact the other party after a reasonable number of attempts, or if upon contacting the other party, the owner is not able to arrange for the return of the vehicle, the bill would authorize the owner to report the vehicle stolen to a peace officer. With regard to a leased or rented vehicle procured by fraud, the bill would specify that the owner is not required to wait until the expiration of the lease or rental agreement to inform law enforcement of the theft. The bill would except an owner that fails to comply with these requirements from the crime described above. The bill would make conforming changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 10500 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

10500.
 (a) Every peace officer, upon receiving a report based on reliable information that any vehicle registered under this code has been stolen, taken, or driven in violation of Section 10851, or that a leased or rented vehicle has not been returned within 48 hours following the expiration of the lease or rental agreement and after the owner attempted to notify the customer pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (b) of Section 10855, or that license plates for any vehicle have been lost or stolen, shall, immediately after receiving that information, report the information to the Department of Justice Stolen Vehicle System. An officer, upon receiving information of the recovery of any vehicle described in this subdivision, or of the recovery of plates which have been previously reported as lost or stolen, shall immediately report the fact of the recovery to the Department of Justice Stolen Vehicle System. At the same time, the recovering officer shall advise the Department of Justice Stolen Vehicle System and the original reporting police agency of the location and condition of the vehicle or license plates recovered. The original reporting police agency, upon receipt of the information from the recovering officer, shall immediately attempt to notify the reporting party by telephone, if the telephone number of the reporting party is available or readily accessible, of the location and condition of the recovered vehicle. If the reporting party’s telephone number is unknown, or notification attempts were unsuccessful, the original reporting police agency shall notify the reporting party by placing, in the mail, a notice providing the location and condition of the recovered vehicle. This written notice shall be mailed within 24 hours of the original reporting police agency’s receipt of the information of the recovery of the vehicle, excluding holidays and weekends.
(b) If the recovered vehicle is subject to parking or storage charges, Section 10652.5 applies.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10855 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

10855.
 (a) (1) If a person who has leased or rented a vehicle willfully and intentionally fails to return the vehicle to its owner within 48 hours after the lease or rental agreement has expired, that person shall be presumed to have embezzled the vehicle.
(2) If the owner of a vehicle that has been leased or rented discovers that it was procured by fraud, the owner is not required to wait until the expiration of the lease or rental agreement to inform law enforcement pursuant to subdivision (c).
(b) The owner of an embezzled vehicle as described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall attempt to contact the other party to the lease or rental agreement who has failed to return the vehicle using the contact method designated in the rental agreement for this purpose. If the owner is able to contact the party, the owner shall inform the party that if arrangements for the return of the vehicle that are satisfactory for the owner are not made, the owner may report the vehicle stolen to law enforcement. If the owner is not able to contact the other party after a reasonable number of attempts, or, if upon contacting the other party, the owner is not able arrange for the satisfactory return of the vehicle, the owner may report the vehicle stolen pursuant to subdivision (c).
(c) The owner of a vehicle that has been embezzled as described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), after satisfaction of the requirements of subdivision (b), or of a vehicle that was stolen as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), may report this occurrence to a peace officer.
(d) The lease or rental agreement shall disclose that failure to return the vehicle within 48 hours of the expiration of the lease or rental agreement may result in the owner reporting the vehicle as stolen and shall require the lessee to provide a method to contact him or her if the vehicle is not returned.
(e) Section 40000.1 does not apply to an owner who fails to comply with this section.