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SB-644 Vessels: impoundment.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/15/2017 09:00 PM
SB644:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 15, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  April 18, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 644


Introduced by Senator Stone

February 17, 2017


An act to add Section 668.5 to the Harbors and Navigation Code, relating to vessels.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 644, as amended, Stone. Vessels: forfeiture. impoundment.
Existing law makes it a crime to operate any vessel, as defined, while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug. Existing law authorizes a peace officer to remove and seize a motor vehicle upon arresting a person for committing specified crimes using that motor vehicle. Existing law prohibits impounding that motor vehicle for more than 30 days, requires the registered and legal owner of the vehicle be provided the opportunity for a storage hearing, as specified, and requires the impounding agency to release the motor vehicle to the registered owner before the conclusion of the impoundment period under certain circumstances. Existing law makes the registered owner or his or her agent responsible for all towing and storage charges related to the impoundment, except as specified, and makes the impounding agency responsible for the actual costs incurred by the towing agency if the registered owner is absolved of liability for those charges, as specified.
This bill would authorize a court to cause the removal and seizure of a vessel if a person is convicted of a specified crime involving the operation of the vessel while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, and the conduct resulted in the unlawful killing of a person. The bill would prohibit impounding the vessel for more than 30 days. The bill would require that the registered and legal owner of the vessel be provided the opportunity for a storage hearing, as specified, and would require the impounding agency to release the vessel to the registered owner before the conclusion of the impoundment period under certain circumstances. The bill would make the registered owner or his or her agent responsible for all towing and storage charges related to the impoundment, except as specified. order the impoundment of a vessel, as defined, for a period of not less than one nor more than 30 days, if the registered owner is convicted of a specified crime involving the operation of a vessel while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug and the conduct resulted in the unlawful killing of a person. The bill would authorize a court to consider certain factors in the interest of justice when determining whether a vessel used in the commission of such a crime shall be impounded pursuant to those provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 668.5 is added to the Harbors and Navigation Code, to read:
668.5.

(a)If a person is convicted of a violation of subdivision (b) of Section 655 and the conduct resulted in the unlawful killing of a person, a court may cause the removal and seizure of the vessel used in the commission of that offense in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of the Vehicle Code, as applicable. A vessel so seized may be impounded for not more than 30 days.

(b)The registered and legal owner of a vessel removed and seized under subdivision (a) or his or her agent shall be provided the opportunity for a storage hearing to determine the validity of the storage in accordance with Section 22852 of the Vehicle Code.

(c)(1)Notwithstanding Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of the Vehicle Code or any other law, an impounding agency shall release a vessel to the registered owner or his or her agent prior to the conclusion of the impoundment period described in subdivision (a) under any of the following circumstances:

(A)If the vessel is a stolen vessel.

(B)If the person convicted of a violation, as described in subdivision (a), was not authorized by the registered owner of the vessel to operate the vessel at the time of the commission of the offense.

(C)If the registered owner of the vessel was neither the operator nor a passenger of the vessel at the time of the violation pursuant to subdivision (a), or was unaware that the operator was using the vessel to engage in the conduct described in subdivision (a).

(D)If the legal owner or registered owner of the vessel is a rental agency.

(2)A vessel shall be released pursuant to this subdivision only if the registered owner or his or her agent presents proof of current vessel registration, or if ordered by a court.

(d)A vessel seized and removed under subdivision (a) shall be released to the legal owner of the vessel, or the legal owner’s agent, on or before the 30th day of impoundment if all of the following conditions are met:

(1)The legal owner is a vessel dealer, bank, credit union, acceptance corporation, or other licensed financial institution legally operating in this state, or is another person, not the registered owner, holding a security interest in the vessel.

(2)The legal owner or the legal owner’s agent pays all towing and storage fees related to the impoundment of the vessel. No lien sale processing fees shall be charged to a legal owner who redeems the vessel on or before the 15th day of impoundment.

(3)The legal owner or the legal owner’s agent presents foreclosure documents or an affidavit of repossession for the vessel.

(e)(1)The registered owner or his or her agent is responsible for all towing and storage charges related to the impoundment.

(2)Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the person convicted of engaging in the activities set forth in subdivision (a) was not authorized by the registered owner of the vessel to operate the vessel at the time of the commission of the offense, the court shall order the convicted person to reimburse the registered owner for any towing and storage charges related to the impoundment incurred by the registered owner to obtain possession of the vessel, unless the court finds that the person convicted does not have the ability to pay all or part of those charges.

(3)If the vessel is a rental, the rental agency may require the person to whom the vessel was rented to pay all towing and storage charges related to the impoundment incurred by the rental agency in connection with obtaining possession of the vessel.

(4)The vessel may not be sold prior to the defendant’s conviction.

668.5.
 (a) The interest of any registered owner of a vessel that has been used in the commission of a violation of subdivision (b) of Section 655 for which the owner was convicted and the conduct resulted in the unlawful killing of a person is subject to impoundment as provided in this section. Upon conviction, the court may order the vessel impounded at the registered owner’s expense for a period of not less than one nor more than 30 days.
(b) For purposes of this section, the court may consider in the interest of justice factors such as whether the impoundment of the vessel would result in the loss of employment of the registered owner of the vessel who committed the violation, or a member of his or her family, the loss of the vessel resulting from the inability to pay impoundment fees, unfair infringement upon community property rights, or other factors the court finds to be relevant.
(c) For purposes of this section, “vessel” means every watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the waters of the state, including all boats, motorboats, personal watercraft, recreational vessels, and unregistered vehicles, except for foreign and domestic vessels engaged in interstate or foreign commerce upon the waters of the state.