Bill Summary for H 411 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Mar 25 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 411 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 25, 2021
Intro. by Cleveland.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 20-313 which makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor for a vehicle owner to operate a vehicle required to be registered in this State, or allow the vehicle to be operated, without the required financial responsibility, by adding the following provisions. Requires that at the time a vehicle owner is charged with such a violation that the charging law enforcement officer have the motor vehicle towed and stored. Allows the vehicle to be released to the owner when: (1) the owner presents proof of the required financial responsibility for a period of at least six months to the charging law enforcement agency or the prosecuting district attorney, who must give the owner documentation acknowledging compliance; and (2) the owner submits to the person in custody of the motor vehicle the documentation of compliance with financial responsibility and payment of any towing and storage fees. Sets out the procedure under which a lienholder is to be notified of where the vehicle is being stored. Requires the person in custody of a towed vehicle, no sooner than 14 days after a vehicle is towed and stored pursuant under the statute, to, upon presentation of a copy of the title or an electronic lien system title to the motor vehicle showing a perfected security interest and without delay during business hours, allow a lienholder access to the motor vehicle. Allows the lienholder to take possession of the vehicle upon paying towing and storage fees, and to thereafter exercise any rights reserved to it under any note, contract, and security agreement. Provides that if neither the vehicle owner nor a lienholder obtain the vehicle, then the person in custody of the vehicle has a lien on the vehicle for the full amount of the towing and storage costs incurred since the motor vehicle was towed and stored and may dispose of the vehicle according to Article 1 of GS Chapter 44A (Possessory Liens on Personal Property). Allows a vehicle owner charged with violating the statute to petition the clerk of superior court of the county where the vehicle was towed to seek a determination that they have not had a lapse in financial responsibility; requires a hearing no later than seven business days or as soon thereafter as feasible. Sets out requirements for providing notice of the hearing. If it is determined that there is no violation of the statute, requires the judge to enter an order releasing the vehicle to the owner upon payment of all towing and storing charges. Defines an innocent owner as an owner of a motor vehicle registered in this State who has maintained financial responsibility as required by law and who has not violated subsection this statute. Provides that if the person charged with a violation of this statute is also charged with a violation of law arising out of the same transaction that requires seizure of the vehicle, nothing in this statute alters or supersedes the law requiring seizure of the vehicle. Provides civil liability for filing charges or for damages arising from the disposition of motor vehicle towed and stored to a law enforcement officer who, acting in good faith, charges a person with a violation of this statute and directs that a motor vehicle be towed and stored. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021.