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Newfoundland and Labrador
Regulation 2003


NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR REGULATION 73/03

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
REGULATION 73/03

Vehicle Seizure and Impoundment Regulations
under the
Highway Traffic Act
(O.C. 2003-358)

(Filed July 18, 2003)

Under the authority of section 186 of the Highway Traffic Act, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council makes the following regulations.

Dated at St. John’s, July 11, 2003.

Deborah E. Fry
Clerk of the Executive Council

REGULATIONS

Analysis


        1.   Short title

        2.   Definitions

        3.   Seizure and impoundment

        4.   Delay of seizure

        5.   Stolen vehicles

        6.   Personal property

        7.   Duties of police officer

        8.   Storage and lien

        9.   Disposal of motor vehicle

      10.   Application for  early release by owner

      11.   Decision of registrar

      12.   Release of vehicle on expiry of impoundment

      13.   Report of garage operator

      14.   Owner's right against driver

      15.   Offence

      16.   Fees and forms

      17.   Commencement


Short title

        1. These regulations may be cited as the Vehicle Seizure and Impoundment Regulations.

Definitions

        2. In these regulations,

             (a)  "Act" means the Highway Traffic Act; and

             (b)  "garage operator" means a person who takes and stores a vehicle seized and impounded under these regulations;

Seizure and impoundment

        3. (1) Subject to section 4, a peace officer shall seize a motor vehicle and impound it where the officer has reason to believe that a person who was operating the vehicle contravened subsection 73(2) of the Highway Traffic Act (driving while disqualified or prohibited).

             (2)  A motor vehicle impounded under this regulation shall be held for a period of 30 days from the date of seizure, after which period the vehicle may be released in accordance with section 12.

Delay of seizure

        4. (1) Where a peace officer is satisfied that the seizure and impoundment of a motor vehicle under section 3 would jeopardize the safety of, or cause undue hardship to, a person, or is, in the opinion of the officer, not practicable in the circumstances the peace officer may delay taking custody of the motor vehicle, in which case the peace officer may permit the motor vehicle to be driven to a location specified by the peace officer.

             (2)  Where under subsection (1) a peace officer permits a motor vehicle to be driven to a specified location and the vehicle is not impounded at that location, a peace officer may make application to a justice for an order to seize the vehicle and impound it in accordance with these regulations.

Stolen vehicles

        5. If, at any time before a review/hearing is conducted under these regulations, a peace officer is satisfied that a motor vehicle seized under section 3 had been stolen, the officer may, subject to the approval of the registrar, release the vehicle to the owner, or a person authorized by the owner to take possession of it.

Personal property

        6. Personal property in a motor vehicle that has been impounded under these regulations, other than personal property attached to or used in connection with the operation of the motor vehicle, shall be returned to the owner of the property on request.

Duties of police officer

        7. (1) Where a motor vehicle has been seized and impounded, the peace officer shall

             (a)  complete a notice of impoundment;

             (b)  give the driver a copy of the notice;

             (c)  if the driver is not, or does not appear to be, the owner of the motor vehicle, request that the driver disclose the name and address of the owner;

             (d)  give a copy of the notice to the owner, if the owner is present at the time of the seizure, or, if the owner is not present, without delay mail a copy to the owner

                      (i)  at the owner's last known address as recorded in the registrar's records of motor vehicle registrations, or

                     (ii)  if the owner's address is not recorded in the registrar's records, at the address indicated by the driver in response to the peace officer's request under clause (b);

             (e)  mail a copy of the notice to the registrar;

              (f)  cause a copy of the notice to be given to the garage operator who stores the motor vehicle; and

             (g)  retain a copy of the notice.

             (2)  The notice of impoundment shall be in the form set by the registrar and shall contain

             (a)  a statement of the right to apply to the registrar for the release of the motor vehicle under section 10 of these regulations and instructions on applying for a review; and

             (b)  a statement that the motor vehicle may be disposed of under section 9 of these regulations if the owner of the motor vehicle does not pay the costs referred to in section 8.

Storage and lien

        8. (1) A motor vehicle that is seized and impounded under section 3 shall be stored with the garage operator that the peace officer directs and a peace officer may later direct that the motor vehicle be moved to a different garage operator for impoundment.

             (2)  The garage operator has a lien on the motor vehicle for the following amounts

             (a)  all costs and charges for the transportation, towing, care and storage respecting the seizure and impoundment of the motor vehicle; and

             (b)  expenditures for searches and registrations under the Personal Property Security Act and Judgment Enforcement Act that are reasonably necessary to fulfil the obligations of the person who took custody of the impounded motor vehicle.

             (3)  A lien under this section and a garage operator's right to hold the vehicle has priority over and is not subject to a lien or other charge or encumbrance upon or in respect of the motor vehicle existing at the time of seizure.

             (4)  A motor vehicle that is subject to a lien under this section shall remain impounded until

             (a)  the lien is paid; or

             (b)  the vehicle is disposed of under section 9.

             (5)  Notwithstanding subsection (4), a garage operator may surrender possession of the motor vehicle to the owner without losing the lien if he registers a financing statement relating to that interest under the Personal Property Security Act within 15 days of the surrender.

Disposal of motor vehicle

        9. (1) Where a motor vehicle remains impounded for 30 days or more after the expiration of the impoundment period, the garage operator who stored the motor vehicle during the impoundment may enforce the lien under section 8 by selling the motor vehicle by public auction in the manner set out in section 5 of the Warehouser’s Lien Act, as if the garage operator was a warehouser and the motor vehicle was goods within the meaning of that Act.

             (2)  Where a motor vehicle is sold under subsection (1), the garage operator shall satisfy the lien under section 8 and deliver the surplus to the registrar with a statement of account showing how the surplus was calculated.

             (3)  The registrar shall apply any surplus received under subsection (2) towards any amounts that the registrar may require to be paid under section 16.1 of the Act and any remaining amount to the owner of the vehicle with a statement showing how the remaining amount was calculated.

             (4)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), a garage operator may, with the approval of the registrar, dispose of the impounded vehicle referred to in subsection (1) by sale or otherwise, if the garage operator

             (a)  surrenders the licence plate from the motor vehicle to the registrar; and

             (b)  files with the Registrar

                      (i)  a statutory declaration in the form set by the registrar declaring that

                            (A)  the amount of the garage operator's lien on the motor vehicle exceeds the garage operator's estimate of the value of the motor vehicle, and

                            (B)  the garage operator, at least 14 days before making the statutory declaration, sent by registered or certified mail to the registered owner of the motor vehicle, a notice that the garage operator intends to dispose of the motor vehicle if the lien is not paid, and

                     (ii)  a certificate showing that no security interest is registered against the motor vehicle under the Personal Property Security Act or the Judgment Enforcement Act.

             (5)  Where the registrar approves the disposal of a motor vehicle under subsection (3), the registrar shall transfer the registration of the motor vehicle from the owner of the motor vehicle to the garage operator.

Application for  early release by owner

      10. (1) Where the owner of a motor vehicle impounded under these regulations was not the driver or person who had care or control at the time the vehicle was seized, the owner may before the expiry of the period of impoundment apply to the registrar for the release of the vehicle on the grounds that

             (a)  the driver was not disqualified from driving under subsection 73(2) of the Act at the time of the seizure;

             (b)  the driver was in possession of the motor vehicle without the knowledge or consent of the owner;

             (c)  the owner could not reasonably be expected to have known that the driver was disqualified from driving under subsection 73(2) of the Act; or

             (d)  the continued impoundment of the motor vehicle will

                      (i)  cause the owner to suffer a loss or curtailment of employment or educational opportunities; or

                     (ii)  prevent the owner, or someone under the care of the owner, from obtaining medical treatment.

             (2)  Where the owner of a motor vehicle impounded under these regulations was the driver or person who had care and control at the time the vehicle was seized, he or she may before the expiry of the period of impoundment apply to the registrar for the release of the vehicle on the grounds that he or she

             (a)  was not disqualified from driving under subsection 73(2) of the Act at the time of the seizure; or

             (b)  could not reasonably be expected to have known that he or she was disqualified from driving under subsection 73(2) of the Act.

             (3)  The application for release shall be in the form set by the registrar and be accompanied by the fee set by the minister.

             (4)  The applicant may attach to the application sworn statements or other evidence that the applicant wishes the registrar to consider.

             (5)  The applicant shall provide the registrar with information related to the application that the registrar may require.

             (6)  Where an application is made under subsections (1) or (2), the registrar shall consider the report of the peace officer respecting the seizure of the motor vehicle and may consider

             (a)  the driving record maintained by the registrar of

                      (i)  the person named as the driver of the motor vehicle in the report of the peace officer,

                     (ii)  the person named as the driver of the motor vehicle in the application for release by the owner, if that person is not the person referred to in subparagraph (i), or

                    (iii)  the applicant; and

             (b)  records maintained by the registrar respecting a previous seizure and impoundment under these regulations of a motor vehicle registered in the name of, or owned by, the applicant.

             (7)  The registrar is not required to hold an oral hearing in respect of an application under this section unless the applicant

             (a)  requests an oral hearing when the application is made; and

             (b)  pays the oral hearing fee set by the minister.

             (8)  Where an applicant requests an oral hearing and fails to appear, without giving prior notice, on the date and at the time and place set by the registrar, the applicant's right to an oral hearing is considered to have been waived.

Decision of registrar

      11. (1) Where, after considering an application for release under section 10 the registrar is satisfied that the motor vehicle should not have been seized or impounded for the reasons set out in paragraph 10(1)(a) or 10(2)(a), the registrar shall

             (a)  revoke the seizure and impoundment;

             (b)  direct that the garage operator with custody of the motor vehicle release the motor vehicle to the owner or a person authorized by the owner;

             (c)  refund the application fee; and

             (d)  indemnify the owner of the motor vehicle for the amount paid by the owner to satisfy the lien described in section 8.

             (2)  Where, after considering an application for release under section 10 the registrar is satisfied that the motor vehicle should be released before the period of impoundment expires for the reason set out in paragraph 10(1)(b), (c), (d) or 10(2)(b), the registrar shall

             (a)  direct that the garage operator with custody of the motor vehicle release the motor vehicle to the owner or a person authorized by the owner; and

             (b)  where the reason for releasing the motor vehicle is set out in paragraphs 10(1)(b), (c) or 10(2)(b), refund the application fee.

             (3)  The registrar shall provide his or her decision on an application in writing to the applicant within 7 days of the date the application was considered or oral hearing held.

Release of vehicle on expiry of impoundment

      12. Subject to section 8, the registrar shall direct that an impounded motor vehicle be released to the owner or a person authorized by the owner after the period of impoundment expires.

Report of garage operator

      13. Where a garage operator has in a month stored or disposed of a motor vehicle impounded under these regulations, the garage operator shall, on or before the 7th day of the following month make a report to the registrar in the form set by the registrar.

Owner's right against driver

      14. (1) The owner of a motor vehicle impounded under these regulations may recover from the person who was the driver at the time the motor vehicle was seized, as a debt in a court of competent jurisdiction, the amount the owner paid to have the vehicle released, including amounts required to release the lien described in section 8 and any fees paid to the registrar.

             (2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), the owner may not recover from the driver any amount that the owner was required to pay the registrar in respect of fines or penalties not related to the seizure and impoundment of the motor vehicle under these regulations.

Offence

      15. A person who removes or releases, or permits the removal or release of, an impounded motor vehicle from the place of impoundment except in accordance with these regulations, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $5,000.

Fees and forms

      16. The minister may set fees and the registrar may set forms required for the administration of these regulations.

Commencement

      17. These regulations come into force on the day on which An Act to Amend the Highway Traffic Act, SNL2002 c11, comes into force.