Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Cops issue reminder on rules governing vehicle seizures

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has reminded the public of the conditions under which a motor vehicle can be seized.

Head of the JCF Corporate Communi-cations Unit (CCU) Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay said if the vehicle is not licensed, the police can lawfully seize it.

"The law makes provision for a 30-day grace period, and after this time, the police have the authority to seize all unregistered motor vehicles," she said.

"Your vehicle can also be seized under the Road Traffic Act if you do not have a registration plate affixed to the car, or if the plate is obscured, preventing the officer from seeing what is on it," Lindsay added.

Other reasons that can lead to seizure are drivers functioning in contravention of the provisions of their licence, or if a vehicle is found to be carrying drugs. This seizure can be done under the Dangerous Drugs Act. She highlighted that section 24 of the Act allows for the officer to confiscate the suspected car carrying the drugs and make an arrest.

"If the police have reason to believe that an automobile was a part of any criminal activity, it will be seized and the owners charged and held accountable, even if they were not the ones driving at the time," she added.

parking violations

Lindsay also noted that parking in non-designated parking spots, close to fire hydrants, or in disabled spots without approval is also grounds to have the vehicle towed.

She urged citizens to get acquainted with the law in order to understand the extent of the power the police have to seize a motor vehicle.

Lindsay emphasised that the police should not seize the vehicle if the driver forgot his or her licence, or does not have it in his or her possession.

She pointed out that the police can, however, seize a motor vehicle "if someone who was never issued a valid national driver's licence is caught driving".

The superintendent further explained that in addition to the car being seized, the police are required to prosecute the driver who does not have a driver's licence

and the owner of the vehicle who allowed the person to drive their car without the national authorisation.

"We will take custody of the vehicle until the owner or someone with a valid driver's licence or authorisation retrieves it," she noted.

She pointed out that the police should not seize a vehicle that does not have insurance coverage or an expired registration of fitness. "These are ticketable offences," she said.