Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cary to join impound crowd

The Village of Cary must have been watching the big bucks that other McHenry County municipalities were scarfing up and figured out that it was missing out on something good. Good for them, that is; rotten for its residents and others passing through.

On Tuesday, December 18, its Board decided it will sock a vehicle “owner” (says the newspaper article) what it is calling an “administrative tow fee”, if the driver is charged with certain offenses, such as DUI, driving while revoked or suspended, “using an unlawful weapon” (according to the paper).

And, as in other communities, including Woodstock, the $500 fee must be coughed up before the vehicle can be gotten out of hock. This is, of course, in addition to the tow fee and any daily storage charges.

And the $500 stays right at home, in Cary, meaning it keeps 100% of it and doesn't have to share with its playmates at the McHenry County Circuit Court.

Cary is jumping on the same bandwagon as other communities and is setting up an administrative adjudication court.

Here's a twist, though. Cary Police Chief Steven Casstevens said that “In cases other than DUIs, a licensed driver who is not arrested in an incident can drive the vehicle away if the owner allows it.” Try that one in Woodstock. Ha!

The impound fee is in addition to towing, which might be $150, and storage costs, which might be $40.00/day. Let's say the car sits at the tow yard for five days. That's $200. Plus $150. Plus $500. And the driver may still be sitting in jail, if he can't cough up the bail. So the vehicle owner (spouse, adult child, mom, dad?) must come up with $850 to bail out the clunker.

In Woodstock about 10% of the impounds are forfeited to the towing company. Is this what the City Fathers had in mind in Woodstock? Is this what the Cary road czars have in mind?

What does the $500 cover? The cost of arrest, such as “fingerprinting, photographing, writing reports, making copies of reports for attorneys,, and paying the officer to appear in court, either while on duty or overtime.” (Source: Northwest Herald 12/20/12)

Well, wait a minute! What does the operating fund from the taxpayers cover? All the same expenses! Why can Cary (and other communities) create a profit center and target a specific group. Is this a class-action discrimination lawsuit coming for each one?

Can you get your $500 back (forget the tow charge and storage fees)? Yes, IF you have a jury trial in Circuit Court on your criminal charge and IF you are found Not Guilty. If your case is thrown out, dismissed, nolle prossed, forget your $500. You won't get it back from Woodstock.

Let's say the cop knew the charges weren't going to stick (or maybe weren't any good in the first place). So he "sort of" let the Assistant State's Attorney know that the case was a "little" weak, or maybe the cop didn't testify very well, or maybe he just didn't show up for the trial. Then your criminal charge gets tossed, and you DON'T get your $500 back from Woodstock. And the charges sit in Circuit Court records, unless you get them expunged. More fees.

I don't know if Cary will treat people in the same shoddy manner.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Anyone who falls victim to this attempt at legalized theft should fight tooth and nail. The Illinois Vehicle Code allows for the recovering of expenses for offenses where there was a "proper" tow. Many cities, as it appears Carey is joining the group stetch this into an authorization to hold a car for ransom simply because someone is accused of committing certain specified offenses. Anyone who falls victim to this scheme should read Miranda v City of Cornelius. The 9th Federal Circuit said among other things that the mere fact that a statute says a vehicle is tow be towed by virtue of it's driver being charged with a certain offense does not give cart blanche to just tow the car. That pesky 4th ammendment comes into play. There are other such cases out there so do some research if Cary or any of these other locals try to strong arm you.