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City Council Votes To Repeal Impound Law

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The Denver impound lot (credit: CBS)

The Denver impound lot (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Right now if a person is pulled over by Denver police and they don’t have their driver’s license, their car is automatically impounded. But city council voted Monday night to repeal the impound law.

It’s called Initiative 100 and voters passed it in 2008. It requires drivers pay a $2,500 fee to get their car back when it’s impounded. The money is non-refundable.

The council voted 8-2 to pass an ordinance to repeal the law.

The impound law costs motorists a lot of money, but it’s also costing the city money. It has at times cost the city more to enforce the law than the money that is being brought in.

Even if a driver can prove they have a valid license, or show it later when picking up their car, they don’t get the money back.

Some city council members say there have been costly lawsuits over the impounds because of the fact there’s no way to appeal the fine, and because property has been taken even though the driver may be innocent or have a valid license.

Some council members fear more lawsuits may follow.

At times, the city’s impound lot has also been over crowded and council members say the time police have to spend waiting on the tow takes them away from other, more important calls.

The law has raised some controversy because there were arguments that it was written to target illegal immigrants. But voters passed it. However, the city council has the authority to repeal all laws with a two-thirds majority vote ..

The first reading is scheduled for Monday evening.

“We believe that it violated some federal and state supremacy laws, but also that it was so poorly written that we couldn’t really enforce it, so the collateral damage from this poorly written bill is that any person right now who’s innocent and has their car towed has no process on getting it back,” councilman Paul Lopez said.

Council members will have their final vote on the issue in July. The votes needed to repeal the law are in place, so it may be gone by mid-summer.

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