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BernCo Vehicle Seizure and
Forfeiture Ordinance Takes Effect Friday
– Drag Racers Subject to Vehicle Seizure –

Bernalillo County – The county’s Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture Ordinance takes effect tomorrow, Jan. 8, making drag racing a criminal act that could result in on-the-spot seizure and ultimate forfeiture of the vehicle.

The new amendment declares illegal street racing or drag racing as a public nuisance that endangers the community at large. Vehicles used in these illegal activities can be taken away at the scene by law enforcement officers. An administrative hearing will determine if the vehicle was properly seized.

For second-time or greater offenders, the county will initiate proceedings to permanently take away a vehicle that was used for drag racing.

This law affects drag racing activity that occurs outside the city limits, within the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.

“Whether it is drinking and driving or drag racing, this ordinance can now directly address those individuals who are using their vehicles as a weapon,” says Commissioner Lonnie Talbert, sponsor of the amendment.

Vehicle owners who knowingly allow a previously arrested reckless driver to drive their vehicle may not be considered an innocent owner and could lose their vehicle.

The amendment also creates and lists criteria necessary to address specific requirements and obligations pertaining to the release of seized vehicles to lienholders.

Seized vehicles will be sold at public auction and the proceeds will be used for administering this ordinance and DWI enforcement, prevention and education.

Temporary immobilization of a vehicle using an immobilization device, or boot, is an alternative available in lieu of vehicle forfeiture. The vehicle immobilization period would be determined by the driving record and history of the offender.

The county’s Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture Ordinance also addresses seizure and forfeiture of vehicles of DWI offenders with two or more DWIs and/or those individuals driving with a revoked license that was the result of a prior DWI conviction.

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About Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is 1,160 square miles and is New Mexico’s most populous county with more than 674,000 residents. Bernalillo County government provides a wide range of public services to residents who live in Albuquerque, Los Ranchos and Tijeras and the 111,000 residents who live outside the village and city limits in the unincorporated areas of the county. Bernalillo County employs approximately 2,500 people and has an annual operating budget and capital investments of more than $500 million. Elected officials include five county commissioners, assessor, clerk, probate judge, sheriff and treasurer.