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Bradenton City Council Passes Vehicle Impoundment Ordinance Relating to Sex and Drug Crimes


BRADENTON - The City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed an ordinance that would allow law enforcement to impound motor vehicles if it is deemed they have probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains illicit drugs, or that sex laws were violated within it.

The ordinance is essentially a replacement and revision of an older one which has not been in effect for five years. City Police Chief Mike Radzilowski explained after the meeting that local law enforcement had ceased to impound vehicles in relation to such crimes after a court in the state Florida had ruled that a similar ordinance was illegal.

After a final ruling came down stating that the practice was legal, as long as redress was embedded into such an ordinance for certain circumstances, Radzilowski said that the City Council decided to introduce a new ordinance with cleaned up language.

The old ordinance, under Chapter 54, Article IV of the city's Code of Ordinances, stated that impoundment of a vehicle could take place if it "(1) Was used to facilitate the commission or attempted commission of an act of prostitution, assignation or lewdness as defined in F.S. 796.07, as amended; or (2) Contains any controlled substance as defined in F.S. 893.02, as amended; or (3) Was used, intended or attempted to be used, to facilitate the commission of any violation of F.S. ch. 893, as amended."

The new ordinance expands upon the language for said violations, stating that impoundment could be justified if the vehicle is "used to facilitate ... prostitution assignation, lewdness or solicitation of same or unnatural or lascivious acts or exposure of sexual organs or containing a controlled substance as defined in Florida Statues 893.02 and 893.03 or commission of any violation of Chapter 893 of the Florida Statues as amended..."

Regarding redress, Radzilowski said, "We put in the appeals process - if ... we impound your vehicle (for said violation[s]), (and if) your son uses your car, theoretically, you could come in and say, 'My son used my car - I had nothing to do with it,' and you can get the car back," he said.

Radzilowski added, "But what we're gonna do is, unless the owner is there or has specific knowledge that you're using it to do drugs or prostitution, we're not even gonna take the car."


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