Section 323.001, Florida Statutes 2007
323.001 Wrecker operator storage facilities; vehicle holds.--
(1) An investigating agency may place a hold on a motor vehicle stored within a wrecker operator's storage facility for a period not to exceed 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends, unless extended in writing.
(2) The investigating agency must notify the wrecker operator in writing within 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends, whether the hold is to be continued. If no notification follows this period of time, the wrecker operator may release the vehicle to the designated person pursuant to s. 713.78.
(a) If the hold is to continue beyond 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends, the investigating agency may have the vehicle removed to a designated impound lot, in which event the vehicle will not be released by the investigating agency to the owner or lienholder of the vehicle until proof of payment of the towing and storage charges incurred by the wrecker operator is presented to the investigating agency.
(b) If the investigating agency chooses to have the vehicle remain at the wrecker operator's storage facility beyond 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends, pursuant to the written notification, the investigating agency shall be responsible for payment of the storage charges incurred by the wrecker operator for the requested extended period. In such an event, the owner or lienholder shall be responsible for payment of accrued towing and storage charges for the first 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends, or any period less than the first 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends, when the investigating agency either moves the vehicle from the wrecker operator's storage facility to a designated impound lot or provides written notification to extend the hold on the vehicle prior to the expiration of the 5 days, excluding holidays and weekends.
(c) The towing and storage rates for the owner or lienholder of the held vehicle shall not exceed the contract or county rates.
(3) If there is a judicial finding of no probable cause for having continued the immobilization or impoundment, the investigating agency ordering the hold must pay the accrued charges for any towing and storage.
(4) The requirements for a written hold apply when the following conditions are present:
(a) The officer has probable cause to believe the vehicle should be seized and forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, ss. 932.701-932.707;
(b) The officer has probable cause to believe the vehicle should be seized and forfeited under chapter 370 or chapter 372;
(c) The officer has probable cause to believe the vehicle was used as the means of committing a crime;
(d) The officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle is itself evidence that tends to show that a crime has been committed or that the vehicle contains evidence, which cannot readily be removed, which tends to show that a crime has been committed;
(e) The officer has probable cause to believe the vehicle was involved in a traffic accident resulting in death or personal injury and should be sealed for investigation and collection of evidence by a vehicular homicide investigator;
(f) The vehicle is impounded or immobilized pursuant to s. 316.193 or s. 322.34; or
(g) The officer is complying with a court order.
(5) The hold must be in writing and must specify:
(a) The name and agency of the law enforcement officer placing the hold on the vehicle;
(b) The date and time the hold is placed on the vehicle;
(c) A general description of the vehicle, including its color, make, model, body style, and year; VIN (Vehicle Identification Number); registration license plate number, state, and year; and validation sticker number, state, and year;
(d) The specific reason for placing the hold;
(e) The condition of the vehicle;
(f) The location where the vehicle is being held; and
(g) The name, address, and telephone number of the wrecker operator and the storage facility.
(6) A wrecker operator's storage facility must comply with a hold placed by a law enforcement officer, including instructions for inside or outside storage. A wrecker operator's storage facility may not release a motor vehicle subject to a hold to any person except as directed by the law enforcement agency placing the hold.
(7) When a vehicle owner is found guilty of, or pleads nolo contendere to, the offense that resulted in a hold being placed on his or her vehicle, regardless of the adjudication of guilt, the owner must pay the accrued towing and storage charges assessed against the vehicle.
History.--s. 2, ch. 98-324; s. 110, ch. 99-13; s. 9, ch. 2000-197; s. 71, ch. 2001-61; s. 14, ch. 2002-264; s. 2, ch. 2005-137.