2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
October 17, 2013 - Introduced by Representative Zepnick. Referred to Committee
on Criminal Justice.
1An Act to create
341.66 of the statutes; relating to: impoundment of motor
2vehicle registration plates for certain operating while intoxicated and other
3offenses and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, no one may operate a motor vehicle while under the
influence of an intoxicant or with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration or with a
detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood. A person
who does so, or who improperly refuses a field sobriety test, is guilty of an offense
related to operating while intoxicated (OWI-related offense) and is subject to
forfeitures or fines and periods of imprisonment that increase with each subsequent
Under this bill, an "impoundment violation" is an OWI-related offense
committed within ten years of a prior OWI-related offense, with a blood alcohol
concentration of more than twice the prohibited blood alcohol concentration, or with
a minor passenger under 16 years of age and more than 36 months younger than the
violator. Under this bill, when a person's operating privilege is revoked for an
impoundment violation, the Department of Transportation (DOT) must impound the
registration plate of any vehicle owned by, or registered or leased in the name of, the
violator and, in certain cases, the vehicle involved in the impoundment violation,
whether or not owned by the violator. A person whose plates are impounded may
seek administrative or judicial review of an impoundment order.
If the owner of a vehicle subject to an impoundment order meets certain
conditions, he or she may apply to DOT for special registration plates during the
impoundment period. These special plates must bear a series of numbers or letters
that readily identify the plate as a special plate to traffic officers. For one year after
the impoundment order, DOT may not issue registration plates, other than these
special plates, for a vehicle subject to an impoundment order. This bill also limits the
sale or transfer of a vehicle subject to an impoundment order during the
Also under this bill, persons who fail to comply with an impoundment order,
attempt to obtain registration plates other than special plates for a vehicle subject
to an impoundment order, operate a vehicle subject to an impoundment order unless
equipped with special plates, operate a vehicle not equipped with special plates while
subject to an impoundment order, violate vehicle transfer requirements, or make
certain false statements are guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined not more than
$500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime,
the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a
report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to
result if the bill is enacted.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
341.66 of the statutes is created to read:
2341.66 Administrative impoundment of registration plates. (1) 3Definitions
. In this section:
(a) "Close associate" means any of the following:
1. A parent, stepparent, or guardian.
2. A person related by blood, marriage, or adoption who is a brother, sister, 7
stepbrother, stepsister, first cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, grandparent, 8
great-grandparent, great-uncle, or great-aunt.
3. A person residing together with another.
4. A person who regularly associates and communicates with another outside 11
of a workplace setting.
(b) "Impoundment violation" means:
1. A violation subject to counting under s. 343.307 (2) under any of the following 2
a. Within 10 years of a prior conviction, suspension, or revocation counted 4
under s. 343.307 (2).
b. If the violator had an alcohol concentration of more than twice the prohibited 6
c. If a minor passenger under 16 years of age and more than 36 months younger 8
than the violator was in the vehicle at the time of the violation.
2. A violation of s. 343.05 by a person to whom s. 343.06 (1) (h) applies.
(c) "Violator" means a person who was driving or operating a motor vehicle 11
when an impoundment violation occurred.
12(2) Impoundment order
. (a) The department shall issue a registration plate 13
impoundment order when any of the following occurs:
1. A person's operating privilege is revoked for an impoundment violation.
2. A person is arrested for or charged with an impoundment violation under 16
sub. (1) (b) 2.
(b) Except as provided in par. (c), the impoundment order shall require the 18
impoundment of the registration plates of the motor vehicle involved in the 19
impoundment violation and of any other motor vehicle owned by, or registered or 20
leased in the name of, the violator.
(c) An impoundment order may not require the impoundment of the 22
registration plates of any of the following:
1. A rental vehicle that is leased in the name of the violator and is part of a fleet 24
of 2 or more motor vehicles that are rented for periods of 30 days or less.
2. A vehicle registered in another state.
1(3) Notice of impoundment
. (a) An impoundment order under sub. (2) is 2
effective when the department provides the violator or registered owner of the motor 3
vehicle with a notice of the department's intent to impound the vehicle's registration 4
plates and the registration plate impoundment order. If mailed, the order of 5
impoundment is effective 3 days after mailing to the last-known address of the 6
violator or registered owner.
(b) The notice under par. (a) shall include information regarding the 8
requirements of sub. (4), the procedure to obtain new registration plates under sub. 9
(5), the right to obtain administrative review under sub. (6), and the right to obtain 10
judicial review under sub. (7).
(c) If a notice and order under par. (a) are provided to a registered owner other 12
than the violator, the department shall also provide a temporary vehicle permit for 13
the vehicle that is valid for 45 days. The permit shall be in a form determined by the 14
department and, whenever practicable, shall be posted on the left side of the inside 15
rear window of the vehicle.
(d) 1. If a law enforcement officer arrests a person for an impoundment 17
violation under sub. (1) (b) 2., the officer shall provide the person with a notice of the 18
department's intent to impound the vehicle's registration plates and a registration 19
plate impoundment order. If the vehicle involved in the violation is accessible to the 20
officer at the time of providing the impoundment order, the officer shall seize and 21
destroy the vehicle's registration plates.
2. The officer shall provide the department with copies of the notice and the 23
order under this paragraph and, if registration plates have been seized and 24
destroyed under this paragraph, a notice that the registration plates impounded 25
under this paragraph have been destroyed.
1(4) Surrender of registration plates
. (a) Except as provided in par. (c), not 2
more than 7 days after an impoundment order under sub. (2) becomes effective, a 3
person subject to the order shall surrender all registration plates subject to the order 4
that were not seized under sub. (3) (d). The registration plates shall be surrendered 5
to a law enforcement agency together with a copy of the impoundment order.
(b) A law enforcement agency that receives registration plates under par. (a) 7
shall destroy the plates and provide the department with a copy of the impoundment 8
order and a notification that the plates have been destroyed.
(c) A violator may file a sworn statement with the department not more than 10
7 days after an impoundment order under sub. (2) becomes effective, providing any 11
material information relating to the impoundment order. If the violator states that 12
the vehicle has been sold or destroyed, he or she shall supply the date, name, location, 13
and address of the person or entity that purchased or destroyed the vehicle.
(d) The department shall rescind the impoundment order if the department 15
determines that the impoundment order was not properly issued or if it finds that 16
the vehicle has been sold or destroyed and is no longer available for use by the 17
18(5) Recission of impoundment order
. (a) The department shall rescind an 19
impoundment order under sub. (2) that was provided to a registered owner other 20
than the violator if any of the following applies:
1. The violator possessed a valid operator's license on the date of the 22
impoundment violation and the owner files with the department a sworn statement, 23
in a form prescribed by the department, containing all of the following:
a. A statement that the owner is the registered owner of the vehicle from which 25
registration plates have been impounded under this section.
b. A statement that the owner is the current owner and possessor of the vehicle 2
used in the violation.