If a law enforcement agency finds a vehicle or part of a vehicle on which the identification number has been removed, altered or obliterated or made impossible to read, the law enforcement agency may seize the vehicle or part of a vehicle. If the identification number cannot be identified, the seized vehicle or vehicle part is presumed to be contraband. Except as provided in par. (d)
, if the identification number can be identified, the agency may return the vehicle to the owner. Except as provided in par. (b)
, the district attorney shall institute forfeiture proceedings under s. 973.076
regarding any vehicle or vehicle part that is seized under this paragraph and not returned to the owner.
If the district attorney brings a criminal action arising out of the seizure under par. (a)
, the district attorney shall not institute forfeiture proceedings under s. 973.076
before there is a final determination in the criminal action.
does not apply to the obliteration of an identification number that occurs in the process of crushing a vehicle or vehicle part for scrap.
If the identification number of a motorcycle or part of a motorcycle seized under par. (a)
can be identified and if no forfeiture proceeding is commenced under s. 973.076
within 30 days after the seizure of the property, the custodian of the seized property shall immediately return the seized property to the owner named in the certificate of title or registration. If a motorcycle or part of a motorcycle is not returned to the owner named in the certificate of title or registration as required in this paragraph, and if the owner of the property commences a replevin action to recover possession of the property, and if the judge finds that the custodian of the property unreasonably retained the property after 30 days after the seizure, the court shall award the owner the costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in the replevin action.
The time limits in s. 973.076 are inapplicable to forfeitures of vehicles seized under this section. Sub. (4) (b) controls. State v. Elliot, 203 Wis. 2d 95
, 551 N.W.2d 850
(Ct. App. 1996), 96-0012
Report of stolen or abandoned motor vehicles. 342.31(1)(1)
Each sheriff and police department in the state shall immediately report to the department of justice each motor vehicle reported stolen or recovered within its jurisdiction.
An owner of a garage or trailer park or of any type of storage or parking lot for motor vehicles shall report to the local law enforcement agency the make, motor number and serial or identification number of any vehicle stored, parked or left in the owner's garage, park or lot for a period of more than 30 consecutive days unless arrangements have been made by the owner of the vehicle for its continuous storage or parking or unless the owner of the vehicle is personally known to the owner of the garage, park or lot. Any person who fails to submit such report may be required to forfeit not more than $25.
Counterfeiting and unlawful possession of certificate of title. 342.32(1)(1)
No person may counterfeit, possess, sell, offer for sale or supply a forged, fictitious, counterfeit, stolen or fraudulently or unlawfully obtained certificate of title or registration, manufacturer's document of origin, instrument or other document that is or may be used as evidence of ownership, the transfer of ownership or the mileage disclosure of a motor vehicle.
Unless authorized by the department, no person may possess, sell, offer for sale or supply any blank certificates of title or registration, manufacturers' documents of origin, instruments or other documents that may be used as evidence of ownership or registration of a motor vehicle.
Whoever violates sub. (1)
is guilty of a Class H felony.
Sale of vehicle used as taxicab.
No person shall sell or exchange, authorize or direct the sale or exchange of, or offer for sale or exchange any motor vehicle which the person knows has been used as a taxicab or for public transportation unless the certificate of title for such vehicle has been stamped by the department with the words “This motor vehicle has previously been used as a taxicab or for public transportation" and unless such certificate of title is exhibited by the vendor to the vendee before the sale of such vehicle is consummated. Any person who violates this section may be required to forfeit not more than $1,000.
Department to be notified of destruction or junking of vehicle. 342.34(1)(1)
Any person owning or possessing a junk vehicle shall, within 10 days after determining that the vehicle is a junk vehicle do all of the following:
Notify the department of the junk condition of the vehicle.
Return the certificate of title to the department.
If the vehicle is a motorcycle or an automobile registered under s. 341.27
or a motor home or a motor truck, dual purpose motor home or dual purpose farm truck which has a gross weight of not more than 8,000 pounds or a farm truck which has a gross weight of not more than 12,000 pounds, the owner shall remove the registration plates and retain and preserve them for use on any other vehicle of the same type which may subsequently be registered in his or her name. If the vehicle is not a motorcycle or an automobile registered under s. 341.27
, or a motor home or a motor truck, dual purpose motor home or dual purpose farm truck which has a gross weight of not more than 8,000 pounds or a farm truck which has a gross weight of not more than 12,000 pounds, he or she shall remove and destroy the plates.
Any person owning or possessing a vehicle which has been junked or destroyed shall, within 10 days after the destruction or junking occurred do all of the following:
Notify the department of the destruction or junking.
Return the certificate of title to the department.
Remove and either retain or destroy the registration plates for the vehicle as provided in sub. (1) (c)
No certificate of title may be issued for a junk vehicle or for a vehicle which has been junked or destroyed.
In determining whether a vehicle meets the definition of a junk vehicle for purposes of this section or s. 342.15 (1) (a)
, the department may promulgate rules specifying the conditions under which a vehicle shall be considered incapable of operation or use upon a highway.
Any person violating sub. (1)
may be required to forfeit not more than $200.
Any person who with intent to defraud violates sub. (1)
may be required to forfeit not more than $1,000.
Vehicle abandonment prohibited; removal; disposal. 342.40(1c)(1c)
In this section, “owner" includes the lessee of a vehicle if the vehicle is registered, or required to be registered, by the lessee under ch. 341
No person shall leave unattended any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or mobile home on any public highway or private or public property, for such time and under such circumstances as to cause the vehicle to reasonably appear to have been abandoned. Except as otherwise provided in this section, whenever any vehicle has been left unattended without the permission of the property owner for more than 48 hours in cities of the 1st class and, in other cities, villages and towns, a period set by the governing body thereof, the vehicle is deemed abandoned and constitutes a public nuisance. A motor vehicle shall not be considered an abandoned motor vehicle when it is out of ordinary public view, or when designated as not abandoned by a duly authorized municipal or county official pursuant to municipal or county ordinance.
Any vehicle in violation of this section shall be impounded until lawfully claimed or disposed of under sub. (3)
except that if an authorized municipal or county representative determines that the cost of towing and storage charges for the impoundment would exceed the value of the vehicle, the vehicle may be junked, donated to a nonprofit organization, or sold by the municipality or county prior to expiration of the impoundment period upon determination by the chief of police or sheriff having jurisdiction that the vehicle is not stolen or otherwise wanted for evidence or other reason. All substantially complete vehicles in excess of 19 model years of age shall be disposed of in accordance with sub. (3) (c)
Any municipality or county may enact ordinances governing the removal and disposal of abandoned vehicles and, except for abandoned vehicles that have been stolen, provide a forfeiture in addition to providing for the recovery by the municipality or county of the cost of impounding and disposing of the vehicle.
Any municipal or university police officer, police officer appointed under s. 16.84 (2)
, sheriff's deputy, county traffic patrolman, state traffic officer or conservation warden who discovers any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or mobile home on any public highway or private or public property which has been abandoned shall cause the vehicle to be removed to a suitable place of impoundment. Upon removal of the vehicle the officer or warden shall notify the sheriff or chief of police of the abandonment and of the location of the impounded vehicle. Upon causing the removal of the motor vehicle by a towing service, the officer or warden shall, within 24 hours of ordering the removal, notify the towing service of the name and last-known address of the registered owner and all lienholders of record of the vehicle, unless the officer is employed by a municipality or county that has entered into a towing services agreement which requires the municipality or county to provide notice to such owner and lienholders of the towing.
The owner of any abandoned vehicle except a stolen vehicle is responsible for the abandonment and all costs of impounding and disposing of the vehicle. If the vehicle is sold, costs not recovered from the sale of the vehicle may be recovered in a civil action by the municipality against the owner. Whether or not the municipality recovers the cost of towing and enforcement, the municipality shall be responsible to the towing service for requisitional towing service and reasonable charges for impoundment.
Any vehicle which is deemed abandoned by a duly authorized municipal or county representative and not disposed of under sub. (2)
shall be retained in storage for a minimum period of 10 days after certified mail notice has been sent to the owner and lienholders of record to permit reclamation of the vehicle after payment of accrued charges. Such notice shall set forth the year, make, model, and serial number of the abandoned motor vehicle, the place where the vehicle is being held, and shall inform the owner and any lienholders of their right to reclaim the vehicle. The notice shall state that the failure of the owner or lienholders to exercise their rights to reclaim the vehicle under this section is a waiver of all right, title, and interest in the vehicle and a consent to the sale or donation of the vehicle. Each retained vehicle not reclaimed by its owner or lienholder may be sold or donated to a nonprofit organization. If the vehicle is sold, the municipality or county may dispose of the vehicle by sealed bid or auction sale as provided by ordinance. At such sale the highest bid for any such motor vehicle shall be accepted unless an authorized municipal or county representative finds the bid inadequate, in which event all bids may be rejected. If all bids are rejected or no bid is received, the municipality or county may readvertise the sale, adjourn the sale to a definite date, sell the motor vehicle at a private sale, junk the vehicle, or donate the vehicle to a nonprofit organization. Any interested person may offer bids on each abandoned vehicle to be sold. If municipal or county ordinances do not state the procedure to be followed in advertising or providing public notice of the sale, a public notice shall be posted at the office of the municipal police department or the office of the county sheriff. The posting of the notice at the police or sheriff's department shall be in the same form as the certified mail notice sent to the owner or lienholders of record. Upon sale of an abandoned vehicle, the municipality or county shall supply the purchaser with a completed form designed by the department enabling the purchaser to obtain a regular certificate of title for the vehicle. The purchaser shall have 10 days to remove the vehicle from the storage area, but shall pay a reasonable storage fee established by the municipality or county for each day the vehicle remains in storage after the 2nd business day subsequent to the sale date. Ten days after the sale, the purchaser shall forfeit all interest in the vehicle and the vehicle shall be deemed to be abandoned and may be sold again or donated to a nonprofit organization. Any listing of vehicles to be sold by any municipality or county shall be made available to any interested person or organization which makes a written request for such list. The municipality or county may charge a fee for the list.
Within 5 days after the sale, donation, or disposal of a vehicle as provided in this subsection or sub. (2)
, the municipality or county shall advise the department of the sale, donation, or disposition on a form supplied by the department.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a state agency responsible for the land on which a vehicle is left unattended and a duly authorized representative of that agency may exercise all of the powers and duties under this section of a municipality and a duly authorized municipal representative, subject to the following conditions:
Whenever a vehicle has been left unattended without the permission of the state agency for more than 72 hours, the vehicle is deemed abandoned and constitutes a public nuisance.
The state agency may promulgate rules governing the removal and disposal of abandoned vehicles and, except for abandoned vehicles that have been stolen, provide a forfeiture in addition to providing for the recovery by the state agency of the cost of impounding and disposing of the vehicle.
This subsection applies to any vehicle deemed abandoned before April 30, 1996, except that no forfeiture may be assessed against the owner of such a vehicle.
Identity of buyer. 342.41(1)(1)
Notwithstanding s. 342.15
, after December 31, 2015, no individual may sell a motor vehicle to another individual, including transferring a junk vehicle by bill of sale, unless within 30 days of the sale the seller reports to the department the identification number of the vehicle and the identity of the individual buyer.
The department shall accept electronically information related to the sale of the motor vehicle, including all of the information required to be reported under sub. (1)
History: 2015 a. 60