New Federal Provision Allows Police to Impound Your Car in DUI / DWI Arrest
In the summer of 2005, Congress approved a huge transportation bill. One of its many provisions included federal grants that encouraged states to enact John’s Law, a New Jersey law that allows police to impound the car of a drunk driver.
The law was named after Navy Ensign John Elliott, who died in a drunk driving accident in 2000. That evening began when a driver named Michael Pangle was arrested for drunk driving, then released three hours later, still intoxicated. A friend who picked up Pangle at the police station took him to his car, where Pangle picked up his car and drove more that night. It was later that night that Pangle got into the accident with Elliott, killing them both.
After the accident, Bill Elliott, John’s father, began a crusade to pass legislation that would toughen drunk-driving laws that might have saved his son’s life. Eventually, Senator Jon S. Corzine and Representative Frank A. LoBiondo, both representing Elliott's state of New Jersey, introduced two bills in Congress and got them passed. The first law allowed the police to impound the vehicles of drunk drivers. The second law allowed police to hold drunk drivers until they became sober. The two laws collectively became known as John’s Law.
The federal provision in the 2005 transportation bill allows the other 49 states to enact John’s Law to assist them in meeting various criteria that are necessary to land federal grants to prevent drunk-driving, as well as other law enforcement–related grant money.
Bill Elliott was quoted in a Knight Ridder article as being happy about its national recognition. "It’s very exciting," he said. "It’s one of those bittersweet occasions that is a victory," adding, "It’s an absolute fitting, living tribute to (John’s) memory. I think it accomplishes what we set out to accomplish."
For a free DWI consultation, contact New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney, Evan M. Levow by dialing 1.800.DWI.LAWS today.