Hundreds of vehicles seized under 'Run and You're Done' law
Posted August 23, 2013
Updated August 24, 2013
Wake County, N.C. — A high-speed police chase around Interstate 440 in Raleigh Friday ended with the suspect crashing his Suzuki 1300 into a Wake County Sheriff’s Office patrol car.
In addition to a long list of criminal charges, 21-year-old David Brandon Banks now faces losing his motorcycle under North Carolina’s “Run and You’re Done” law.
Passed in 2011, the law allows law enforcement agencies to seize vehicles involved in chases. If the suspect is convicted, the agency sells the vehicle and turns over the money to public schools.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol has seized 386 vehicles since the law took effect. Wake County has seized 79 vehicles.
“If a person tries to outrun us, somebody needs to take that vehicle,” Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. “We don’t need to put it back in their hands.”
Harrison backs the state's "Run and You're Done" provision, saying it’s a matter of public safety. But not everyone agrees.
Criminal defense attorney Mark McCullough said he understands the intent, but thinks the law is unfair.
“It turns the constitutional presumption of innocence on its head if the police can come in or the state can come in and start seizing your property because you've been accused of something,” he said.
He acknowledged that vehicle owners who get charges dropped or who weren’t driving the car at the time of the crime can get their vehicles back.
“You can file a petition with the clerk saying you are an innocent owner,” he said.
Harrison agrees with due process but believes safety should be the overriding factor in seizures. His agency confiscated Banks’ motorcycle under the law.
“He puts a lot of lives in danger, including my officers and the citizens riding these roads,” Harrison said. “That's the reason I'm so adamant about it. Let's take that vehicle and teach him a lesson.”
In Wake County, 48 of the 79 vehicles seized under "Run and You're Done" are still impounded because the cases have not been settled. Thirty-one have been released back to owners for various reasons.
So far, no money has gone to Wake County schools from the program.