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Vehicle Seizure Procedure

Your vehicle may be seized in certain circumstances under Utah code 41-6a-211, including for the violation of motor vehicle laws. Whether you are operating a vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other vessel, it can be seized under the procedures established in the Utah Uniform Forfeiture Procedures Act. However, there are strict guidelines that determine the situation that vehicles and other property can be seized in.

A peace officer may only seize your vehicle if the situation meets one of the following criteria:

  • After notice and service issued by a court having jurisdiction over the vehicle
  • Without notice if the seizure is related to an arrest under a search warrant
  • Without notice if it is related to an inspection under an administrative inspection warrant
  • The vehicle is part of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a criminal injunction or forfeiture proceeding
  • The peace officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle was used to flee law enforcement officials (Section 41-6a-210).

Any vehicles that are seized are then in the custody of the law enforcement agency that made the seizure, which may include the Utah Highway Patrol, the local sheriff’s department or the local police department. It may only be released under orders of the law enforcement official or the court. Until then, the property may be moved to a place designated by the warrant or another appropriate location.

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