Friday, 28 April 2023 23:57

Seeking to shorten time to recover vehicles in custody of authorities

Written by Evelyn Alas

The deputies of the Treasury Committee unanimously issued a favorable opinion to amend the Law for the Return or Public Auction of Seized or Confiscated Motor Vehicles or Automotive Parts. The amendments are intended to reduce the time for a judge to determine the process to be followed with the cars that are in judicial or administrative deposit, because they were part of an investigation or were involved in accidents.

The current regulations, in force since 2004, establish that if no person claims the vehicle one year after the conclusion of a proceeding in which vehicles or automotive parts are in deposit (seized or placed at the disposal of a judicial authority), or after the legal restrictions for their return have been lifted, the judge must notify the legitimate owners that they have 30 days to pick up the vehicle. If this deadline is not met, the vehicle will be sold at public auction.

The reform bill endorsed by the working group shortens from 12 months to 90 days the period of time that the judge has, after having completed the entire legal process, to notify the owners of the cars that they may recover them or they will be sold.

The proceeds from the sale of these assets will be used to pay the costs of the proceeding, any taxes, duties, fees or fines owed and the expenses incurred for their conservation or deposit. In the event of a surplus, it shall be placed in the form of Third Party Funds in Custody for a period of three months. After this period, if no one has come forward to claim it, it shall be transferred to the General Fund of the Nation.

The president of the Treasury Commission, Christian Guevara, highlighted the importance of updating the law. He stated that in different State properties -among them the premises of the Policía Nacional Civil (PNC)- automobiles or their waste accumulate, which consumes resources such as physical space and the personnel delegated to guard them.

The legislator, seconded by his colleagues, added that these warehouses, especially those on public roads, generate visual pollution and can cause damage to health, because they are breeding grounds for insects and other animals.

"Many times, (the vehicles) spend years deteriorating and cause a bad image. When you come from the Comalapa airport, at the entrance to the Santo Tomás turnoff, a large number of vehicles are accumulated. Now that we are open to the world, that more tourists are coming, we cannot continue to give these deplorable images or those of decades ago, which no longer correspond to this new country", said congressman Guevara.

The members of the working group pointed out that the funds obtained from the auction of the vehicles are used by the State to carry out investment works in favor of the population.

As part of the study of the reform proposal, the commission requested the opinion of the Fiscalía General de la República, the Technical Unit of the Justice Sector and the PNC.

"This is an advanced law and the issue of providing a legal channel and legal certainty to all persons who have vehicles in any (police) delegation for violation of the law or for any judicial process", said parliamentarian Marcela Pineda.


Translated by: A.M