A. Except if a manufacturer‘s serial or identification number of a motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle is removed, defaced, altered or destroyed with the permission of the department or if a special serial or identifying number issued by the department has been properly affixed to a vehicle pursuant to section 28-2165, a motor vehicle or major component part of the vehicle that has had the manufacturer’s or department’s serial or identification number removed, defaced, altered or destroyed and a serial or identification number so removed are contraband.

Terms Used In Arizona Laws 28-4594

  • Action: includes any matter or proceeding in a court, civil or criminal. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Certificate of title: means a paper document or an electronic record that is issued by the department and that indicates ownership of a vehicle. See Arizona Laws 28-101
  • Department: means the department of transportation acting directly or through its duly authorized officers and agents. See Arizona Laws 28-101
  • Major component part: includes a motor vehicle or vehicle part that the manufacturer has assigned any factory, motor, serial or other identification number or mark. See Arizona Laws 28-4301
  • Manufacturer: means any person who either:

    (a) Manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles. See Arizona Laws 28-4301

  • Motor vehicle: means an automobile, motor bus, motorcycle, truck or truck tractor or any other self-propelled vehicle, trailer or semitrailer. See Arizona Laws 28-4301
  • Owner: means :

    (a) A person who holds the legal title of a vehicle. See Arizona Laws 28-101

  • Person: includes a corporation, company, partnership, firm, association or society, as well as a natural person. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Property: includes both real and personal property. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • State: means a state of the United States and the District of Columbia. See Arizona Laws 28-101

B. A law enforcement agency shall both:

1. Immediately seize and store the motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle or serial or identification number that is contraband pursuant to subsection A of this section.

2. Attempt to restore the original manufacturer’s serial or identification numbers on the item seized as follows:

(a) If the original identification numbers can be permanently restored and the last owner as identified on official title records maintained by the vehicle registration agency of the state, country or territory in which the vehicle was last issued a certificate of title or the person or entity to which a certificate of title was assigned by the last owner as identified on official title records can be found, the law enforcement agency shall return the motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle to the person or entity.

(b) If the original identification numbers can be temporarily restored and the last owner as identified on official title records maintained by the vehicle registration agency of the state, country or territory in which the vehicle was last issued a certificate of title or the person or entity to which a certificate of title was assigned by the last owner as identified on official title records can be found, the county attorney of the county in which the motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle was seized or the attorney general, within sixty days after the date of seizure or such other reasonable time that is set by the court, shall file a petition or action in the superior court in the county in which the item was seized or in Maricopa county to forfeit the motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle to this state for use or other appropriate disposition by the law enforcement agency that seized the item or for such other disposition as the state deems appropriate. The petition shall set forth probable cause that the item is contraband. A copy of the petition or notice of pending forfeiture shall be served as follows:

(i) On the person from whom the item was seized by certified mail to the person’s last known address.

(ii) On the last owner and any lienholders or interest holders identified on official title records by certified mail to the names and addresses identified on official title records.

(iii) On any other known interest holders by certified mail to each holder’s last known address.

(iv) By publication in one issue of a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property was seized.

(c) If the original identification numbers cannot be permanently or temporarily restored or the last owner as identified on official title records cannot be found, the county attorney in the county in which the motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle was seized or the attorney general, within sixty days after the date of seizure or such other reasonable time as is set by the court, shall file a petition or action in the superior court in the county in which the item was seized or in Maricopa county to forfeit the motor vehicle or major component part of a vehicle to this state for use or other appropriate disposition by the law enforcement agency that seized the item or for such other disposition as the state deems appropriate. The petition shall set forth probable cause that the item is contraband. A copy of the petition or notice of pending forfeiture shall be served on the person from whom the item was seized by certified mail to the person’s last known address.

C. If a verified claim is not filed within the time period provided in section 28-4595, subsection A, the court shall declare the seized item to be contraband and shall sign an order forfeiting the seized item to the state for use or other appropriate disposition by the law enforcement agency that seized the item or for other disposition as the state deems appropriate.