2017 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 66 - Motor Vehicles
Article 3 - Registration Laws; Security Interests; Anti-Theft Provisions; Bicycles; Equipment; Unsafe Vehicles; Off-Highway Motor Vehicles; Other Vehicles
Part 6 - ANTI-THEFT PROVISIONS
Section 66-3-507 - Altered vehicle identification numbers; contraband.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 66-3-507 (2017)

66-3-507. Altered vehicle identification numbers; contraband.

A. Any person receiving, disposing of, offering to dispose of or having in the person's possession any vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component shall make adequate inquiry and inspection to determine that no manufacturer's serial number, engine or component number or other distinguishing number or mark or identification mark or number placed under assignment of the division has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed.

B. When the inspection of a vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component by any law enforcement officer indicates that the manufacturer's serial number or decal, engine or component number or other distinguishing number or mark or identification mark or number placed under assignment of the division has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed, that vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component may be impounded for a period of time not to exceed ninety-six hours unless part of that time falls upon a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday, in which case the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component may be impounded for a period of time not to exceed six days. At the expiration of the stated time period, the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component shall be returned to the person from whom it was taken at no cost unless an ex parte order allowing continued impoundment is issued by a magistrate or district court judge after finding that probable cause exists to believe that the manufacturer's serial number, engine or component number or other distinguishing number or mark or identification mark or number placed under assignment of the division has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed. Within ten days of the issuance of the order, the law enforcement agency shall cause to have the matter of the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component brought before a district court by filing in that court a petition requesting that the vehicle or item be declared contraband unless the court grants an extension of time for the filing based on some reasonable requirement for extension of the filing by the law enforcement agency. If at the time of the hearing on that petition the court finds that the manufacturer's serial number, engine or component number or other distinguishing number or mark or identification mark or number placed under assignment of the division has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed, the court shall declare the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component to be contraband unless one of the exceptions enumerated in this section applies. At the time the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component is declared to be contraband, the court shall order that it be disposed of according to Subsection D of this section. Any vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component in such condition shall not be subject to replevin except by an owner who can trace the owner's ownership of that vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component from the manufacturer by furnishing the court records indicating the identity of all intermediate owners. The law enforcement agency seizing the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component shall provide the person from whom it was taken a receipt for the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component.

C. The vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component shall not be considered contraband when:

(1) it has been determined that the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component has been reported as stolen;

(2) the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component is recovered in the condition described in Subsection B of this section;

(3) it clearly appears that the true owner is not responsible for the altering, concealing, defacing or destroying of the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component;

(4) the true owner obtains an assigned number issued by the division for the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component;

(5) the new assigned numbers have been issued for and placed upon the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component by the division utilizing a unique numbering system for that purpose; or

(6) a person licensed under the provisions of Sections 66-4-1 through 66-4-9 NMSA 1978, when in the course of the person's business and consistent with the provisions of Section 30-16D-6 NMSA 1978 and the rules and regulations promulgated by the division, removes, defaces, covers, alters or destroys the manufacturer's serial or engine or component number or other distinguishing number or identification mark or number placed under assignment of the division of a vehicle required to be registered under the Motor Vehicle Code.

D. If it is impossible to locate a true owner who meets the provisions of Subsection C of this section to claim the vehicle, motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine or component, it may be retained as long as it is used for police purposes, after which time, or if not suitable for police use, it shall be destroyed.

History: 1953 Comp., 64-3-507, enacted by Laws 1978, ch. 35, 94; 2009, ch. 253, 10; 2009, ch. 261, 10.

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