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Tennessee lawmakers advancing bill to strengthen punishment for evading arrest in a vehicle

Republican legislation to make Tennessee roadways safer by increasing the punishment for those who flee law enforcement advanced out of the House Criminal Justice Committee last Wednesday.

House Bill 1886 would allow vehicles used to evade arrest to be seized by authorities and subject to forfeiture in accordance with existing state law.

“It’s important that we do everything we can to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe,” State Rep. John Gillespie, R-Memphis, said. “This legislation sends a strong message not to flee from police, and will hopefully make individuals think twice before doing so.”

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Only Peace Officer Standards and Training-certified or state-commissioned law enforcement officers would be authorized to seize a vehicle, according to the bill. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security would be responsible for conducting the forfeiture proceeding of any seized property.

Evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle is already a Class E felony punishable by a minimum 30 days in jail, according to state law. Anyone found guilty of the offence is also required to have their driver’s license suspended for a minimum of six months. House Bill 1886 now moves to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee for consideration. More information about the legislation can be found here.

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