Senator Bill Haine from Alton has pursued a bill that caps police departments from imposing high tow fees against subjects who are charged with many criminal offenses including DUI. The fees had ranged from $100 to $600. After this bill was signed today the maximum fee is now $50.00. Since most police departments don't actually tow vehicles (they call independent tow services) the maximum fee will be $50.00. The impact of this change in fee structure is that police departments won't benefit on the backs of the working public to the extent of up to $200,000 a year. Not only did the municipalities keep one's vehicle from them until the $500.00 fee was paid but it caused many to lose their vehicles if they couldn't afford to pay the administrative tow fee. This single bill will have great impact upon almost every police department in the metro east area. I personally have 8 class actions pending against various municipalities in both Madison and St. Clair Counties for the fees charged.
Hopefully this statute makes clear to municipalities that they cannot profit off the backs of its citizenry by holding their vehicle hostage until a hefty fee is paid. I have heard many stories of people who were charged with a misdemeanor offense and could not afford to retrieve the vehicle. Most of those people lost their cars to the municipalities as they are forfeited after a certain time period. The old way of doing things is clearly wrong. I commend Senator Haine for this law.