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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=12840
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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 22, 2013 01:29 PM
From: Representative Kate Harper
To: All House members
Subject: Making False Compartment With Intent to Commit a Criminal Offense - Former HB 1521
 
In the near future, I plan on reintroducing former HB 1521 which creates a new provision entitled Unlawful False or Secret Compartment in Title 18 (Crimes Code) and creates a new provision in Title 42 (Judicial Code) providing for forfeiture of vehicles by those with the intent to commit a criminal offense with unlawful false or secret compartments.

Under current law it is not a crime to possess, own or design a vehicle with concealed compartments. These compartments can be used to avoid complying with multiple state laws including drug smuggling and avoiding taxes on cigarettes. A constituent in law enforcement suggested this to me.

This new offense will make it a crime for any person who, acting with an unlawful purpose knowingly owns, operates or possesses a motor vehicle which contains a false or secret compartment with the intent to store, conceal, camouflage, hide, smuggle, transport or prevent discovery of a person, controlled substance, illegal weapon or other contraband within the false compartment. A violation of this section is graded as a first degree misdemeanor.

Additionally, any person who, acting with an unlawful purpose knowingly designs, assembles, constructs, builds, alters, fabricates, attaches, fortifies, installs, places, causes to be placed or maintains a false compartment in a motor vehicle with the intent to store, conceal, camouflage, hide, smuggle, transport or prevent discovery of a person, controlled substance, firearm, weapon or other contraband within the false compartment commits a second degree misdemeanor.

A significant part of this bill requires the forfeiture of the vehicle with concealed compartments by a person who is convicted of this crime because he had the intention of using the vehicle for unlawful purposes.

In addition to any penalty associated with the violations listed above, any individual who is convicted under this section will also be subject to a license suspension of 1 year for a first offense and 2 years for a second or subsequent offense. This license suspension also includes CDL licenses.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

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Introduced as HB1537