If you drive a car in the City of Denver, be careful. One minute you could be driving down Broadway looking around Civic Center Park and the next thing you know your car could be impounded. Want your car back? Sure, says the City of Denver. They’ll be happy to give it back to you so long as you provide the city thousands of your hard earned dollars. This controversial Denver ordinance is called “nuisance abatement” (sometimes mistakenly called Nuisance and Abatement) and it has cost the citizens of Denver millions of dollars over the past few years. The theory behind this ordinance is that the City of Denver is trying to deny “criminals” the use of real or personal property that may further criminal activity, i.e. your car. A public nuisance is defined as any real property or vehicle where criminal activity occurs. This is a civil action; meaning proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not necessary. To make matters worse, innocence is NOT a factor. In the policy statement of the ordinance “The remedies provided…are directed at the property involved without regard to…innocence of those who hold (rights to the property). And “it shall be unlawful for any owner to…fail to prevent, or otherwise let happen, any Class One Nuisance on any property in which they hold any legal interest.” That means even if your case is dismissed the city will still try to make you pay thousands of dollars in the attempt to get your vehicle back. So just what reason can the City of Denver take your car?
Below is a list of “public nuisance” offenses in the City of Denver:
1. Prostitution, 18-7-201, C.R.S.; soliciting for prostitution, 18-7-202, C.R.S.; pandering, 18-7-203, C.R.S.; keeping a place of prostitution, 18-7-204, C.R.S.; or pimping, 18-7-206, C.R.S.;
2. Professional gambling, 18-10-102(8), C.R.S.; maintaining a gambling premises, 18-10-102(5), C.R.S.; or keeping of a gambling device or record, 18-10-102(3) and 18-10-102(7), C.R.S.;
3. Unlawful manufacture, cultivation, growth, production, processing, sale, distribution, storage, use, transportation, or possession of any controlled substance, sections 18-18-102, 18-18-402, 18-18-403, 18-18-404, 18-18-405, 18-18-406, C.R.S.; any imitation controlled substance, sections 18-18-420(3) and 18-18-421, 18-18-422, C.R.S.; or any counterfeit controlled substance, Section 18-18-423, C.R.S. except for simple possession of less than eight (8) ounces of marijuana;
4. Felony or misdemeanor theft by receiving, 18-4-410, C.R.S.;
5. Unlawful manufacture, sale, advertisement, or distribution of drug paraphernalia, sections 18-18-426, 18-18-427, 18-18-429, 18-18-430, C.R.S.;
6. Prostitution of a child, 18-7-401, C.R.S.; soliciting for child prostitution, 18-7-402, C.R.S.; pandering of a child, 18-7-403, C.R.S.; keeping a place of child prostitution, 18-7-404, C.R.S.; pimping of a child, 18-7-405, C.R.S.; or inducement of child prostitution, 18-7-405.5, C.R.S.;
7. Sexual exploitation of children, 18-6-403, C.R.S.;
8. Two (2) or more offenses of disturbing the peace, Denver Revised Municipal Code, section 38-89 within any one-hundred-eighty-day period;
9. Unlawful discharge, possession, carrying, flourishing, concealment, storage, use, or sale of firearms, knives and/or assault weapons, dangerous weapons, or defaced firearms, Denver Revised Municipal Code sections 38-117, 38-119, 38-121, 38-122, and 38-130, and C.R.S. Sections 18-12-102, 18-12-103, 18-12-105, 18-12-106, 18-12-108, 18-12-108.5, or any offense relating to incendiary devices, section 38-126, Denver Revised Municipal Code and C.R.S. section 18-12-109;
10. Any gang-related criminal activity;
11. Any drive-by crime, section 16-13-301, C.R.S.;
12. Three (3) or more offenses within any one-year period of selling, serving, giving away, disposing of, exchanging, delivering, or permitting the sale, serving, giving or procuring of any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquor, or fermented malt beverage, to or for any person under lawful age or to a visibly intoxicated person, as prohibited by C.R.S. section 12-47-901(1)(a) et seq., as amended. Each incident, to be counted as an offense within the meaning of this section, must occur on separate dates and rely on discrete facts; or
13. The sale at retail of any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquors, or fermented malt beverages in sealed containers, or the manufacture, sale, or possession for sale of any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquors, without holding a valid license in full force and effect to do so under title 12, article 47, C.R.S., as prohibited by C.R.S. 12-47-901(1)(f) and (g);
14. The unlawful transportation or storage of any property that is the subject of a felony theft, misdemeanor theft, or theft by receiving under title 18, C.R.S.;
15. The storage or concealment of weapons or tools used in the commission of crimes of violence, C.R.S. section 16-11-309, drive-by offenses, C.R.S. section 16-13-301, or any offense in paragraph 9. above;
16. Vehicular eluding, C.R.S. section 18-9-116.5, or eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, C.R.S. section 42-4-1413;
17. Speed contests, C.R.S. section 42-4-1105;
18. Habitual traffic offenders, C.R.S. sections 42-2-202, 42-2-206;
19. Sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults, C.R.S. sections 18-2-101, 18-3-402, 18-3-404, 18-3-405, 18-3-405.3, 18-3-405.5; or
20. Indecent exposure, C.R.S. section 18-7-302.
21. Keeping, maintaining, controlling, renting, or making available property for unlawful distribution or manufacture of controlled substances, C.R.S. § 18-18-411; or the unlawful possession of materials to make amphetamine and methamphetamine, C.R.S. § 18-18-412.5; or, the unlawful sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances, C.R.S. § 18-18-412.7; or possession of one (1) or more chemicals or supplies or equipment with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, C.R.S. § 18-18-405; the unlawful cultivation, manufacturing, sale, offer for sale, or distribution of medical marijuana without a license, article XII, chapter 24, D.R.M.C.; or the unlawful cultivation, manufacturing, sale, offer for sale, or distribution of retail marijuana without a license, article V, chapter 6, D.R.M.C.; or
21.1. Keeping, maintaining, controlling, renting or making available property for the unlawful operation of a medical marijuana dispensary without a license, article XI, chapter 24, D.R.M.C.; or
22. Criminal mischief where the aggregate damage exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), C.R.S. section 18-4-501.
(d) Public nuisance, Class two: any parcel of real property, personal property, or vehicle, on or in which any of the following illegal activities occur, or used to commit, conduct, promote, facilitate, or aid the commission of any of the following illegal activities. For purposes of this section, the illegal activity shall have the same definition as that contained in the pertinent section of the Colorado Revised Statutes or the Denver Revised Municipal Code listed after the activity:
1. Possession of injection devices, section 38-173, Denver Revised Municipal Code;
2. Two (2) or more offenses within any one-hundred-eighty-day period of prohibited noises, section 38-101, Denver Revised Municipal Code.
If you find yourself in this unenjoyable situation where your car has been impounded under Denver’s ridiculous nuisance abatement ordinance you need to contact an experienced attorney that knows how to deal with these matters. Call one of our expert attorneys at Shazam Kianpour & Associates at 720-407-2582. We have negotiated the release of countless numbers of vehicles with the Denver City Attorneys to get our clients back on the road as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more expensive it will be to get your vehicle back so don’t delay. Call us immediately at 720-407-2582.