DWI vehicle forfeiture – what does this mean in Minnesota?

Under current Minnesota DWI law, police can seize and forfeit the vehicle you were driving when arrested for DUI/DWI. If certain legal factors are met, the police will provide you with a Notice of Vehicle Forfeiture and seize your car. The legal right, title, and interest in the vehicle immediately goes to the police. You must challenge the forfeiture within the statutory mandated timeline or you could lose your opportunity to get your vehicle back. Under certain circumstances your car can be seized without conviction or even if it is your first time being stopped for a DWI.

When is my vehicle subject to forfeiture? Your vehicle is subject to forfeiture if it was used in the act of doing, or the commission of a designated offense, or the vehicle was used in conduct resulting in a designated offense. The list of designated offenses are:

(1) First Degree DWI – a First Degree DWI is a DWI with three aggravating factors in the past 10 years; a person has been previously convicted of a felony DWI, or previously convicted of a felony for criminal vehicular homicide or injury.

(2) Second Degree DWI – a Second Degree DWI is a DWI with two or more aggravating factors or a person is cited for test refusal and has one aggravating factor at the time of the offense.

(3) DWI by a person whose driver license or privileges have been canceled due to driving actions threatening, or inimical to public safety and not reinstated.

(4) DWI by a person who has a restricted license that does not allow the consumption of any alcohol.

Police may also forfeit your vehicle if you receive a license revocation for DWI/DUI, test refusal or a commercial driver’s license disqualification resulting from a DWI within 10 years of the first of two or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents.

DWI’s can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming. If you or a family member has had their vehicle seized and it is subject to forfeiture, call Eric Olson. He has more than 15 years of experience in dealing with these issues and he can guide you through these difficult times.