If you are convicted of driving drunk in the state of Minnesota, you may have to forfeit your vehicle. This punishment may seem excessive given the other penalties that already accompany a DWI but the Minnesota Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have both found these laws constitutional. DWI vehicle forfeiture in Minnesota is always a strong possibility.
So, if you are convicted of a DWI in Minnesota, will you always forfeit your vehicle? Not necessarily. Let's take a closer look.
In Minnesota, your vehicle may be seized and forfeited if you:
- Are convicted of first degree or second degree DWI,
- Violate Minnesota Statute 169A.20 which prohibits driving while impaired and,
- Already have had your driving privileges canceled as inimical to public safety and those privileges have not been reinstated or,
- Are charged with any form of DWI and already have your license restricted under Statute 179.09, which prohibits the use of any amount of alcohol or controlled substance.
When can the arresting agency seize your vehicle?
If the arresting agency concludes forfeiture of your vehicle is allowable under the law, they can seize your vehicle immediately and maintain possession of your vehicle throughout pending legal proceedings. You and anyone else who claims ownership of this vehicle will be issued a Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit the vehicle by the arresting agency.
The arresting agency cannot complete a vehicle forfeiture action until you have been convicted of the alleged criminal offense, had your driver's license revoked under the Implied Consent law or both of these things have happened.
What can you do if your vehicle has been forfeited?
If your vehicle has been forfeited, you have options. You have the right to file a Petition for Judicial Determination to review the vehicle forfeiture. You must file this petition within 60 days of receiving the Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit in order for you to be heard by a District Court judge. If you do not, then you have waived your right to this petition. You may also be able to have your vehicle released by posting a bond or surrendering the vehicle's title.
To learn more about your options with vehicle forfeiture and DWI/DUI charges, contact attorney Eric J. Olson.