Having to forfeit your vehicle can be a consequence if you are convicted of driving drunk.
The State of Minnesota can initiate vehicle forfeiture proceedings against vehicles that have been used in connection with certain second degree and first degree DWI offenses, provided specific criteria are met. Although a driver views vehicle forfeitures as additional punishment (recognizing the financial ramifications), the United States Supreme Court as well as the Minnesota Supreme Court have found these laws constitutional. The forfeiture of a vehicle is deemed a “civil collateral” consequence of certain DWI violations.
A vehicle may be forfeited if:
- A driver is convicted of a 1st degree or 2nd degree DWI; or
- A driver violates Minn.Stat. §169A.20 (DWI statute) or an ordinance in conformity with it, and
- The driver's license or driving privileges have been cancelled as inimical to public safety under section 171.04, subdivision 1, clause (10), and not reinstated; or
- The driver's license is subject to restriction under section 171.09 (commissioner's license restrictions), which provides that the person may not use or consume any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance.
A driver whose vehicle is being forfeited does have options. You may be able to have the vehicle released from custody through surrendering the vehicle's title or posting a bond. Minnesota law allows for a driver to file a Petition for Judicial Determination to review the vehicle forfeiture. In order to be heard by a District Court judge, however, you must file the petition within 30 days of being served the notice of seizure and forfeiture. If you do not file within 30 days, you will be deemed to have waived your right to petition for judicial review.
Contact Eric J. Olson to learn more about your options with vehicle forfeiture and DWI / DUI charges.