In certain ways, it can be said that Minnesota has taken a zero tolerance position when it comes to DWI. If you are charged with DWI in this state, you may face numerous and potentially grave sanctions and penalties, including significant time behind bars, hefty fines and penalties, motor vehicle forfeiture, license plate impoundment, and a revocation of your driver’s license.
While many of the individuals who face DWI charges have a basic understanding of the penalties that the court may impose, there are those who are not as familiar with the law, particularly the civil or administrative penalties related to DWI cases.
Property forfeiture is not a new penalty to the criminal justice system. Over the past 20 years, the federal government and numerous states throughout the country have enacted various forms of forfeiture laws. An individual charged with a crime may face forfeiture of any property associated with his or her criminal activity, such as real estate or motor vehicles. Minnesota’s laws on motor vehicle forfeiture, therefore, are a natural result of the other kinds of criminal forfeiture statutes that are already in effect.
An experienced DWI lawyer will be able to tell an individual charged with DWI that facing motor vehicle forfeiture is a possible if he or she is dealing with a driver’s license revocation, or a third DWI charge in ten years. A driver may also face motor vehicle forfeiture for a first or second time DWI charge or license revocation, if there are any aggravating factors present.
According to Minnesota’s motor vehicle forfeiture law, a law enforcement officer has legal authority to seize a DWI suspect’s motor vehicle at the time of the arrest. Following the seizure, the prosecuting attorney or agent will then serve a notice of intent to seek a forfeiture of the motor vehicle.
If you have been served with a notice of intent to forfeit your motor vehicle due to a DWI arrest, it is important to note that you have a right to judicial determination by a judge regarding whether your vehicle should or should not be forfeited. You must, however, file a challenge to the forfeiture within a specific period of time from the date you were served the notice of intent. If a challenge is not made within the required time period, then you waive your right to judicial determination of the forfeiture.
The only vehicle subject to forfeiture is the one driven by the person suspected of DWI. Any other vehicle owned by the driver is not subject to forfeiture.
Factors that can Result in Motor Vehicle Forfeiture
In Minnesota, you may possibly face vehicle forfeiture under the following circumstances:
- Being convicted of DWI while aggravating factors are present, thus comprising a first or second degree DWI
- Being convicted of DWI and your Minnesota driving privileges were formerly cancelled as IPS or being inimical to public safety
- Being convicted of DWI, and, at the time of the offense, your Minnesota driver’s license has a B card restriction or restriction against the consumption or use of any controlled or alcoholic substance
Call our Minneapolis DUI Attorneys
If you are facing a DWI charge, contact an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer can provide you with the information needed to fully understand Minnesota’s DWI and motor vehicle forfeiture laws. An attorney will also ensure that your rights and best interests at all times.
Attorney Douglas T. Kans and his Minneapolis DWI defense firm have been protecting the rights of those accused of alcohol related driving offenses for over 18 years. They have successfully litigated and defended thousands of drunk driving related offenses. Call us for a free case review with regard to your situation.