Another potential consequence to a DWI is the loss of your vehicle. The State may seek to retain the vehicle of a driver convicted of a DWI if:
- The new DWI violation occurs within 10 years of 2 or more prior impaired driving convictions; or
- The new DWI violation is the 2nd offense in 10 years and the driver's blood alcohol concentration was greater than .20;
- The new violation occurs with a Blood Alcohol concentration of .20 or more and there is child endangerment (child in the vehicle at the time of offense);
- The new DWI violation is the 2nd offense and there is child endangerment (child in the vehicle at the time of offense);
- The New DWI occurs and the driver's license has been cancelled as inimical to public safety.
This is called a forfeiture action. In a forfeiture the state may retain the vehicle so long as any security interests against the vehicle are satisfied. No payment is made to the owner. In order to forfeit a vehicle the State must be able to demonstrate that the drunk driver is the registered owner of the vehicle or that the owner of the vehicle knew or should have known that the driver intended to use the vehicle unlawfully (while intoxicated or without a valid driver's license).
The defenses to a vehcile forfeiture action are numerous. However, the owner of the vehicle must challenge the forfeitiure within thirty (30) days of receiving a forfeiture notice. There is an innocent owner exception for some owners whose vehicle was being operated by a third party. Additionally, challenges to the stop and arrest may also be valid to challenge the vehicele forfeiture.
Given the short timelines, it is imperative that any vehicle owner contact an attorney experienced in such issues immediately. In many cases, a return of the vehicle with certain stipulations may be negotiated with the government body that is seeking to forfeit the car.
To challenge your Minnesota vehicle forfeiture call (612) 240-8005.