Vehicle Forfeiture After a DWI Charge in Minnesota

In Minnesota, driving while impaired, commonly referred to as DWI, is defined under Minnesota Statutes § 169A.20. According to this statute, individuals cannot operate or be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled or intoxicating substance, or if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more. One of the consequences of a DWI conviction is vehicle forfeiture, meaning individuals may face the loss of their vehicle as a penalty for their offense.

Vehicle forfeiture is a civil issue separate from criminal charges, meaning that the individual must go through two distinct processes to challenge the sanctions associated with a DWI. Individuals must file a request with the court to seek the return of seized property. This process can be complex and challenging, so seeking legal representation is a good idea.

At Brockton D. Hunter P.A., we handle forfeiture cases, including those involving DWIs. To contact our Minneapolis team, please call (612) 979-1112.

Implications and Consequences of Vehicle Forfeiture

Minnesota Statutes § 169A.63 covers vehicle forfeiture. The statute allows law enforcement agencies to seize a motor vehicle used as part of a designated offense.

A vehicle may be forfeited as part of a DWI case in a couple of situations:

  • First-degree DWI charge. The offense involves committing a fourth or subsequent DWI violation, being previously convicted of felony DWI, or being previously convicted of felony criminal vehicular homicide and injury.
  • Multiple DWIs. If an individual commits a third DWI offense, their vehicle may also be subject to forfeiture.

The vehicle may only be forfeited if the individual is convicted of the offense.

The implications and consequences for a forfeited vehicle can be significant. Once seized, the law enforcement agency may sell or retain the car for official use if the owner does not successfully request its return. This action can result in the loss of a valuable asset and transportation means for individuals facing DWI-related vehicle forfeiture cases.

The Legal Process of Vehicle Forfeiture

The legal process of vehicle forfeiture involves several crucial steps that individuals facing this situation should understand. The process requires careful attention to timelines and legal procedures.

Steps Involved

The process typically begins with the individual receiving a Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit from law enforcement agencies. This letter informs the individual that their vehicle has been seized and the agency intends to forfeit it.

Upon receiving the notice, the individual has 60 days from being served to file the necessary forms with the court to request the return of their vehicle. Failing to meet this deadline can result in the forfeiture of the car without further recourse.

The court will schedule a forfeiture hearing. This hearing allows the individual to present their case and challenge the forfeiture of their vehicle.

Rights and Options

Individuals have the right to legal representation throughout the forfeiture process. Seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney can be invaluable in understanding one's rights, navigating the legal procedures, and advocating effectively for the return of the seized vehicle.

Securing Legal Representation for Forfeiture Cases

Facing vehicle forfeiture after a DWI charge in Minnesota can be daunting and complex. As such, seeking assistance from a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial to navigating this challenging legal terrain. A lawyer can assess the circumstances of the case, challenge the forfeiture on legal grounds, and represent clients at forfeiture hearings to present compelling arguments in support of retaining their vehicles.

If you or someone you know faces vehicle forfeiture after a DWI charge, contact Brockton D. Hunter P.A. at (612) 979-1112. We provide legal representation in Minneapolis.