In Minnesota, certain DWI offenses can result in license plate impoundment. People whose license plates have been impounded have the option to purchase “Special Registration Plates,” which are more commonly referred to as “Whiskey Plates.”
These plates must bear a special series of number or letters—beginning with the letter “W”—so they may be easily recognized by traffic law enforcement officers.
These plates make a vehicle much easier for police officers to identify and are more likely to give an officer reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over.
Plate impoundment can occur if any of the following conditions are involved in a DUI arrest:
- A prior DWI within the last 10 years;
- A BAC level of .16 or higher;
- A minor 16 years or younger was in the vehicle during the DUI arrest; or
- The driver is arrested for the offense of Driving After Cancellation, regardless of whether or not the driver is intoxicated
A vehicle may be subject to license plate impoundment even if the driver is not the owner of the vehicle used in the offense.
Who Qualifies for Whiskey Plates?
According to Minnesota Statute 169A.60 Subd. 13, at any time during the period of an impoundment order, a violator or registered owner of a vehicle may apply to the commissioner for new registration plates. The Commissioner may issue new plates if:
- The violator has a qualified licensed driver whom the violator must identify;
- The violator or registered owner has a limited license issued under section 171.30;
- The registered owner is not the violator and the registered owner has a valid or limited driver’s license;
- A member of the registered owner’s household has a valid driver’s license; or
- The violator has been reissued a valid driver’s license. A violator may not apply for new registration plates until their driver’s license has been reinstated.
New registration plates may not be issued for a vehicle until at least 1 year from the date of the impoundment order. If the owner is the violator, then new registration plates may not be issued until that person has been reissued a valid driver’s license in accordance with chapter 171.
A fee of $50 may be assessed for each vehicle receiving the new plates.
The Commissioner must issue new plates if:
- The impoundment order is rescinded;
- The vehicle is transferred in compliance with Subdivision 14; or
- The vehicle is transferred to a licensed Minnesota automobile dealer, a financial institution that has submitted a repossession affidavit, or a government agency.
There are a number of rules and conditions that apply during the period of license plate impoundment. Violation of these conditions is a crime and may be subject to prosecution. During the effective period of impoundment, it is a crime for a person:
- To fail to comply with the impoundment order;
- To file a false statement under section 169A.60 Subdivision 1, 8, or 14;
- To operate a self-propelled motor vehicle on a street or highway when the vehicle is subject to an impoundment order, unless Special Registration Plates have been issued;
- To fail to notify the commissioner of the impoundment order when requesting new plates;
- Who is subject to a plate impoundment to drive, operate, or be in control of any motor vehicle unless that vehicle has Special Registration Plates and that person is a validly licensed driver; or
- Who is the transferee of a motor vehicle and who has signed a sworn statement under section 169A.60, subdivision 14 to allow the previously registered owner to drive, operate, or be in control of the motor vehicle during the impoundment period.
Violation of these conditions may be charged with a misdemeanor.
DUI Attorney in Edina, MN
Contact one of our Minnesota DWI lawyers today to fight your DWI charge. We offer free initial consultations – 952.224.2277.