Under Minnesota DWI law, a vehicle used in the course of various DWI offenses may have its license plates impounded. Plate impoundment is an administrative sanction, meaning it can be imposed quickly after the DWI arrest. Impoundment occurs at the time of the arrest if law enforcement revokes an eligible person’s driving privileges because the person failed or refuses to take a blood alcohol concentration test.
A Minnesota drunk driver’s car is subject to license plate impoundment if any of the following factors are present:
- The offender has a prior DWI violation within the past 10 years
- The drunk driver has a blood alcohol concentration in excess of .16
- The current Minnesota DWI occurs while a minor 16 years of age or younger is in the vehicle
- The driver is arrested for the offense of Driving After Cancellation, regardless of whether the driver is intoxicated or notAs a direct result of a Minnesota DWI offense, many different vehicles may be subject to plate impoundment, including:
- The vehicle used in the current offense, even if the offender does not own the vehicle
- A vehicle owned, registered, or leased individually in the name of the offender or jointly in the name of the offender and another person
Even if a vehicle has its plates administratively impounded, it may be shown that the vehicle is not subject to plate impoundment. Vehicles that have been reported stolen or destroyed prior to the plate impoundment order are not subject to license plate impoundment. Likewise, if a vehicle is loaned to a validly licensed driver who commits a Minnesota DWI offense in the vehicle, then the vehicle is not subject to plate impoundment.
A person who has received a license plate impoundment notice may petition a court for judicial review of their license plate impoundment. This petition must be filed within 30 days of the impoundment notice. Minnesota DWI law requires the petition to state the specific grounds upon which recession of the impoundment is sought. It is important to have a Minnesota drunk driving lawyer to guide you through this complex process.
In Minnesota, the state can immediately seize your vehicle if they allege it was employed in connection with a second degree DWI or felony DWI. If the state wishes to seize your vehicle due to a DWI, the state must provide you notice of their intention to forfeit the vehicle. Minnesota DWI laws provide that the forfeiture of the vehicle is presumed, and can happen administratively unless the drunk driver takes action to prevent it. Should a Minnesota DWI offender wish to stop the forfeiture, they must file a judicial demand for forfeiture within 30 days of receiving the state’s notice.
Minnesota Defense Attorney
Other crimes like Minnesota prostitution, drug, and firearm offenses can lead to vehicle forfeitures as well. If you wish to prevent the forfeiture of your vehicle as a result of its use in connection with one of these crimes, you must file a petition for judicial review within 60 days of receiving notice of the state’s intent to forfeit the vehicle.
There are many legal intricacies involved with vehicle forfeitures in Minnesota. Simply because the state gives notice that they intend to forfeit a vehicle does not mean they will get to keep the vehicle. It is important to have an experienced Minnesota DWI lawyer examine your case immediately upon receiving notice of the state’s intent to forfeit your vehicle.