St. Paul DWI Vehicle Forfeiture Attorney
There are options if your car is seized by the police. Make sure you act quickly.Eric A. Rice
If you get a DWI in Minnesota, one potential consequence is that the police seize your vehicle and may attempt to sell it at auction. This usually occurs in connection with a first-degree DWI or second-degree DWI.
Here are some common questions related to DWI Vehicle Forfeiture:
How do I know if my vehicle will be forfeited?
If the police seek to forfeit your vehicle, you will receive a form called “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit the Vehicle.” This form explains that the police will seize a vehicle and potentially sell it at auction unless you challenge the action.
How can I challenge a DWI forfeiture?
Unlike the criminal component of a DWI, the forfeiture is deemed a civil proceeding. In order to challenge the forfeiture, you need to file for judicial review of the forfeiture within 60 days of receiving the notice stating that the vehicle will be forfeited. You start this process by filing a petition in district court or conciliation court. The process must be carefully followed, however, or else you will not be able to challenge the forfeiture in court.
Can the police forfeit someone else’s car? What if I am an innocent owner?
Minnesota’s DWI laws allow the police to sell a car, even if it is owned by someone other than the defendant. However, if the owner is different than the defendant, they may be able to assert the innocent owner defense. The innocent owner defense basically allows someone who did not know that the defendant would commit a DWI and had no reason to know that the defendant would commit a DWI to get the vehicle back from the police. However, the innocent owner must still file for judicial review within 60 days to preserve their opportunity for a hearing. Otherwise, the forfeiture may proceed.
What if I still owe money on the car that is being forfeited?
If you still owe money on the car, the police are typically required to pay the bank or lender before keeping any additional proceeds. Because of this, a defendant may lose the equity in the vehicle, but they are rarely responsible for paying additional money to the bank or lender.
Find Out What Your Options Are
Many other questions exist concerning DWI forfeitures, such as How does my criminal case affect the forfeiture? What if the police improperly stopped me? What if the car is co-owned between a defendant someone else?
DWI forfeitures are a very complex process, and the requirements must be followed carefully. If you do not properly follow procedure, then it is likely that you lose your car. Because of the risk involved in the process, it is important to consult with an experienced DWI attorney. St. Paul DWI attorney Eric Rice offers free consultations to discuss your matter. You can set up a free meeting by calling (651) 998-9660 for a free consultation with no obligations.