Minnesota Vehicle Forfeiture Laws: Ignition Interlock Exception

Minnesota law allows the state to take a vehicle via forfeiture when a car is used to commit certain DWI crimes. This means that vehicle seizure is a potential consequence of a second-degree (a third DWI in ten years or a second DWI in ten-years with a breath test at or over 0.16 blood-alcohol level or test refusal) or first-degree (felony-level) DWI. The law establishes specific timeframes for filing appropriate paperwork with the court, so it is important to work with a Minnesota criminal defense attorney familiar with the law.

If your vehicle has been seized in connection with a DWI arrest, you are in luck! A new Minnesota statute provides an exception that allows vehicle owners to keep their vehicles if they install ignition interlock. Ignition interlock is a blood alcohol measurement machine that can be installed in one’s vehicle. The driver blows into the machine in order to start the vehicle and then periodically while driving. The car will not start if alcohol is detected. Although there is a cost to use the program, ignition interlock gives those with revoked licenses an option to drive sooner than they otherwise might, and under the new statute, an opportunity to prevent permanent forfeiture of a vehicle.

The forfeiting agency (the state, county, city, etc.) may require the vehicle owner give security such as a bond or pay cash in the amount of the vehicle’s value in order to release the car. If the security is paid in cash, the money will be returned to the owner once the required interlock period ends (the amount of time depends on a number of factors including the severity of the offense and number of prior offenses).

Defend Yourself by Hiring an Experienced Vehicle Forfeiture Attorney

If you have been charged with a DWI and/or your vehicle has been forfeited in Minnesota, you need the help of an experienced vehicle forfeiture attorney. The criminal defense lawyers at Sieben Edmunds Miller will help you navigate both the criminal and administrative court systems and fight for a fair outcome. We make sure your rights are protected and that justice is served. Contact us today at (651) 323-2464.