Minnesota statutes allow the government to forfeit, or take title to, your vehicle if you commit particular types of DWI offenses. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 169A.63 sets out the types of offenses that qualify for vehicle forfeiture. Contrary to popular belief, your vehicle can be forfeited in cases other than when you have two qualifying prior offenses. The statute states that a DWI, combined with any two aggravating factors, can lead to a vehicle forfeiture. Aggravating factors include prior offenses, refusing to test, having a child under 16 in the car, or testing over 0.20 alcohol concentration.
When the government believes that they have a forfeitable offense, they will serve you with a notice of seizure and intent to forfeit. Service of that notice upon you triggers important statutory timelines. To have any hope of saving your vehicle, the forfeiture must be challenged in court within 60 days. There are various defenses that can be raised to challenge the forfeiture of your motor vehicle, but the defenses cannot be asserted unless you properly challenge the forfeiture in court.
A Demand for Judicial Determination of the forfeiture of your motor vehicle must be filed with the court and served on the prosecuting attorney and law enforcement agency. Then the government cannot take your car unless they meet certain requirements, including convicting you of the qualifying DWI offense.
As you work to fight your DWI case, you should simultaneously work to ensure that the government cannot forfeit your motor vehicle. If the government is trying to forfeit your car, contact Sieben Edmunds PLLC immediately.
Check out our previous DWI Blog Series posts: