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DWI Forfeiture Law and Reform Bill in Minnesota DUI, DWI

DWI Forfeiture Law and Reform Bill in Minnesota

1 year ago by Justin M. Schiks
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In some instances, a person with a DWI may have their vehicle seized. This seizure is part of the DWI forfeiture law in Minnesota. Vehicle forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to seize and sell a DWI offender’s auto for official use.


The state’s forfeiture reform bill makes things fairer for people who get their vehicles seized after a DWI.


Previously, people found challenging a vehicle forfeiture to be very expensive. The civil process, in most cases, was more expensive than the car itself.


Moreover, the cost extended to law enforcement agencies that stored and sold forfeited vehicles. These costs were reflected in the administrative charges for the storage and sale of the autos.


Seek guidance on your legal options regarding a forfeiture from a DUI & criminal defense lawyer.


How the Reform Bill Changes DWI Forfeiture


The reform bill changes the former law for DWI forfeiture as follows:


  1. It limits the offenses that lead to DWI forfeiture and focuses primarily on repeat offenders. These offenders include DWI-charged individuals that have a felony DWI or individuals charged with a third DWI in 10 years.
  2. The law provides more protections for innocent owners of autos.
  3. The reform legislation also supports transparency. That’s because the bill requires that the state law enforcement sector and prosecutors record all auto forfeitures and how the sale money is used.
  4. The mandate directs the auditor of the state to perform research on the efficiency of the forfeiture process and the state’s ignition interlock program. This is done to see how the two activities influence or reduce the recurrence of DWI arrests.
  5. In addition, the reform bill removes some of the former filing fees and waives storage costs for individuals and owners who are innocent.


How a Challenge to Forfeiture Works


If you are an innocent owner of a seized vehicle, you can file a challenge forfeiture.


After the filing, the burden is transferred to the prosecuting party. This party must, by law, either return the vehicle or file a forfeiture action with the court.


If a forfeiture action is filed, the court must hold a hearing about the matter within 30 days to address the owner’s claim.


The legislation also restricts certain ignition interlock provisions. Formerly, forfeitures were stayed, and the vehicle could be returned if the driver enrolled in an ignition interlock program.


Currently, DWI forfeiture limits the forfeiture and vehicle return to DWI-convicted drivers with a felony DWI who enroll in an ignition interlock program and complete court-mandated treatment.


If you have been arrested for a first-time DWI in Minnesota, the reform bill keeps you from getting your car seized. For anyone who has a third arrest or felony DWI charge, it’s easier to challenge the seizure and forfeiture of a personal auto.


Contact a Woodbury, MN DWI Defense Attorney Now


To ensure your rights under the current DWI legislation, you should speak to a Woodbury MN DWI Defense Attorney from JS Defense, PA right away. 


Whether you’re charged for a first DWI or need help in fighting a second or third DWI arrest, make sure you have the support of a professional criminal defense attorney. To successfully answer a charge, you’ll require legal assistance. Call: 651-362-9426


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