New Ulm, MN- Each state has different laws on the books to help combat repeat drunk driving. Over the years the consequences for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have gotten tougher and more costly. For repeat or felony DWI offenders, the cost of a conviction included numerous consequence and possibly the forfeiture of your vehicle. And according to data, more and more DWI offenders are facing vehicle forfeiture.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are allowed to confiscate property of criminal offenders if that property can be used in the commission of a crime. The reasoning is that seizing a criminal offender’s property, such as guns or money, is way to prevent crime. But in Minnesota civil forfeiture is a means of preventing repeat drunk driving.
In Minnesota, a person convicted of a repeat drunk driving offense faces a potential jail sentence, suspension of their license and a host of costly fines and penalties. If a person has been charged with a second or subsequent DWI within the 10 year look back period. First-time DWI offenders can also forfeit their vehicle if their arrest entailed aggravating factors, such a blood alcohol content over .20. If you have been charged with a DWI, it is imperative you retain a Minnesota DWI attorney to take charge of your case.
While civil forfeiture is viewed as a means to stop repeat drunk drivers and serious offenders, there is some concern that as seizures increase, the civil rights of some are being trampled on.
According to the Jamestown Sun, vehicle forfeitures resulting from repeat DWI offenses made up 45 percent of the state’s overall civil forfeitures, accounting for 3,128 DWI forfeitures. That represents an increase over 2011, when law enforcement seized 2,785 vehicles from repeat DWI offenders.
Vehicle forfeiture is not mandatory and it is often left up to the discretion of prosecutors to file for forfeiture in civil court upon the DWI offenders conviction. Once a vehicle is seized, it is auctioned off and a portion of the proceeds go to local law enforcement agencies.
In an interview with the Jamestown Sun, Ben Feist, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, said there is “an inherent conflict” with “policing for profit.”
A person charged with their first DWI or subsequent offenses have a lot to lose; they could lose their freedom, their driving privileges, and in some cases their vehicle. This can place a huge financial burden on a person can have an immense negative impact on their lives.
Avoiding a DWI conviction is possible, but the person facing this charge needs the advice of someone well-versed in the state’s DWI laws. If you have been charged with a DWI in New Ulm or Mankota, the Minnesota DWI attorneys at Kennedy & Kennedy will use their knowledge and expertise to build a vigorous defense on your behalf.