Motor Vehicle Forfeitures & Drunk Driving

In many ways it can be said that the State of Minnesota has elected to take a zero tolerance position when it comes to people who drive while intoxicated. If you have been charged with a DWI you face a variety of different and potentially very serious sanctions and penalties. These can include:

  • Significant jail time
  • Large penalties
  • Loss of your driver’s license
  • Motor vehicle forfeiture
  • License plate impoundment

If you have found that you are facing motor vehicle forfeiture as the result of a driving while intoxicated charge, you need to retain the services of an experienced drunk driving attorney in Minneapolis that has a proven track record for effectively representing people in these types of cases. You need the professional legal assistance and representation of William L. Walker, who has earned the respect of fellow colleagues, prosecutors, and judges throughout the State of Minnesota.

While many people who are facing DWI charges understand at least some of the basics associated with the penalties a court can impose, some people are not as familiar with what are known as administrative or civil penalties that are part of driving while intoxicated cases. Indeed, you may even be surprised to have learned that you are facing motor vehicle forfeiture as the result of your case.

Property forfeiture is not new to the criminal justice system. During the past twenty years the various states in the U.S. and the federal government have enacted different types of forfeiture laws. For example, when an individual has been charged with a drug crime, or a number of other types of crimes, he or she can face the forfeiture of any property that can be deemed to be associated with the criminal activity. These forfeitures have included everything from motor vehicles to real estate. On many levels the Minnesota motor vehicle forfeiture law is a natural outgrowth of these other types of criminal forfeiture statues that are in place today.

A professional DWI lawyer, generally speaking, will tell you that a person charged with DWI can face motor vehicle forfeiture in a situation in which he or she faces a driver’s license revocation or a driving while intoxicated charge for the third time in a ten year period. There are also instances in which a person can face motor vehicle forfeiture for a first or second time license revocation or DWI charge, if aggravating factors are deemed to exist.

Pursuant to the Minnesota motor vehicle forfeiture law, a law enforcement officer actually has the legal authority to seize the motor vehicle of a driver suspected of DWI at the time of the arrest. Following the seizure itself, the prosecuting attorney or its agent will serve notice of intent to seek a forfeiture of the motor vehicle.

It is very important to understand that if you have been serviced with a notice of intent to forfeit your motor vehicle as a result of a DWI arrest, you have a right to judicial determination by a district court judge as to whether your vehicle should, in fact, be forfeited. If a driver would like to have a judicial determination, he or she must file a challenge to the forfeiture within a specified period of time from the date he or she was served with the notice of intent to forfeit the motor vehicle. If such a challenge is not made within the statutorily required period, the driver or owner can be deemed to have waived their right to a judicial determination of the forfeiture. That’s why it is imperative that you contact a Minnesota criminal lawyer immediately after being arrested for a DWI offense to review all of your rights.

Understanding the fact that you do have certain rights associated with motor vehicle forfeiture, including the right to have the proceedings take place in court, it is crucial that you engage the services of a qualified and experienced Minneapolis DWI attorney as soon as possible. You really will want to retain an attorney like William L. Walker to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you are in the best possible position to protect yourself against the loss of your vehicle. You should not waste any time in retaining the services of a drunk driving lawyer. You need to have an attorney at your side, protecting your rights and inte4rests, as soon as possible when you are facing DWI charges and possible motor vehicle forfeiture.

Only the vehicle that was driven by the person suspected of driving while intoxicated is subject to forfeiture. Any other vehicle that might be owned by the driver is not subject to being forfeited.

Again, it is important to understand that you can face vehicle forfeiture under these circumstances:

  • You are convicted of driving while intoxicated offense while having aggravating factors present constituting a second or first degree DWI.
  • You are convicted of driving while intoxicated and your Minnesota driving privileges were previously canceled as inimical to public safety.
  • You are convicted of driving while intoxicated and at the time of the offense your Minnesota driver’s license had a restriction against the use or consumption of any amount of alcohol or controlled substance, otherwise known as a B card restriction.

As has already been mentioned, a criminal defense lawyer can specifically provide you the information that you will require to fully understand what you are facing when it comes to the motor vehicle forfeiture laws in Minnesota.

If you are facing a driving while intoxicated charge, or of you are facing a possible forfeiture of your vehicle, you will want to contact William L. Walker, an experienced and committed DWI lawyer today. Attorney Walker stands ready to fight for your rights, including doing everything possible to protect you from the loss of your car or truck as the result of a DWI charge.

Contact Us

For more information on motor vehicle forfeitures and drunk driving, or to discuss your case with our experienced and professional staff, call Walker Law Office, P.A. at (612) 821-0094, (214) 550-3333 or email