Wrongly Accused: Criminal Defense 101

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Can The State Really Take Your Vehicle From You For A DUI?

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When it comes to DUIs, the state's primary concern is keeping intoxicated drivers off the road and it will use any number of tools at its disposal to achieve that goal. One consequence you may face as a result of a DUI charge or conviction is having your vehicle impounded, confiscated or otherwise rendered unusable. Here's what you can do to avoid having the state take your car or truck.

Possible Vehicle Sanctions

There are several types of vehicle sanctions the state can put on you that may inhibit your ability to operate your car. One of the most common is impounding your vehicle. In this scenario, the car is typically towed from the scene of the arrest and taken to a secured storage facility. However, the vehicle can be impounded at any time regardless of how many DUI arrests, charges or convictions you may have on your record.

The impounding is generally not permanent. The police will give you a citation with information on how to retrieve your car or truck, which usually involves paying a fine and towing and storage fees. If you are a repeat offender or there were extenuating circumstances (e.g. you caused an accident), then you may be required to go to court or participate in a driver's education program before you can get your vehicle back.

Vehicle confiscation is another possible outcome of a DUI offense. In this scenario, the state takes the vehicle from the owner and either keeps it for a period time before allowing the owner to take possession of it again. Alternatively, the state may declare the vehicle forfeit and sell it at a public auction.

Although this can occur at any time, the state will generally seize the vehicles of people who have multiple DUI/DWI convictions. For example, Minnesota will confiscate your vehicle if you have 3 DWI offenses within 10 years and a refusal to take a BAC test, have 4 DUIs in 10 years and currently being charged with a felony DUI, or are being charged with a DWI after your license was cancelled.

A third tactic the state may take is to either suspend or revoke your vehicle registration or force you to use specially marked license plates. Generally, the state will only suspend or revoke your car's registration if you are caught driving without insurance, especially if you caused an accident or you have multiple offenses in this area.

The state is more likely to require you to use special license plates or tags identifying you as someone who has multiple DUI offenses. These specialty plates provide police with automatic probable cause to pull you over. So even if you were operating the car in a safe manner, the police can still stop and question you for no reason.

Avoiding Vehicle Sanctions

Having your vehicle taken away or being required to use special plates can have a major impact on your life. It can make it difficult to maintain employment if you don't have a car to get back and forth to work or lead to unwanted interactions with police when you aren't breaking the law.

If you were arrested for a DUI or DWI and are facing charges that may lead to any of these outcomes, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid these consequences. Your first option, or course, is to work with an attorney from a site like http://www.hogankimrey.com to avoid being convicted. This can include getting the charges dropped completely or making a plea deal with the prosecutor for lesser charges and/or punishments.

Another option is to ask the court to let you outfit your car with an ignition interlock device instead of ordering the impounding or seizure of the vehicle. Oftentimes the cost of taking the car or truck outweighs any benefit to the state, so the judge may be more amendable to this punishment.

For more information on preventing the state from taking your vehicle as a result of a DUI charge or conviction, contact an attorney for assistance.