Mark Giancola Defense Lawyer

Motor Vehicle Forfeitures

Minnesota Motor Vehicle Forfeitures and Drunk Driving

The State of Minnesota does not go easy on drunk drivers. By imposing strict penalties on those who get behind the wheel when intoxicated, Minnesota lawmakers take a zero tolerance stance on drunk driving.

A substantial jail term and large fines are just the beginning. Minnesotans charged with driving under the influence can not only lose their drivers' licenses but their vehicles as well.

Because the penalties of conviction are severe, Minnesotans charged with drunk driving should not delay in retaining the services of a qualified attorney. Mark Giancola has a hard-earned reputation as a skillful Minnesota criminal defense lawyer for people charged with DWI offenses.

Forfeiture Precedent

The concept of criminal forfeiture of property used in committing a crime is not a new one. Over the past two decades, both U.S. states and the federal government have approved such laws, making the seizure of personal property, ranging from vehicles to real estate, a consequence of criminal conviction.

Circumstances of Forfeiture

A Minnesota criminal defense lawyer will explain that the following circumstances can mandate vehicle forfeiture:

  • An individual is convicted of driving while intoxicated with aggravating factors sufficient to require a first or second degree DWI determination

  • A person whose driver's license has already been revoked in result of a previous DWI conviction receives a second or third conviction

  • An individual with a Minnesota driver's license "B card restriction" on alcohol or controlled substance consumption in any amount is convicted of driving while intoxicated

The Forfeiture Process

Minnesota law gives the arresting officer the authority to take possession of the vehicle that a DWI suspect is driving at the time of the arrest. The prosecuting attorney's office will follow up by serving the suspect with a notice of intent to seek the court's approval of vehicle forfeiture.

However, before the judge makes this determination, the suspect has the right to challenge the forfeiture within a specific time period. In the absence of a timely challenge, the judge can conclude the suspect has waived this right and rule that the vehicle be forfeit.

Therefore, anyone arrested in Minnesota for drunk driving should immediately seek the representation of an experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyer, such as Mark Giancola, to ensure full protection of individual rights in a vehicle forfeiture proceeding.

Mark Giancola can clarify the issues and pursue the best line of defense for Minnesotans facing prosecution for DWI.

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