Sometimes, drunk drivers affect those who are not even behind the wheel, like those who lend them vehicles. In cases where someone is falsely accused of drunk driving, that vehicle can still be impounded, resulting in aggravation as the vehicle is not returned to the rightful owner.
Fortunately, lawmakers in Minnesota considered the situation and have made changes that make it easier for people who have lent their vehicles out to get them back if the driver was arrested for drunk driving. The new law gives the citizens the right to go to court to plead the case before the judge. The judge then has a right to return the property to the owner if he or she so chooses.
Why does a law like this matter? Imagine being wrongfully accused of drinking and driving, but on top of that, the vehicle you borrowed from your parents is taken away. Now you're embarrassed and your family has lost its primary, or only, vehicle. It's not just inconvenient; it could mean missing work, school and other engagements.
In 2015, Minnesotans had to forfeit 6,722 vehicles. If even a third of those came from owners who did not know their vehicles had been used or were involved in cases where a person was falsely accused of drinking and driving, that's a large number of people affected negatively. The new law has the potential to change that, helping people get on with their lives when they haven't committed a crime. If this kind of situation is affecting your family, consider speaking with your attorney about your right to a defense and how to explain your actions in court.
Source: Duluth News Tribune, "New MN law limits car forfeiture after drunk driving convictions," accessed May 03, 2017