Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the more common criminal offenses that people get arrested for in Minnesota. It is also one of the most misunderstood criminal charges. People often think that a DWI is a minor infraction, especially if there wasn’t a crash but instead just a traffic stop involved.
However, a DWI conviction or a guilty plea can carry relatively significant penalties. Depending on your previous criminal and driving record, your consequences might include jail time, fines and the loss of your license.
Additionally, a DWI can lead to major court costs, fines and future insurance expenses. There is another way that DWI convictions can impact your financial stability. In some cases, the state of Minnesota may take your vehicle without compensating you for it.
How does vehicle forfeiture work in Minnesota?
The law in Minnesota allows the state to seize property involved in the commission of a crime. Asset forfeiture as a policy aims to deter people from criminal behavior by creating serious financial consequences.
Obviously, the vehicle you drove at the time of your arrest was crucial to the ability to drive while under the influence. Given that the vehicle was used in the commission of a crime, you could face the seizure of your vehicle in certain situations. Usually, your vehicle is only vulnerable to forfeiture in specific situations.
DWI cases where your vehicle could be vulnerable usually have aggravating factors. A third or fourth DWI arrest, as well as a third refusal to take a breath test during a DWI traffic stop, could lead to the loss of your vehicle. The same is true for second DWI offenses when there was a child in the vehicle or your blood alcohol concentration was very high. Finally, if you get arrested for a DWI while driving on a suspended license, you could lose your vehicle.
Losing your vehicle is just one more reason to fight back against the DWI
The common assumption that a DWI isn’t a serious offense inspires some people to plead guilty or to possibly represent themselves in court, both of which can prove to be a major mistake. If you have previous DWI convictions or other aggravating factors at the time of your arrest, the increased penalties you face, including the potential to lose your vehicle, may be a good reason to consider a more robust defense to this current DWI charge.