What is a Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit Vehicle?

Was your car taken away because of a DWI, controlled substance case, prostitution charge, fleeing a police officer, or for some other reason? If so, you likely received a Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit Vehicle from the state. Most importantly, you must be aware you have sixty days to challenge your vehicle being taken away. It does not matter if you win your case, if you fail to file the appropriate paperwork with the court to contest your car being taken from you, then you will lose it, unless the prosecution is being extra nice and is just willing to give it back to you.

Currently, there are various defenses you or your attorney can raise if the state did take your car. Even if you are ultimately found guilty of the underlying charge, there are due process arguments to make and innocent owner defenses in some cases.

Most commonly, a person’s car will be forfeited for alcohol-related offenses. A vehicle is subject to forfeiture in First and Second Degree DWI charges, Driving After Cancellation – Inimical to Public Safety, and B Card Violations (no use of alcohol restriction on a person’s driver’s license). Significantly, law enforcement forfeits your vehicle for just being charged with one of the above offenses, which makes challenging them taking your car away even more important.

Another growing trend, is the state taking away a person’s car being for a controlled substance crime. If drugs are found on you, or in your vehicle, and you are later charged with possession of a controlled substance or intent to sell, then law enforcement may decide to forfeit your vehicle. Additionally, your car may be taken form you in solicitation of prostitute cases and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle. The same general procedures apply in contesting these forfeitures. The most important thing to decide is whether you are going to file a petition for judicial review, or administrative review, within sixty days of receiving the Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit Vehicle. Most commonly, lawyers will file a petition for judicial review in MN district court.

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