Will My License Plates Or Vehicle Be Impounded After A DWI Arrest In Minnesota?

driving car

Vehicle Impoundment Versus License Plate Impoundment

  • Did you know that your driver’s license isn’t the only thing that can be suspended after a DWI arrest?
  • Did you know that your license plates and even your car can be impounded?
  • A DWI changes your life in many ways and a lack of transportation immediately affects everything. A serious and creative defense attorney is essential to combat this problem.

Minnesota concentrates on LPI, or License Plate Impoundment, for the majority of their DWI/OWI cases. Of course, the government does have the right to impound your actual vehicle if they believe that you will continue to try and drive your car without a license plate or if they believe a crime was committed with the car.

Removal of the actual vehicle does stop someone who has a history of DWI from driving that particular vehicle, but there are several reasons why the impoundment of the actual vehicle is not prudent.

  • Impounding actual vehicles take up a lot of space and demand a lot of paperwork.
  • Vehicle forfeiture denies access to anyone else who needs to drive the car.
  • Impoundment fees add up tremendously and some can never be repaid. The vehicle could be sold or destroyed.
  • The logistics of car removal are time-consuming, difficult, and expensive for the city.

When a license plate is impounded, as opposed to the entire car, the plate is immediately taken off by the arresting officer and it becomes illegal for the vehicle to be driven on the road. The license plate is destroyed and it becomes your responsibility to have your car moved into a safe place off the road until you can drive it again.

It also becomes your responsibility, or burden, to wait in line at your local DMV to register for new plates when your suspension is over. If you have more than one car, the plates from each vehicle can be impounded. If your name is on your spouse’s car or your child’s car they will be unable to drive those cars as well.

This proves to be an extreme burden on the entire family, who may miss work and school without transportation. A DWI attorney can get them access to their vehicles again.

When Can My License Plate Or Car Be Impounded?

Section 169A.63 of Minnesota Statutes under Vehicle Forfeiture determines that the details of the crime will determine whether your license plates or your actual car will be impounded. A first time DWI can cause you to give up your plates immediately if your BAC is over 2.0, you have a passenger under the age of sixteen, or have previous DWI convictions.

You have thirty days to reclaim the vehicle.

Habitual or seemingly dangerous offenders may have no choice but to give up their entire vehicle if the judge deems that appropriate. Of course, if the authorities believe a crime was committed while using the vehicle, then it will be taken, no matter what.

If the car didn’t belong to you or is used by many people in your family, they must officially petition the court and request the ability to relicense or retrieve the car and drive it. They must prove that they had no knowledge of your impairment with an innocent owner defense constructed by an experienced lawyer specializing in DWIs.

Protect Your Self And Your Family With Anderson Law Firm

Anderson Law Firm, PLLC is here to give you comprehensive and compassionate guidance when you need it most. Remember, you only have thirty days after your arrest to reclaim your car or plates and we can work quickly to help you get them back. You and your family do have rights and your rights deserve to be protected.

Contact us immediately to begin your defense. Call us anytime at (952) 582-2904 or fill out our online contact form. We’re here for you.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.