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Can My Car be Seized Following the DUI Arrest of Another Driver in Illinois?

A person convicted of a DUI offense can face significant criminal and civil penalties, such as fines, incarceration, and the loss of driving privileges. Shockingly, if a person’s vehicle is used in the commission of a DUI offense, it may result in the loss of the vehicle as well, even if the person did not commit any crime. This was demonstrated recently in Minnesota, when a woman’s car was seized by the police following the arrest of a driver the woman permitted to operate the vehicle. Similarly, under Illinois law, the police may be able to seize a person’s assets following a DUI arrest.  If you were charged with a DUI crime in Illinois or your car was seized following another person’s arrest, you should speak to a skillful Illinois DUI defense attorney to determine your options.

Minnesota’s Seizure of Assets Following DUI Arrests

Reportedly, under Minnesota law, the police have the right to seize a person’s assets and sell them, even if the person was never convicted with a crime. Additionally, the police have the right to keep the proceeds of any sale of the property they seize. While generally, the person whose property is taken at the very least is charged with a criminal offense, it is not necessary under the law, which can lead to alarming results.

For example, police in Minnesota allegedly recently seized a woman’s car following a DWI traffic stop and sold the car at an auction, pursuant to Minnesota’s forfeiture law. Incomprehensibly, however, the woman was not driving at the time of the traffic stop and was not charged with or convicted of any DWI offense. Regardless, the woman, who was able to purchase her car back for $4,000, had to place special license plates on the vehicle to indicate it had previously been involved in a DWI arrest.

Illinois Law Regarding Asset Seizure

Illinois, like Minnesota, allows the police to seize assets, including vehicles, if they are used in the commission of a crime, including DUI offenses. Notably, property may also be taken for an attempt to commit a crime. Additionally, the statute specifically states that the vehicle may be seized if it was used with the owner’s consent and knowledge. As such, similar to Minnesota, a person’s vehicle may be seized following a DUI charge, even if the owner of the vehicle was not the person driving at the time of the alleged offense. The law provides that the owner must be notified of the seizure, however, and sets forth the procedures for attempting to recover possession of the vehicle.

Meet with a Dedicated Illinois Attorney

Under Illinois law, the government can seize a person’s assets in certain circumstances, but that does not mean the person is without recourse. If you were charged with a DUI and lost your car as a result, it is advisable to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to evaluate your rights. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a dedicated attorney with the skills and knowledge needed to help you fight to protect your interests, and he will advocate aggressively in your favor. You can reach Mr. Harvatin through the form online or at 217.525.0520 to set up a meeting.

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