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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16555
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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can my vehicle be siezed as a fine for dui

Customer Question

can my vehicle be siezed as a fine for dui? There was no accident involved and I have no prior for DUI
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

When someone has been arrested for DUI in the state of California the state does have the authority to temporarily impound the car or it can seize the car and initiate forfeiture proceedings. The latter would involve the hiring of a civil lawyer and a great deal of aggravation and expense to try to keep the car from being sold out from under you. The state can do this whenever the particular property is either the fruit or instumentality of a crime.

The fact that they have the power to do this, however, does not mean that it is likely. Generally, if they are going to impound the vehicle, they will take it from you at the time of the dui stop. And generally they forfeit after repeated DUI offenses rather than only one. But while the odds would favor you, I cannot give you an all clear. Consider waiting until your case is resolved and your driving privilege reinstated before you did this .
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
since my wife is terminaaly ill and we only have one car, how can they sieze it after the fact?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

What is the present status of the case? How long ago was the DUI? Do you still have your driving privileges?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

What is the present status of the case? How long ago was the DUI? Do you still have your driving privileges?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The arrest was on 8-16-11 by the Cal. Highway Patrol. I am driving on a "PerSe" drivers license. I have a DMV phone hearing on 9-29-11.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The arrest was on 8-16-11 by the Cal. Highway Patrol. I am driving on a "PerSe" drivers license. I have a DMV phone hearing on 9-29-11. Myfirst appearance date is 11-8-11. The charges are misdemeanor

 

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thanks for clarifying.

What you're saying is that you are fighting the case against you. Your case is still open, and your license is in effect but whether it will remain so will be determined at the administrative hearing on 9/29. If you prevail at the hearing, you still have the case itself before you are out of the woods. You can still lose your license as part of the DUI conviction should that portion of the case turn out unsuccessful.

California has the right to institute forfeiture of your vehicle at any time after you have used it to commit a criminal offense. They do this for two reasons: the first is that people who lose their licenses all too often continue to drive. The second is that asset forfeiture makes the county a great deal of money which, in times like these, they find most welcome.

My research indicates that California is more likely to impound a car temporarily than to go after a forfeit. But my point is they can do the latter. I have no particular reason to believe that they will right now. But with both the administrative and the criminal matter still ahead of you and suspension still a possibility, I have no reason to believe that they won't.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
You practice law in New York, is that correct? I think I need to talk with a California Lawyer
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Yes, I do practice law in New York. And while asset forfeiture happens on a state and Federal level across the entire country, I will certainly opt out so that you can talk to a California attorney.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you

 

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

I'm responding to you only so that the thread will unlock. Please do not reply to this until the next expert takes over. Even by just saying "thank you" you will cause this thread to lock out other experts.

Good luck!

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