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Category: Criminal Law
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Customer Question

Dear Sirs:
I am not sure what lawer category this would fall into. A document outlining conditions of a loan made by me to an individual has a non-payment condition where failure to repay the loan by a certain date shall result in transfer of ownership, complete and clear, of his automobile. The make, model, and VIN are included in this notarized document. Both of us live in the state of Wisconsin.
Before any of this could take place, the individual was pulled over for a traffic violation in Minnesota and actually ran from the police. Ramsey County, MN took possession of his car and has a warrant for his arrest. He is currently serving time on other charges in St. Croix County, WI and will be transferred to Minnesota next.
Since this happening, the individual is now being sued by Ramsey County, MN with papers stating that forfeiture of the defendent's property (the car) to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department. I have a copy of this documentation received by a Ramsey County Attorney.
Since my documentation is well before Ramsey County's attempt to take ownership of the vehicle, do I have any rights here? I am anticipating trouble on this and perhaps they will say that I owe them various fees, including impound fees, etc. I was going to write a letter, including a copy of the loan agreement, but thought some legal advice was in order first.
Thank you in advance.
David L.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 3 years ago.

William B. Esq. :

Dear Customer, I am sorry to learn of this difficulty with your loan collateral. Your property interest will remain intact, however, you are correct, you will probably be required to pay for impound fees or other fees associated with storing the vehicle by the police department (unless the borrower has some form of payment available to make these payments in addition to his other restitution).

William B. Esq. :

Your lien on the vehicle's title is proper, however, until the date for the turnover of the vehicle, the borrower still has an interest in the vehicle. It is unlikely that a authorities will be interested in a temporary ownership interest of a vehicle they will have to store. Often in situations such as this, the borrower will sign a declaration of default or a document to that effect which will allow title to pass immediately upon signing (since he has no interest in the vehicle), and you will be allowed to negotiate for the return of the vehicle with the police department (again, noting the borrower's limited interest in the vehicle).

William B. Esq. :

Alternatively, if the seized property is a motor vehicle, the owner may regain possession of the vehicle pending determination of the forfeiture action by surrendering the vehicle’s certificate of title to the seizing agency. The agency must notify the Department of Public Safety and any secured party noted on the certificate that this has occurred and must notify them if and when the certificate of title is returned to the owner.Minn. Stat. § 609.531, subd. 5a.

William B. Esq. :

Dear Customer, The above is the statutory clause to recover the vehicle from storage during the pendency of the forefeiture action. While the issues related strictly to your title will apply in the event that the vehicle was taken simply for repayment of debts or obligations, I must apologize, it appears that the issues and the forfeiture statute controlling this matter really belong under our "Criminal Law" expert's heading as some properties taken during the course of criminal investigation or prosecution are subject to the penal code as opposed to the civil code. I am attaching what I believe from your question to be the relevant statute, but I am going to "opt out" and forward your question on to an expert that might be more able to assist you with this matter.

My apologies for the inconvenience, I had an initial misunderstanding of your question, I am certain the next expert will be able to properly address your matter fully.

Expert:  Wendy-Mod replied 3 years ago.
Hi, I am a moderator for this topic. It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Wendy:

Go ahead and cancel out this request.

Thank you,


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