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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20400
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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How to legally confiscate a vehicle belonging to an aging parant

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How to legally confiscate a vehicle belonging to an aging parant who should not be driving?

Thank you for your question. Are you asking how you can ensure that a parent is not able to drive when they are no long competent to do so safely? If so, can you tell me if the parent if the only person on the title to the vehicle? Have you spoken to their doctor about reporting them to the DMV based on their medical or mental issues? What sort of issues are contributing to their unsafe driving? For example diabetes, heart, Alzheimer's? I assume conversations with them about this have been fruitless, is that correct?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My father (88 yrs old) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 5 years ago but has passed his drivers exam since then, but about one year ago he failed to pass his written exam for driver liscense renewal. I found out he has been driving anyway and telling others that other people were driving him around in his car. The police say they cannot do anything unless they catch him in the act. I need to stop him before he hurts himself or others!

Hello again and thank you for the information. So, I assume from what you are saying that your father does not have a driver license and also, I assume, no longer has insurance. If that is the case, I am not sure why the DMV has not confiscated his license plates. Can you tell me what you know about that and if you have spoken to them?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I asked the police what the MN law was concerning license plates when a vehicle is sold, and they said it is up to the owner to either sell the vehicle with plates or to keep the plates (i.e. personalized plates). Father says he still has insurance on the vehicle. I believe the Dr who diagnosed him with Alzheimer's recommended he not drive. Since that was five years past, would that still be valid in dealing with MN DMV?

Thank you for your reply, however, I am a bit confused. I thought you said in your follow up reply that your father had not passed his most recent driver's test. So, I assumed he no longer had a driver license. If that is the case, then he cannot have insurance on his vehicle if they know about this. If they don't know, then that is where you need to start. In other words, you need to contact his insurance company and let them know he is driving a vehicle without a license. They in turn will cancel his insurance and inform the State. At that point, the State will direct him to turn in his license plates.

If I have understood and he still has his driver's license, then you need to speak to his doctor about sending an unsafe driver report to the DMV. They will then inform your father that his DL is suspended and he will have to go through an administrative hearing and complete driving test, etc., to get it back. Again, if he does not have a valid DL, he cannot be a named insured on the vehicle and therefore cannot have license plates or drive the vehicle.

In the meantime, although it is an extreme step, someone might watch him and when he leaves in his car, call the police and report him as an unlicensed driver and where they can find him. Maybe once he gets a ticket and goes in front of a judge, he will start understanding his situation. If he doesn't, then the license plate and insurance revocation will close the loop.

I have had to go through this with my own father. In his case, once his doctor knew he was driving, he sent the unsafe driver report and that was that. There was no way my father, who is about the same age as yours and has Alzheimer's as well, could pass the administrative hearing and tests. He was, and still is, extremely angry, but when we advised him that we had arranged to have someone drive him to his social events, etc., he finally relented and sold his car since he couldn't drive it anymore anyway.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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