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Can law enforcement seize your vehicle during a DWI stop?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When you get pulled over for drinking and driving, you expect the law enforcement official to perform a few tests and formally charge you for DWI. You also likely expect for the consequences of this offense to occur after a formal conviction.

But if you are a repeat DWI offender in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the Governor’s DWI Initiative takes away drivers’ ability to operate a vehicle while impaired. This allows law enforcement officials to seize your car if you are driving under the influence with a revoked license after a prior DWI conviction.

When seizure and forfeiture happens

The seizure of your vehicle can happen when the law enforcement official arrests you, not when your case goes to trial. When your case goes to court, the judge can then order the forfeiture of your vehicle if you were driving under the influence with a revoked license.

What happens to the car

If a judge orders the forfeiture of your car after a repeat DWI arrest, the school board has the right to sell your car. The board has the option to either keep the car and use it, keep the proceeds of the sale or share the money they obtain with other school systems in the county. You can get your car back only if you show the court you are innocent of the charges against you.

On top of the possible seizure and forfeiture of your vehicle, the penalties for an additional DWI conviction can be severe. Call or email our attorneys right away if you face charges for a repeat DWI.