Confiscating snowmobile used in burglary
Minnesota is known for its brutal winters. During the winter, it becomes increasingly difficult to travel from one place to another. Like many Minnesotans, you might look to alternative means of transportation during the frigid winter months. Snowmobiles often become the vehicle of choice to navigate Minnesota’s frozen tundra. Snowmobiles are primarily used recreationally, but they can also be used for other, less obvious purposes. A snowmobile is not traditionally associated with the commission of a crime. You may find it hard to believe that a relationship between snowmobiles and burglary exists under Minnesota law, but it does. Minnesota Statute Section 84.89 states that any snowmobile used in accessory to a burglary will be confiscated and held, and upon a conviction, the snowmobile will be sold. Properly understanding this statute could save you the anguish of watching the government seize and sell your favorite winter toy.
What is a snowmobile? This may seem obvious to you, but it is important note that an off-road vehicle which is altered later with ski and track configurations is not considered a snowmobile. Under Minnesota law, a snowmobile is defined as a self-propelled vehicle designed and manufactured for the purpose of traveling on snow or ice steered by ski or runners.
Any snowmobile used to gain access to a property for the purpose of committing a burglary is at risk of being confiscated by the government. A burglary is committed by entering a building without consent AND with the intent of committing a crime; OR entering a building without consent and actually committing a crime while in the building (either directly or as an accomplice). For more information on burglary, including the different levels of burglary, check out our blog, “What Constitutes a Burglary in the State of Minnesota”
What if I own the snowmobile and did not know that it was used in the commission of a burglary? The Court will send notice to any individual that has a right, title, or interest in, or lien upon the seized snowmobile. This order will describe the reason for the snowmobile’s seizure and give you a timeframe to answer the complaint. If you did not know the snowmobile was used in connection with a burglary and want the snowmobile back, you must then file an answer, which has certain legal requirements, and then you will have a hearing in front of a judge. At this hearing, you may receive the snowmobile back if you are able to show that you did not have knowledge or reason to believe that the snowmobile was being used, or intended to be used, in a burglary.