I got a DWI and my car was forfeited, if I get ignition interlock can I get my car back?
Under Minnesota Law, being charged with a DWI can result in multiple legal penalties, including drivers license revocation and vehicle forfeiture. However, there is a statutory exception that provides for a release of your vehicle with enrollment in the ignition interlock program.
Before getting your vehicle back, there are several steps you will need to take. Minnesota Statute § 169A.63, Subd. 13 says that if a driver that committed a designated DWI offense or whose conduct resulted in a designated license revocation becomes a program participant in an ignition interlock program at any time before the forfeiture, the forfeiture proceeding is then stayed and the vehicle is returned to the owner.
The following steps are required to enroll in the interlock program and get your vehicle back:
- Pass the DWI knowledge test.
- Pay the $680 DWI reinstatement fee.
- Apply for a new Class D driver’s license, pay the application fee.
- Complete the Ignition interlock participation agreement.
- Submit a certificate of insurance for the vehicle to be equipped with the ignition interlock device. You can submit the certificate through the DPS website.
- Select an ignition interlock provider and have the device installed. You can have the device installed at any time but must wait until you receive notification from the driver and vehicle services before driving the vehicle.
- At any time prior to the vehicle being forfeited, the prosecutor may require that the owner or driver of the vehicle post a bond payable to the appropriate agency in an amount equal to the retail value of the seized vehicle. If this occurs, any future forfeiture action against the vehicle must instead proceed against the security as if it were the vehicle.
Although the statute is not clear about whether interlock is required to be installed on the vehicle which was seized, some Minnesota Courts have allowed interlock to be installed on unseized vehicles to maintain compliance with the statute allowing for a stay of forfeiture proceedings.
Even after enrolling in an ignition interlock program and successfully staying the forfeiture process, there are still events that could re-trigger seizure of your vehicle.
- Operating a motor vehicle while impaired in violation of Minnesota Statute § 169A.20. (driving while impaired)
- Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that results in a license revocation or disqualification.
- Operating a motor vehicle after tampering with, circumventing, or bypassing an ignition interlock device.
- Operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device.
- Voluntarily or involuntarily ceasing to participate in the ignition interlock program for more than 30 days or failing to complete the program as required by the Department of Public Safety due to:
- Two or more occasions of the participant’s driving privileges being withdrawn for violating the terms of the program, unless the withdrawal is determined to be caused by an error of the department of the interlock provider; or
- Violating the terms of the contract with the ignition interlock provider as determined by the provider.
Upon successful completion of an ignition interlock program, the stayed forfeiture proceeding is dismissed, and you won’t have to worry about the state seizing your vehicle from the original designated DWI offense or designated license revocation. In addition, following the successful completion of the program, any security or bond held is returned to the owner of the vehicle.