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Motor Vehicle Seizures After a DWI Arrest

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DWI Motor Vehicle Seizure & Forfeiture Can Affect You Long-Term

In Nassau County, individuals arrested for DWI typically have their motor vehicles seized at the time of their arrest. This seizure is done under the Nassau County Administrative Code § 8-7.0(g). Under this statute, Nassau County is allowed to commence a civil action for vehicle forfeiture after a DWI arrest. The person from whom the property has been seized will receive a written notice informing them that such an action is being taken and that the County may commence an action for forfeiture.

DWI-related motor vehicle seizure can place an undue burden on the party affected, affecting their ability to work, take care of their families, and even attend court-required alcohol/substance abuse programs. Therefore, it is highly recommended that individuals facing DWI-related motor vehicle seizure and forfeiture obtain legal counsel prior to their retention hearings.

Working with experienced Nassau County DWI attorneys, like ours at Foley Griffin, can help increase the likelihood of recovering your vehicle as quickly as possible. Additionally, it is important to understand all aspects of your case and to have representation that can guide you through this process efficiently and effectively.

Keep reading to learn more about this process.

Can You Get Your Car Back After a DWI Seizure?

In many cases, yes, it is possible to get your car back after a DWI seizure in Nassau County. However, this process is not easy, and it may require you to attend hearings and meet certain conditions outlined by the court. For example, to recover your vehicle, the court may require you to pay fines/penalties, install an ignition interlock device on your car, or some combination of the two.

If the car is released back to you, the court may require that you not use the vehicle while the criminal case is in process or that it only be used for limited purposes, such as going to and from work during certain hours. When the car belongs to another party other than the person arrested (such as a spouse or parent), the court may only allow the vehicle to be released to that person, not the defendant.

Retention Hearings After a DWI Arrest

Legally, the county is required to provide you with a retention hearing within 15 days of your arrest and vehicle seizure. The judge will determine whether the county will retain your vehicle at this hearing. Typically, if the county retains your car, it is usually only for the duration of your criminal case. However, it may be longer. This is why it is so critical that you work with a skilled lawyer during this process; your lawyer can help you put your best foot forward and help you increase the likelihood of a timely release.

During a retention hearing, the county is burdened with proving, more likely than not, the following three things:

  • That a crime was committed,
  • That the person arrested was the one who likely committed the crime, and
  • That the vehicle was used in that crime.

Contact Foley Griffin for Help

Dealing with a motor vehicle seizure can be overwhelming, but working with an attorney can help make the situation less stressful and simpler. They can also help you deal with your criminal case. It is important to take any and all DWI charges seriously, regardless of whether they are misdemeanors or felonies. A conviction carries severe consequences that may include jail time, a suspended driver's license, hefty fines or financial restitution, and/or court-mandated alcohol education courses.

Additionally, certain employers may require applicants to disclose past DWI convictions, so even misdemeanor convictions can have serious long-term consequences for an individual’s career prospects. No matter how minor the charge may first seem, legal representation is essential in helping you protect your rights and in guiding you as you work to minimize the effects of a potential conviction.

If your car was seized after a DWI arrest in Nassau County, contact Foley Griffin for help today.