In Yakima, a 28-year-old woman had the unfortunate experience of losing her GMC Suburban truck to authorities following her second DUI conviction.
The woman was currently serving a 75-day jail sentence for her second DUI in two years. As a result, the Yakima police department and city attorney were taking advantage of a city program that forfeited an individual's vehicle following a second drunk driving conviction, reports the Yakima Herald Republic.
Under this controversial program, authorities would seize someone's vehicle if that person has been convicted of two or more DUIs in a seven-year time period. The forfeiture applies only to vehicles the convict owns and was driving at the time of arrest.
The slogan for Yakima's program is fittingly: "Get two DUIs, lose your ride."
While forfeitures for a DUI may seem like a new idea, the Yakima law that allows this has actually been on the books since 1994. It's just that prosecutors rarely ever invoked the forfeiture.
However, as officials are apparently motivated to use the law as a way to deter drunk drivers, these officials still must be careful to abide by safeguards that come with the forfeiture. For example, authorities simply cannot show up at a repeat convict's home and take away the vehicle. Instead, authorities will have to comply with certain requirements that include a 45-day claim period, appeals process, and protections for the spouse and others who may have an interest in the vehicle.
Yakima may be the test case for the controversial DUI forfeiture law. If the city experiences any success with the forfeitures, we may see other cities including Seattle adopt a similar law.
Forfeitures may be just one of a DUI defendant's many worries though, considering that the defendant may be sent to jail and face a host of other penalties. However, a defendant should remember that just because you are charged with a crime, you are not automatically guilty.
An experienced DUI defense attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense can help protect your rights including ownership over your vehicle. Contact us at 425-284-2000 if you have a question about your case.