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License plate impoundment and ‘Whiskey plates’ in Minnesota DWIs

License plate impoundment and ‘Whiskey plates’ in Minnesota DWIs

Many Minnesota drivers may be aware that the state will revoke a driver’s privilege to drive after an arrest for a driving while impaired offense. The license revocation may be challenged, if the driver acts promptly. But, fewer people may be aware that the state may impound the registration plates on a car related to many types of DWI charges.

Again, in a license impoundment situation, a DWI defense lawyer can assist in either challenging the impoundment, depending upon the circumstances, or assist a driver in obtaining special registration plates. Many people may know special registration plates by the commonly used moniker, “whiskey plates.”

What may surprise some drivers in Minnesota is that the state may impound the plates on a car in some first-time offense DWI situations. If a driver measures twice the legal limit or more, even on a first time offense, the law authorizes plate impoundment. That means a blood, breath or urine test that measures 0.16 percent BAC or higher is sufficient to invoke the plate impoundment statute.

Similarly, a driver accused of driving drunk with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle (provided the driver is at least three years older than the child) can expect to have the car’s license plates taken and destroyed. Other offenses (such as a repeat DWI offense or driving after cancellation as inimical to public safety) may also result in the seizure of the plates.

Challenging an impoundment order or seeking whiskey plates are options after the state takes away the license plates on a vehicle. Legal counsel can provide advice and representation in the criminal and administrative issues surrounding a DWI arrest.

Source: CBS Minnesota WCCO, “Good Question: ‘Reply All’: NFL Fines, Whiskey Plates & Sea Salt,” Heather Brown, Sept. 13, 2013

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