The Minnesota state Patrol arrested a 48-year-old February 1 on charges of driving while impaired in Southern Minnesota. Law enforcement looked at the driver’s prior record for DWI related incidents and apparently looked into whether or not a DWI vehicle forfeiture was in the cards, based upon the allegations.
Meanwhile, the man accused of DWI sought to have a public defender assigned to represent him in the criminal DWI case. Generally, public defenders do not handle DWI license revocation challenges or DWI vehicle forfeiture proceedings. It was, however, the defendant’s application for a public defender that has now led to a felony perjury charge against the man, according to the Worthington Daily Globe.
As law enforcement looked into the legal title of the car the man was allegedly driving the night of his arrest in assessing a vehicle forfeiture issue, the Daily Globe reports that the current title information on the vehicle was incomplete as the transfer was still pending in state records.
Law enforcement claims to have tracked information in the investigation into the purchase of the vehicle that shows that the man allegedly had a significant amount of money in the bank that was not disclosed on his application for a public defender.
Prosecutors are apparently using that information to pursue perjury charges.
While the new report involves separate criminal cases-the DWI charges and the perjury charge–it also highlights Minnesota’s tough laws concerning DWI vehicle forfeiture. For specified allegations, Minnesota law allows prosecutors to take a vehicle from an owner if that car s allegedly used in a repeat DWI event.
The variety of reasons that the law allows vehicle forfeiture vary in serious gross misdemeanor and felony DWI cases, and forfeitures are generally handled separately from the criminal case in court. But like a DWI license revocation, an owner facing a DWI-related vehicle forfeiture must seek to challenge the forfeiture as soon as possible.
The law only allows a limited amount of time after receipt of the forfeiture notice for an owner of the vehicle to raise a challenge to the forfeiture in civil court.
Due to the short time frames to challenge an implied consent loss of license or forfeiture action after a DWI arrest, it is vitally important for people to seek experienced representation as soon as possible after a DWI arrest.
Source: Worthington Globe, “Worthington man charged with perjury,” Justine Wettschreck, April 26, 2012