Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 235-S.F.No. 388 
                  An act relating to vehicle forfeiture; clarifying and 
                  modifying certain definitions, standards, and 
                  procedures for vehicle forfeitures associated with 
                  driving while impaired; amending Minnesota Statutes 
                  2002, sections 169A.60, subdivisions 1, 14; 169A.63, 
                  subdivisions 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.60, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) As used in this section, 
        the following terms have the meanings given in this subdivision. 
           (b) "Family or household member" has the meaning given in 
        section 169A.63, subdivision 1. 
           (c) "Motor vehicle" means a self-propelled motor vehicle 
        other than a motorboat in operation or an off-road recreational 
        vehicle. 
           (c) (d) "Plate impoundment violation" includes: 
           (1) a violation of section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) 
        or 169A.52 (license revocation for test failure or refusal), or 
        a conforming ordinance from this state or a conforming statute 
        or ordinance from another state, that results in the revocation 
        of a person's driver's license or driving privileges, within ten 
        years of a qualified prior impaired driving incident; 
           (2) a license disqualification under section 171.165 
        (commercial driver's license disqualification) resulting from a 
        violation of section 169A.52 within ten years of a qualified 
        prior impaired driving incident; 
           (3) a violation of section 169A.20 or 169A.52 while having 
        an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more as measured at the 
        time, or within two hours of the time, of the offense; 
           (4) a violation of section 169A.20 or 169A.52 while having 
        a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle if the child is more 
        than 36 months younger than the offender; and 
           (5) a violation of section 171.24 (driving without valid 
        license) by a person whose driver's license or driving 
        privileges have been canceled under section 171.04, subdivision 
        1, clause (10) (persons not eligible for driver's license, 
        inimical to public safety). 
           (d) "Significant relationship" has the same meaning as 
        given in section 609.341, subdivision 15, and includes any 
        person with whom the actor regularly associates and communicates 
        outside of a workplace setting. 
           (e) "Violator" means a person who was driving, operating, 
        or in physical control of the motor vehicle when the plate 
        impoundment violation occurred.  
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.60, 
        subdivision 14, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 14.  [SALE OF VEHICLE SUBJECT TO IMPOUNDMENT ORDER.] 
        (a) A registered owner may not sell or transfer a motor vehicle 
        during the time its registration plates have been ordered 
        impounded or during the time its registration plates bear a 
        special series number, unless: 
           (1) the sale is for a valid consideration; 
           (2) the transferee and the registered owner: 
           (i) are not, and have not been, related by blood, adoption, 
        or marriage; 
           (ii) do not reside in the same household; and 
           (iii) do not have, and have not had at any time, a 
        significant relationship with one another are not family or 
        household members; 
           (3) the transferee signs an acceptable sworn statement with 
        the commissioner attesting that: 
           (i) the transferee and the violator do not have, and have 
        not had at any time, a significant relationship with one another 
        are not family or household members; 
           (ii) the transferee understands that the vehicle is subject 
        to an impoundment order; and 
           (iii) it is a crime under section 169A.37 to file a false 
        statement under this section or to allow the previously 
        registered owner to drive, operate, or be in control of the 
        vehicle during the impoundment period; and 
           (4) all elements of section 168A.10 (transfer of interest 
        by owner) are satisfied. 
           (b) If the conditions of paragraph (a) are satisfied, the 
        registrar may transfer the title to the new owner upon proper 
        application and issue new registration plates for the vehicle.  
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.63, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) As used in this section, 
        the following terms have the meanings given them. 
           (b) "Appropriate agency" means a law enforcement agency 
        that has the authority to make an arrest for a violation of a 
        designated offense or to require a test under section 169A.51 
        (chemical tests for intoxication). 
           (c) "Claimant" means an owner of a motor vehicle or a 
        person claiming a leasehold or security interest in a motor 
        vehicle. 
           (d) "Designated license revocation" includes a license 
        revocation under section 169A.52 (license revocation for test 
        failure or refusal) or a license disqualification under section 
        171.165 (commercial driver's license disqualification) resulting 
        from a violation of section 169A.52; within ten years of the 
        first of two or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents. 
           (d) (e) "Designated offense" includes: 
           (1) a violation of section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) 
        under the circumstances described in section 169A.24 
        (first-degree driving while impaired), or 169A.25 (second-degree 
        driving while impaired); or 
           (2) a violation of section 169A.20 or an ordinance in 
        conformity with it: 
           (i) by a person whose driver's license or driving 
        privileges have been canceled as inimical to public safety under 
        section 171.04, subdivision 1, clause (10), and not reinstated; 
        or 
           (ii) by a person who is subject to a restriction on the 
        person's driver's license under section 171.09 (commissioner's 
        license restrictions), which provides that the person may not 
        use or consume any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance. 
           (f) "Family or household member" means: 
           (1) a parent, stepparent, or guardian; 
           (2) any of the following persons related by blood, 
        marriage, or adoption:  brother, sister, stepbrother, 
        stepsister, first cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, 
        grandparent, great-grandparent, great-uncle, great-aunt; or 
           (3) persons residing together or persons who regularly 
        associate and communicate with one another outside of a 
        workplace setting. 
           (e) (g) "Motor vehicle" and "vehicle" do not include a 
        vehicle which is stolen or taken in violation of the law. 
           (f) (h) "Owner" means the registered owner of the motor 
        vehicle according to records of the Department of Public Safety 
        and includes a person legally entitled to possession, use, and 
        control of a motor vehicle, including a lessee of a motor 
        vehicle if the lease agreement has a term of 180 days or more.  
        There is a rebuttable presumption that a person registered as 
        the owner of a motor vehicle according to the records of the 
        Department of Public Safety is the legal owner.  For purposes of 
        this section, if a motor vehicle is owned jointly by two or more 
        people, each owner's interest extends to the whole of the 
        vehicle and is not subject to apportionment. 
           (g) (i) "Prosecuting authority" means the attorney in the 
        jurisdiction in which the designated offense occurred who is 
        responsible for prosecuting violations of a designated offense 
        or a designee.  If a state agency initiated the forfeiture, and 
        the attorney responsible for prosecuting the designated offense 
        declines to pursue forfeiture, the Attorney General's Office or 
        its designee may initiate forfeiture under this section. 
           (j) "Security interest" means a bona fide security interest 
        perfected according to section 168A.17, subdivision 2, based on 
        a loan or other financing that, if a vehicle is required to be 
        registered under chapter 168, is listed on the vehicle's title. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.63, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [SEIZURE.] (a) A motor vehicle subject to 
        forfeiture under this section may be seized by the appropriate 
        agency upon process issued by any court having jurisdiction over 
        the vehicle. 
           (b) Property may be seized without process if: 
           (1) the seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or a lawful 
        search; 
           (2) the vehicle subject to seizure has been the subject of 
        a prior judgment in favor of the state in a criminal injunction 
        or forfeiture proceeding under this section; or 
           (3) the appropriate agency has probable cause to believe 
        that the delay occasioned by the necessity to obtain process 
        would result in the removal or destruction of the vehicle.  If 
        property is seized without process under this clause, the 
        prosecuting authority must institute a forfeiture action under 
        this section as soon as is reasonably possible by serving a 
        notice of seizure and intent to forfeit at the address of the 
        owner as listed in the records of the department of public 
        safety. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.63, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [LIMITATIONS ON VEHICLE FORFEITURE.] (a) A 
        vehicle is presumed subject to forfeiture under this section 
        only if: 
           (1) the driver is convicted of the designated offense upon 
        which the forfeiture is based; 
           (2) the driver fails to appear for a scheduled court 
        appearance with respect to the designated offense charge in 
        violation of section 609.49 (release; failure to appear) charged 
        and fails to voluntarily surrender within 48 hours after the 
        time required for appearance; or 
           (3) the driver's conduct results in a designated license 
        revocation and the driver either fails to seek administrative or 
        judicial review of the revocation in a timely manner as required 
        by section 169A.53, subdivision 2, (administrative and petition 
        for judicial review of license revocation), or the license 
        revocation is judicially reviewed and sustained under section 
        169A.53, subdivision 2. 
           (b) A vehicle encumbered by a bona fide security interest 
        perfected according to section 168A.17, subdivision 2, or 
        subject to a lease that has a term of 180 days or more, is 
        subject to the interest of the secured party or lessor unless 
        the party or lessor had knowledge of or consented to the act 
        upon which the forfeiture is based.  However, when the proceeds 
        of the sale of a seized vehicle do not equal or exceed the 
        outstanding loan balance, the appropriate agency shall remit all 
        proceeds of the sale to the secured party after deducting the 
        agency's costs for the seizure, tow, storage, forfeiture, and 
        sale of the vehicle.  If the sale of the vehicle is conducted in 
        a commercially reasonable manner consistent with the provisions 
        of section 336.9-610, the agency is not liable to the secured 
        party for any amount owed on the loan in excess of the sale 
        proceeds if the secured party received notification of the time 
        and place of the sale at least three days prior to the 
        sale.  The validity and amount of a nonperfected security 
        interest must be established by its holder by clear and 
        convincing evidence. 
           (c) Notwithstanding paragraphs paragraph (b) and (d), the 
        secured party's, or lessor's, or owner's interest in a vehicle 
        is not subject to forfeiture based solely on the secured 
        party's, or lessor's, or owner's knowledge of the act or 
        omission upon which the forfeiture is based if the secured 
        party, or lessor, or owner demonstrates by clear and convincing 
        evidence that the party or lessor took reasonable steps to 
        terminate use of the vehicle by the offender. 
           (d) A motor vehicle is not subject to forfeiture under this 
        section only if its owner knew or should have known of the 
        unlawful use or intended use. can demonstrate by clear and 
        convincing evidence that the owner did not have actual or 
        constructive knowledge that the vehicle would be used or 
        operated in any manner contrary to law or that the owner took 
        reasonable steps to prevent use of the vehicle by the offender.  
        If the offender is a family or household member of the owner and 
        has three or more prior impaired driving convictions, the owner 
        is presumed to know of any vehicle use by the offender that is 
        contrary to law.  "Vehicle use contrary to law" includes, but is 
        not limited to, violations of the following statutes: 
           (1) section 171.24 (violations; driving without valid 
        license); 
           (2) section 169.791 (criminal penalty for failure to 
        produce proof of insurance); 
           (3) section 171.09 (driving restrictions; authority, 
        violations); 
           (4) section 169A.20 (driving while impaired); 
           (5) section 169A.33 (underage drinking and driving); and 
           (6) section 169A.35 (open bottle law). 
           (e) A vehicle subject to a security interest, based upon a 
        loan or other financing arranged by a financial institution, is 
        subject to the interest of the financial institution. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.63, 
        subdivision 8, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 8.  [ADMINISTRATIVE FORFEITURE PROCEDURE.] (a) A 
        motor vehicle used to commit a designated offense or used in 
        conduct resulting in a designated license revocation is subject 
        to administrative forfeiture under this subdivision. 
           (b) When a motor vehicle is seized under subdivision 2, or 
        within a reasonable time after seizure, the appropriate agency 
        shall serve the driver or operator of the vehicle with a notice 
        of the seizure and intent to forfeit the vehicle.  Additionally, 
        when a motor vehicle is seized under subdivision 2, or within a 
        reasonable time after that, all persons known to have an 
        ownership, possessory, or security interest in the vehicle must 
        be notified of the seizure and the intent to forfeit the 
        vehicle.  For those vehicles required to be registered under 
        chapter 168, the notification to a person known to have a 
        security interest in the vehicle is required only if the vehicle 
        is registered under chapter 168 and the interest is listed on 
        the vehicle's title.  Notice mailed by certified mail to the 
        address shown in Department of Public Safety records is 
        sufficient notice to the registered owner of the vehicle.  For 
        motor vehicles not required to be registered under chapter 168, 
        notice mailed by certified mail to the address shown in the 
        applicable filing or registration for the vehicle is sufficient 
        notice to a person known to have an ownership, possessory, or 
        security interest in the vehicle.  Otherwise, notice may be 
        given in the manner provided by law for service of a summons in 
        a civil action. 
           (c) The notice must be in writing and contain: 
           (1) a description of the vehicle seized; 
           (2) the date of seizure; and 
           (3) notice of the right to obtain judicial review of the 
        forfeiture and of the procedure for obtaining that judicial 
        review, printed in English, Hmong, and Spanish.  Substantially 
        the following language must appear conspicuously:  "IF YOU DO 
        NOT DEMAND JUDICIAL REVIEW EXACTLY AS PRESCRIBED IN MINNESOTA 
        STATUTES, SECTION 169A.63, SUBDIVISION 8, YOU LOSE THE RIGHT TO 
        A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF THIS FORFEITURE AND YOU LOSE ANY 
        RIGHT YOU MAY HAVE TO THE ABOVE DESCRIBED PROPERTY.  YOU MAY NOT 
        HAVE TO PAY THE FILING FEE FOR THE DEMAND IF DETERMINED YOU ARE 
        UNABLE TO AFFORD THE FEE.  IF THE PROPERTY IS WORTH $7,500 OR 
        LESS, YOU MAY FILE YOUR CLAIM IN CONCILIATION COURT.  YOU DO NOT 
        HAVE TO PAY THE CONCILIATION COURT FILING FEE IF THE PROPERTY IS 
        WORTH LESS THAN $500." 
           (d) Within 30 days following service of a notice of seizure 
        and forfeiture under this subdivision, a claimant may file a 
        demand for a judicial determination of the forfeiture.  The 
        demand must be in the form of a civil complaint and must be 
        filed with the court administrator in the county in which the 
        seizure occurred, together with proof of service of a copy of 
        the complaint on the prosecuting authority having jurisdiction 
        over the forfeiture, and the standard filing fee for civil 
        actions unless the petitioner has the right to sue in forma 
        pauperis under section 563.01.  If the value of the seized 
        property is $7,500 or less, the claimant may file an action in 
        conciliation court for recovery of the seized vehicle.  A copy 
        of the conciliation court statement of claim must be served 
        personally or by mail on the prosecuting authority having 
        jurisdiction over the forfeiture within 30 days following 
        service of the notice of seizure and forfeiture under this 
        subdivision.  If the value of the seized property is less than 
        $500, the claimant does not have to pay the conciliation court 
        filing fee.  No responsive pleading is required of the 
        prosecuting authority and no court fees may be charged for the 
        prosecuting authority's appearance in the matter.  Except as 
        provided in this section, judicial reviews and hearings are 
        governed by section 169A.53, subdivisions 2 and 3, and, at the 
        option of the prosecuting authority, may take place at the same 
        time as any judicial review of the person's license revocation 
        under section 169A.53.  If the judicial review and hearing under 
        this section do not take place at the same time as the judicial 
        review of the person's license revocation under section 169A.53, 
        the review and hearing must take place at the earliest 
        practicable date.  The proceedings may be combined with any 
        hearing on a petition filed under section 169A.53, subdivision 
        2, and Pleadings, filings, and methods of service are governed 
        by the Rules of Civil Procedure. 
           (e) The complaint must be captioned in the name of the 
        claimant as plaintiff and the seized vehicle as defendant, and 
        must state with specificity the grounds on which the claimant 
        alleges the vehicle was improperly seized and, the plaintiff's 
        claimant's interest in the vehicle seized, and any affirmative 
        defenses the claimant may have.  Notwithstanding any law to the 
        contrary, an action for the return of a vehicle seized under 
        this section may not be maintained by or on behalf of any person 
        who has been served with a notice of seizure and forfeiture 
        unless the person has complied with this subdivision. 
           (f) If the claimant makes a timely demand for a judicial 
        determination under this subdivision, the appropriate agency 
        must conduct the forfeiture proceedings must be conducted as 
        provided under subdivision 9. 
           (g) If a demand for judicial determination of an 
        administrative forfeiture is filed under this subdivision and 
        the court orders the return of the seized vehicle, the court 
        shall order that filing fees be reimbursed to the person who 
        filed the demand.  In addition, the court may order sanctions 
        under section 549.211 (sanctions in civil actions). 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.63, 
        subdivision 9, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 9.  [JUDICIAL FORFEITURE PROCEDURE.] (a) This 
        subdivision governs judicial determinations of the forfeiture of 
        a motor vehicle used to commit a designated offense or used in 
        conduct resulting in a designated license revocation.  An action 
        for forfeiture is a civil in rem action and is independent of 
        any criminal prosecution.  All proceedings are governed by the 
        Rules of Civil Procedure. 
           (b) If no demand for judicial determination of the 
        forfeiture is pending, the prosecuting authority may, in the 
        name of the jurisdiction pursuing the forfeiture, file a 
        separate complaint must be filed against the vehicle, describing 
        it, specifying that it was used in the commission of a 
        designated offense or was used in conduct resulting in a 
        designated license revocation, and specifying the time and place 
        of its unlawful use.  
           (c) The prosecuting authority may file an answer to a 
        properly served demand for judicial determination, including an 
        affirmative counterclaim for forfeiture.  The prosecuting 
        authority is not required to file an answer. 
           (d) A judicial determination under this subdivision must 
        not precede adjudication in the criminal prosecution of the 
        designated offense without the consent of the prosecuting 
        authority.  The district court administrator shall schedule the 
        hearing as soon as practicable after adjudication in the 
        criminal prosecution.  The district court administrator shall 
        establish procedures to ensure efficient compliance with this 
        subdivision.  The hearing is to the court without a jury. 
           (e) There is a presumption that a vehicle seized under this 
        section is subject to forfeiture if the prosecuting authority 
        establishes that the vehicle was used in the commission of a 
        designated offense or designated license revocation.  A claimant 
        bears the burden of proving any affirmative defense raised. 
           (f) If the forfeiture is based on the commission of a 
        designated offense and the person charged with the designated 
        offense appears in court as required and is not convicted of the 
        offense, the court shall dismiss the complaint against the 
        vehicle and order the property returned to the person legally 
        entitled to it upon that person's compliance with the redemption 
        requirements of section 169A.42.  If the forfeiture is based on 
        a designated license revocation, and the license revocation is 
        rescinded under section 169A.53 (administrative and judicial 
        review of license revocation), subdivision 3 (judicial review 
        hearing, issues, order, appeal), the court shall dismiss the 
        complaint against the vehicle and order the property returned to 
        the person legally entitled to it upon that person's compliance 
        with the redemption requirements of section 169A.42.  
           (g) If the lawful ownership of the vehicle used in the 
        commission of a designated offense or used in conduct resulting 
        in a designated license revocation can be determined and it is 
        found the owner was not privy to commission of a designated 
        offense or was not privy to the conduct resulting in the 
        designated license revocation, the owner makes the demonstration 
        required under subdivision 7, paragraph (d), the vehicle must be 
        returned immediately upon the owner's compliance with the 
        redemption requirements of section 169A.42. 
           (h) If the court orders the return of a seized vehicle 
        under this subdivision it must order that filing fees be 
        reimbursed to the person who filed the demand for judicial 
        determination.  In addition, the court may order sanctions under 
        section 549.211 (sanctions in civil actions).  Any reimbursement 
        fees or sanctions must be paid from other forfeiture proceeds of 
        the law enforcement agency and prosecuting authority involved 
        and in the same proportion as distributed under subdivision 10, 
        paragraph (b). 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 169A.63, 
        subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 10.  [DISPOSITION OF FORFEITED VEHICLE.] (a) If the 
        vehicle is administratively forfeited under subdivision 8, or if 
        the court finds under subdivision 9 that the vehicle is subject 
        to forfeiture under subdivisions 6 and 7, the appropriate agency 
        shall: 
           (1) sell the vehicle and distribute the proceeds under 
        paragraph (b); or 
           (2) keep the vehicle for official use.  If the agency keeps 
        a forfeited motor vehicle for official use, it shall make 
        reasonable efforts to ensure that the motor vehicle is available 
        for use by the agency's officers who participate in the drug 
        abuse resistance education program. 
           (b) The proceeds from the sale of forfeited vehicles, after 
        payment of seizure, towing, storage, forfeiture, and sale 
        expenses, and satisfaction of valid liens against the property, 
        must be distributed as follows: 
           (1) 70 percent of the proceeds must be forwarded to the 
        appropriate agency for deposit as a supplement to the state or 
        local agency's operating fund or similar fund for use in 
        DWI-related enforcement, training, and education; and 
           (2) 30 percent of the money or proceeds must be forwarded 
        to the prosecuting authority that handled the forfeiture for 
        deposit as a supplement to its operating fund or similar fund 
        for prosecutorial purposes. 
           Presented to the governor May 18, 2004 
           Signed by the governor May 26, 2004, 9:45 p.m.