169A.63 Vehicle forfeiture.
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) "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) "Designated offense" includes:
(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); 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.
(e) "Motor vehicle" and "vehicle" do not include a vehicle which is stolen or taken in violation of the law.
(f) "Owner" means the registered owner of the motor vehicle according to records of the department of public safety and includes a lessee of a motor vehicle if the lease agreement has a term of 180 days or more.
(g) "Prosecuting authority" means the attorney in the jurisdiction in which the designated offense occurred who is responsible for prosecuting violations of a designated offense.
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.
Subd. 3. Right to possession vests immediately; custody. All right, title, and interest in a vehicle subject to forfeiture under this section vests in the appropriate agency upon commission of the conduct resulting in the designated offense or designated license revocation giving rise to the forfeiture. Any vehicle seized under this section is not subject to replevin, but is deemed to be in the custody of the appropriate agency subject to the orders and decrees of the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings. When a vehicle is seized under this section, the appropriate agency may:
(1) place the vehicle under seal;
(2) remove the vehicle to a place designated by it;
(3) place a disabling device on the vehicle; and
(4) take other steps reasonable and necessary to secure the vehicle and prevent waste.
Subd. 4. Bond by owner for possession. If the owner of a vehicle that has been seized under this section seeks possession of the vehicle before the forfeiture action is determined, the owner may, subject to the approval of the appropriate agency, give security or post bond payable to the appropriate agency in an amount equal to the retail value of the seized vehicle. On posting the security or bond, the seized vehicle may be returned to the owner only if a disabling device is attached to the vehicle. The forfeiture action must proceed against the security as if it were the seized vehicle.
Subd. 5. Evidence. Certified copies of court records and motor vehicle and driver's license records concerning qualified prior impaired driving incidents are admissible as substantive evidence where necessary to prove the commission of a designated offense or the occurrence of a designated license revocation.
Subd. 6. Vehicle subject to forfeiture. A motor vehicle is subject to forfeiture under this section if it was used in the commission of a designated offense or was used in conduct resulting in a designated license revocation.
Subd. 7. Limitations on vehicle forfeiture. (a) A vehicle is 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 with respect to the designated offense charge in violation of section 609.49 (release; failure to appear); 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 (administrative and judicial review of license revocation), or the license revocation is sustained under section 169A.53.
(b) A vehicle encumbered by a bona fide security interest, 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. If the sale of the vehicle is conducted in a commercially reasonable manner consistent with the provisions of section 336.9-504, clause (3), 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.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (b) and (d), the secured party's, lessor's, or owner's interest in a vehicle is not subject to forfeiture based solely on the secured party's, lessor's, or owner's knowledge of the act or omission upon which the forfeiture is based if the secured party, lessor, or owner took reasonable steps to terminate use of the vehicle by the offender.
(d) A motor vehicle is subject to forfeiture under this section only if its owner knew or should have known of the unlawful use or intended use.
(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.
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, 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. 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 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 interest in the vehicle seized. 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 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).
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.
(b) 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. 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. 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), the court shall dismiss the complaint against the vehicle and order the property returned to the person legally entitled to it. 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 vehicle must be returned immediately.
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, storage, forfeiture, and sale expenses, and satisfaction of valid liens against the property, must be forwarded to the treasury of the political subdivision that employs the appropriate agency responsible for the forfeiture for use in DWI-related enforcement, training, and education. If the appropriate agency is an agency of state government, the net proceeds must be forwarded to the state treasury and credited to the following funds:
(1) if the forfeited vehicle is a motorboat, the net proceeds must be credited to the water recreation account in the natural resources fund;
(2) if the forfeited vehicle is a snowmobile, the net proceeds must be credited to the snowmobile trails and enforcement account in the natural resources fund;
(3) if the forfeited vehicle is an all-terrain vehicle, the net proceeds must be credited to the all-terrain vehicle account in the natural resources fund;
(4) if the forfeited vehicle is an off-highway motorcycle, the net proceeds must be credited to the off-highway motorcycle account in the natural resources fund;
(5) if the forfeited vehicle is an off-road vehicle, the net proceeds must be credited to the off-road vehicle account in the natural resources fund; and
(6) if otherwise, the net proceeds must be credited to the general fund.
Subd. 11. Sale of forfeited vehicle by secured party. (a) A financial institution with a valid security interest in or a valid lease covering a forfeited vehicle may choose to dispose of the vehicle under this subdivision, in lieu of the appropriate agency disposing of the vehicle under subdivision 9. A financial institution wishing to dispose of a vehicle under this subdivision shall notify the appropriate agency of its intent, in writing, within 30 days after receiving notice of the seizure and forfeiture. The appropriate agency shall release the vehicle to the financial institution or its agent after the financial institution presents proof of its valid security agreement or of its lease agreement and the financial institution agrees not to sell the vehicle to a member of the violator's household, unless the violator is not convicted of the offense on which the forfeiture is based. The financial institution shall dispose of the vehicle in a commercially reasonable manner as defined in section 336.9-504.
(b) After disposing of the forfeited vehicle, the financial institution shall reimburse the appropriate agency for its seizure, storage, and forfeiture costs. The financial institution may then apply the proceeds of the sale to its storage costs, to its sale expenses, and to satisfy the lien or the lease on the vehicle. If any proceeds remain, the financial institution shall forward the proceeds to the state treasury, which shall credit the appropriate fund as specified in subdivision 9.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes