Driving another person’s car – with a DWI on your record


If you have had a DWI in the last ten years, don’t be driving someone else’s car. All you have to do is get stopped again for another DWI and have a reading of .20 or more, and the city is going to seize that vehicle. Having a child in the car who is under 18 would also do the trick. They call that an aggravating factor.

I got another call this Saturday – yesterday – from a guy who wanted to know how to get his friend’s car back from the police. He had been arrested the night before and scored .20. Since it was his second offense in ten years, they took the car.

Here’s the deal. If you have had a DWI in the past ten years and you get stopped again with an aggravating factor, they take the car. Being over .20 is an aggravating factor, and so is having a child in the car who is under 18. Also, should you have two DWIs on your record within the past ten years, and then you get stopped for a third in ten years, they take the car. They don’t care who’s car it is – they just take it.

So I get these calls asking how do I get the car back. It was my mother’s car, my wife’s car, my bosses car, my brother’s car or my boyfriend’s car. The answer is that the car is probably gone for good. If there’s a loan against the car, the lender can get it and sell it at auction as if they had repo’d it for non-payment. In addition, if the police made a big mistake or if the car, owned by someone else, was being driven without their permission, you may be able to get it back by filing a petition with the district court.

That petition is in effect a lawsuit against the state and against the agency which seized the car. It’s not cheap, it’s not easy, and it’s very hard to prevail. I usually refer these to a friend of mine, because I don’t like to take money from people and then lose.

I guess this is a rant. I just can’t believe how surprised people are when this happens. Can’t figure out where they’ve been. None of this is new.

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