Even if the vehicle owner is not involved in a drunk driving accident, in certain instances the vehicle can be seized, impounded or sold.
Typically, statutes require the owner to have knowledge of two things:
- The driver has a prior drunk driving offense: and
- the vehicle will be used in conjunction with the consumption of alcohol.
Although “knowledge” is difficult to prove, it can be a major inconvenience to resolve this misunderstanding in court.
Prior to the sentencing hearing, transfer the vehicle title into the name of someone having no association with the drunk driving incident, such as a friend or relative. This eliminates any seizure, impoundment or auction issues, and allows the owner to retain possession of the vehicle.
One day after the sentencing hearing, transfer title to the original owner. In some instances the defendant cannot register a vehicle until the driver’s license suspension period has expired. Under these circumstances, transfer title into the name of a third-party having no connection with the drunk driving accident.