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Minnesota Supreme Court Rules DWI Forfeiture Statute Is Unconstitutional!

The Minnesota Supreme Court held today that the Minnesota DWI Forfeiture Statute is unconstitutional as applied to an “innocent owner” of the seized vehicle.
In Olson v. One 1999 Lexus, the Court found that the forfeiture statute, which does not allow for a hearing until the underlying criminal case is resolved, is unconstitutional as to the innocent owner of the vehicle as said owner has no right to a prompt hearing to recover the vehicle.
Megan Olson was driving a Lexus owned by her mother, Helen. Daughter Megan was arrested for a DWI and the vehicle was held for forfeiture. Megan and her mother filed a challenge to the forfeiture and the Supreme Court held that since Megan was not the owner of the vehicle, she did not have a due process right to obtain its prompt return. But as to her mother, Helen, the Court held that her due process rights were violated as she was deprived of her property without a prompt hearing.
Left unanswered is the question of the statute’s constitutionality as applied to a defendant-owner of the vehicle. But all and all a good win!