Vehicle Forfeitures Can Be Reversed On Constitutional Grounds

Minnesota Courts are bound by published opinions of higher courts, including Federal Circuit Courts.   Minnesota is in the 8th Circuit’s jurisdiction.  We have recently become alerted that some defendants are still losing highly valuable assets, most notably vehicles, for DWI and Drug Offenses through a process called forfeiture.  Forfeiture involves the government taking your asset on the grounds that it was used in a crime.  This area of law is in a state of flux right now on a number of levels.  If you’ve been accused of or convicted of a Controlled Substance Crime involving a motor vehicle or DWI, and you’ve been served with a notice of forfeiture, you should immediately have your case reviewed by a competent attorney as soon as possible.   The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in Timbs-v.-Indiana-17-1091_5536 that the excessive fines clause of the Federal Constitution applies to actions by States and Municipalities as well, and that forfeiture of valuable assets is a form of punishment.  The ruling does not specifically hold that all forfeitures are unconstitutionally excessive.  Rather, it simply states that the clause applies to the actions of local government as well and a district court which rules a forfeiture to be excessive punishment has the power and discretion to do so.  No particular bright line has been drawn as to what amount of loss is considered “excessive.”   Much of the analysis then likely turns on the degree of offense, the record of the individual, and the value of the asset. Contact an attorney today for a free consultation.  Any and all documentation may be sent by email for free review to alex@mnlegaldefense.com