Vehicle forfeiture as a penalty for a second or subsequent DUI in the state of Washington has been statutorily allowed since 2009. In 2013, the Washington State legislature formally made vehicle forfeiture, upon a second conviction or more, a subject for consideration by the sentencing court.
Prior to the 2013 amendment to the statute, vehicle forfeiture was authorized. but the court was not ordered to consider it at the time of sentencing. The 2009 statute simply put forth the scenario under which a vehicle could be forfeited upon a DUI conviction. The current statute now provides that:
- upon arrest for a second or subsequent DUI within 7 years
- where probable cause exists to believe that a DUI was committed
- notice is provided that transfer or sale is unlawful during pendancy of case
- and a conviction for the subsequent DUI is entered
In this situation, the court is now required at the time of sentencing to consider forfeiture where the defendant has a financial interest in the vehicle that was being driven at the time of arrest. As the Washington state courts and legislature consider ways to become tougher and tougher on those accused and convicted of DUI, it seems likely that it won’t be long before this drastic step of property deprivation is utilized. If you are potentially in this situation, there may be some things you can do to protect your property interest. Contact us to discuss your options.