Defendants who drive while impaired while their licenses are revoked for another impaired driving offense or who drive while impaired without a license and without car insurance risk more than criminal prosecution. The vehicles they drive must be seized, and, if they are convicted, will be ordered forfeited. To speed up the forfeiture process, DWI cases involving vehicle forfeitures must be scheduled within 30 days of the offense. But they rarely, if ever, are. Are defendants entitled to relief when the statutory scheduling directive is ignored? And can that relief come in the form of the dismissal of criminal charges?
Deep in the statutory woods of the law allowing the seizure of motor vehicles driven by certain impaired drivers is a provision setting trial priority for the underlying criminal charges. G.S. 20-28.3(m) requires that district court trials of impaired driving offenses involving forfeiture of motor vehicles be scheduled on the arresting officer’s next court date … Read more