Forfeiture of Vehicles - Protect Your Car


Under Nassau County Local Law 8.7 the Nassau County Attorney’s Office will bring a civil action against you and the owner (if you borrowed it) of the vehicle you were driving seeking forfeiture of the vehicle if the arrest was made by a Nassau County Police Officer.  Under the current DWI Laws in Nassau County, any conviction for an alcohol offense involving driving a motor vehicle permits the Nassau County Attorney to seek forfeiture of your vehicle.  Although in many cases the vehicle you were driving will be returned to you shortly after the arrest, you will pay towing and impound fees and then, you and the owner of vehicle are prohibited from transferring the ownership in said vehicle without permission from the Nassau County Attorney’s Office. A civil action will be brought against both you and the owner of the vehicle, or any other person or entity that has an interest in said vehicle; whether it be a finance company, bank, or leasing company.

This action is separate and apart from the DWI criminal action, as said action can be commenced even though the Nassau County DWI criminal action is still pending.  Not only will the motorist who was driving the vehicle be sued, any person who has an interest in the vehicle is subject to the law suit.

Although there are innocent owner defenses available in these DWI criminal actions, said DWI defenses are affirmative defenses, which must be legally pleaded in a Civil Answer.  There are also several other defenses that can be raised.  Where other people or entities are involved, they will also be sued by the Nassau County  Attorney. If these other entities are leasing companies or finances companies, those entities will move for the vehicle to be returned to them as such action by the Nassau County Attorney is a cause for default in many finance or lease agreements. In addition, it is now standard language in those agreements that you will be required to reimburse the company for any legal expenses. These fees many times can run into the thousands of dollars in a Nassau DWI case.  In addition to paying substantial legal fees to your finance company, your credit rating as well as the owner of the vehicle’s credit rating will be adversely affected. If these vehicles are repossessed by the finance or leasing companies, or if a judgment is entered against you or them, this will negatively appear on your credit report.

In view of the substantial adverse financial consequences in a Nassau DWI case, it is imperative that you obtain not only extremely a qualified Nassau County DWI criminal defense counsel to handle your DWI criminal case, but also a Nassau DWI legal defense counsel that can also handle the vehicle civil matter.  Our Nassau County DWI legal defense law firm is experienced in handling both the Nassau DWI criminal case as well as all aspects of the civil work involving the Nassau County forfeiture of vehicles case.  Therefore, if you are sued, or receive a letter that the Nassau County  Attorney is putting you on notice that your car is subject to forfeiture, we suggest you call our law office and make an appointment for a legal consultation on your Nassau DWI defense and vehicle forfeiture case.