Seizure and Forfeiture of Vehicle in Alton, IL
If you are stopped by the police in Alton, Illinois, and are charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you probably know that you’re not going to be driving yourself home that night. However, Illinois law allows the police to seize and keep your vehicle under Article 36 of the Illinois Criminal Code.
About Article 36
Article 36 of the Illinois Criminal Code allows law enforcement to seize and sell your vehicle for any number of serious offenses, including DUI and driving without a license. However, they must follow a set procedure, and you have a right to tell your side of the story.
The agency that towed your vehicle will generally transfer it to the local sheriff’s impound lot within 14 days. Once the vehicle is transferred to the sheriff’s custody, they have 15 days to notify the registered owner (everyone listed on the title) of the vehicle that said vehicle is facing seizure. This part can get a little tricky, especially if you drive a company vehicle or you were driving a friend or relative’s vehicle when you were arrested.
There are ways to avoid this from happening. Your spouse can file to have the vehicle transferred to his or her name if they can prove that the seized vehicle is the family’s only means of transportation. This exemption can only be used once per family.
If your family can’t prove hardship (or if you have multiple vehicles), the next step is a court hearing. You don’t have to be convicted of the offense for the state to seize your vehicle. There just needs to be a “preponderance of evidence” against you.
As you can see, the seize and forfeiture law in Illinois is rather complicated. If you or someone you care about has been charged with driving under the influence, you need someone to represent your interests. The penalties for this type of offense can be very strict, including seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle as well as jail time and expensive fines. The Michael J Diaz Law Firm has extensive experience in these types of cases. We’ve been helping Alton IL area defendants with DUI cases for more than 30 years. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.