Vehicle Forfeiture: Can They Really Take My Car?
If you are arrested for a drunk driving offense, you can be civilly sued for the value of your vehicle or forfeiture of the vehicle. Some jurisdictions (such as Suffolk County) will seize your vehicle if you have a prior offense, some (such as New York City) weigh factors like level of intoxication and criminal history, and some (Nassau County) may seize your car for a first offense DWI or even a DWAI. This civil action may commence even before you have been convicted.
Upon conviction, the city or county will seek to sell the vehicle at public auction. Whether you forfeit the car or pay to retain it, you are still obligated to make any payments owed to the lien/lease holder.