Innocent owner modification is signed into law
Sen. Latz Statement:
“Under some circumstances, when a person gets pulled over and charged with driving while intoxicated, law enforcement can take the driver’s vehicle. However, sometimes the vehicle is owned in whole or part by someone else who had nothing to do with the drunk driving incident. They deserve a chance to ask a court for the vehicle’s return. With this bill, they will now have the opportunity to make that request.
Specifically, the bill modifies the existing “innocent owner” defense so that a person, often a spouse, who has joint-ownership interest in a vehicle, has legal standing to petition the court to get the vehicle out of forfeiture.
A Minnesota Supreme Court interpretation says all vehicle owners must be innocent in order to get an automobile out of forfeiture. This new law states that if a vehicle has more than one owner, any of the owners can petition the court. The owner must demonstrate to the court that they did not know the vehicle would be used in an illegal manner or that they took steps to prevent the alleged offender from using the vehicle contrary to law.”