License Plate Impoundment

License Plate Impoundment

In Minnesota, the state has the authority to take the license plate off a motor vehicle and destroy them. Plate impoundment is an administrative sanction and can be imposed quickly, in most cases at the time of the arrest. Typically, the officer orders the vehicle towed and the plates are removed.

The violator is subject to plate impoundment if he or she has had one or more qualified impaired driving violations within the past ten years, refuses to take an alcohol test or through other aggravating factors. Plate impoundment may be triggered for driving a motor vehicle after suspension, revocation, or cancellation of the person’s driver’s license. It is also important to note that plate impoundment applies to the vehicle used in the incident even if the offender does not own it.

Administrative Review

A person who has received an impoundment order may request an administrative review by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) of the impoundment order at any time during the period of impoundment. The request for review must be made in writing. The DPS will review the order and the evidence to determine whether sufficient cause exists to sustain the order. The DPS must decide, in writing, whether to sustain or rescind the order within 15 days of receiving the request for review.

Judicial Review

A petition for a judicial review of an impoundment order must, among other things, be served and filed within 30 days of the issuance of the impoundment order. The petition must contain the petitioner’s name, address, date of birth and license plate number. Additionally, the petitioner must include details of the stop and specific grounds for which the rescission of the impoundment order is being sought. Exact compliance with the statute is mandatory.

The registrar of motor vehicles will re-issue regular plates for the vehicle subject to the impoundment order if:

  1. The driver’s license revocation that is the basis for the impoundment order is rescinded;
  2. The charges for the plate impoundment violation are dismissed with prejudice;
  3. The violator has been acquitted of the plate impoundment violation

License plate impoundment is complicated and extremely time sensitive. Having an experienced attorney by your side is therefore critical to contesting any license plate impoundment issue. Gerald Miller PA has defended thousands of DWI-related cases throughout the past 35 years. Contact us today at 612-341-9080 for a free consultation.

For more information see the License Plate Impoundment Statute 169A.60.