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If You are Found Guilty of OVI, Can the Police Permanently Seize Your Car (Forfeiture)?

AFTER A THIRD OVI CONVICTION IN TEN YEARS, POLICE CAN PERMANENTLY SEIZE YOUR CAR

The Ohio Court of Appeals clarified the procedure by which the State must follow before a defendant must surrender his or her car following an OVI conviction. State v. Cremeans, 2017-Ohio-4400

In Cremeans, the Defendant was found guilty of his third OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of drugs or alcohol) within the last six years. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19(G)(1)(c)(v), a defendant who is found guilty of his or her third OVI offense in the last ten years must be ordered to surrender the vehicle if the vehicle is owned by the defendant.

PROCESS FOR FORFEITURE OF A CAR OR TRUCK

If a defendant is facing the possibility of having his or her car or truck seized following an OVI conviction, the state of Ohio must follow certain procedures before they may take possession of the vehicle (Ohio Revised Code Section 4503.234):

  • The defendant must be given a chance to speak regarding the forfeiture prior to the state taking possession of the vehicle.
  • “The prosecuting attorney shall give the offender written notice of the possibility of forfeiture … not less than seven days prior to the date of issuance of the forfeiture order.”
  • The Defendant must either plead or be found guilty of a third offense OVI.

In Creameans, the Defendant was found guilty of his third OVI in the last ten years, and the Court found the state of Ohio and the trial court complied with all of the requirements of Ohio Revised Code Section 4503.234. As a result, the Defendant’s car was ordered to be forfeited to the state.

The possibility of having a vehicle that you own turned over to the state of Ohio is a frightening proposition to consider. That is why it is important to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable about all possible defenses available to you. The right attorney can guide you through the criminal process and advise you of all potential penalties you may face, including the forfeiture of your vehicle. If you have questions about your Columbus alcohol related criminal or traffic charges, talk to our defense attorneys at 614-361-2804.

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