Albuquerque Not Seizing Cars of First Time DWI Offenders

Drunk DrivingRecently the New Mexico Supreme Court denied a legal challenge to a program that calls for Albuquerque police to seize the vehicles of those accused of first offense DWI. That cleared the way for implementation of the controversial law though APD has yet to seize a vehicle from a first offender.

The delay comes from concern about storage space and manpower necessary to manage the program. The police say that it is highly unlikely that a vehicle will be seized if someone is arrested for first offense driving while intoxicated in New Mexico. They will be looking for additional factors, such as an accident with injury, before confiscating a vehicle.

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the Albuquerque law stating that everyone has the constitutional right not to have property taken until one has been convicted of a crime. The Albuquerque police program called for property to be seized immediately, before the accused had the right to a fair hearing or trial. That, according to the ACLU, violates basic law. The New Mexico Supreme Court denied the challenge to the program because it was too broad and the Albuquerque seizure law had not yet been enforced. The court said that a challenge should come from an individual whose rights had been violated by a vehicle seizure.

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