Santa Fe to Seize New Mexico DWI Vehicles

The Santa Fe, New Mexico city council recently adopted an ordinance that allows police to confiscate and sell vehicles owned by motorists charged with DWI. The ordinance goes into effect when someone is accused of a third New Mexico DWI or if a motorist is found operating a vehicle with a suspended driver’s license.

Intended to be the ultimate deterrent, it is a controversial move because it allows a vehicle to be seized even if the driver is not convicted of the DWI charge. The New Mexico chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is considering filing suit against the ordinance, claiming it takes property without due process. The Santa Fe plan calls for a city employee to conduct an administrative hearing and decide whether to confiscate a vehicle.

The Santa Fe City Council expects to create $300,000 in annual revenue with the seizure ordinance.

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