In North Carolina the law allows for a vehicle to be seized if you are charged with DWI. This may happen even if you are not the owner of the vehicle you were driving at the time.
There are two situations in which law enforcement officers must seize the vehicle, which include 1.) The driver’s license of the driver is already revoked for a prior impaired driving offense, or 2.) The driver of the vehicle is not validly licensed and not covered by an automobile liability policy. If either of these situations apply to the driver at the time of the DWI offense the vehicle will be seized. Once the vehicle has been seized it will first be stored at a local storage facility. After a few days the vehicle will be taken to the facility of a state contractor. Eastway Wrecker, which is based in Charlotte, serves the western part of our state.
Once your vehicle has been seized the court will decide to either return the vehicle to the owner or transfer the vehicle to the local school board. It is possible the court could decide to sell the vehicle without a court order. If someone else was driving your vehicle and you want to get your vehicle back, there are five different ways you can show that you should not be held responsible for the driver’s actions. These include showing:
1.) You did not know and did not have reason to know the driver’s license was revoked, or you did not know or did not have reason to know the driver did not have a valid license and did not have liability insurance
2.) You knew the driver’s license was revoked, or you knew the driver did not have a valid license and did not have liability insurance, but the driver drove the vehicle without your permission and you have filed a police report and have agreed to prosecute the driver
3.) You had reported the theft of the vehicle
4.) You are in the business of renting vehicles and the driver was not listed as an authorized driver on the rental contract
5.) You are in the business of leasing motor vehicles, you held legal title of the motor vehicle as a lessor at the time of the seizure and you did not know the driver’s license was revoked at the time you entered into the lease agreement with the driver
If any of these situations apply to you, you may file the proper paperwork with the clerk of court who will review your case. You may also alternatively post a bond that is equal to the fair market value of the vehicle which will allow you to temporarily take possession of the vehicle until the next court hearing on the vehicle.