Vehicle Sanctions in DUI Cases

Types of Vehicle Sanctions:

  • Vehicle Impoundment
  • Vehicle Registration Suspension
  • Vehicle Confiscation
  • Vehicle Immobilization
  • Special License Plates or Plate Markings

People who risk driving while under the influence of alcohol can expect certain sanctions to be placed upon them and their vehicle if they are caught. “Vehicle sanctions” is the term law enforcement officials use to refer to specific required changes that are made to a vehicle used in a drunk driving incident.

Drivers are also subject to certain sanctions under this policy, such as prohibiting or limiting the convict’s use of a motor vehicle for a determined amount of time.

Vehicle sanctions were put into effect due to the high number of drunk drivers who continue to drive after their licenses have been suspended. License suspension is the most common penalty for DUI offenders in all 50 states, but the number of accidents involving drivers with suspended licenses continues to be of concern.

Studies have shown that 32% of suspended second-time DUI offenders and 61% of third-time offenders received violations or crash citations while their licenses were suspended.

Many states have established laws that affect an offender’s vehicle or license plates while his or her license is suspended due to a DUI conviction. Some states currently permit vehicles owned by people convicted of a DUI, and certain other offenses related to impaired driving, to be immobilized, forfeited, or sold.

Other vehicle sanction penalties include:

  • Having the license plates removed and impounded.
  • Having license plates marked.
  • Installation of an alcohol ignition interlock in the offender’s vehicle.
  • Suspension or withdrawal of an offender’s vehicle registration.
  • Impoundment or confiscation of the offender’s vehicle.

13 states have passed laws that allow for longer impoundment times depending on the circumstances of the DUI incident. Vehicle confiscation, on the other hand, is permitted by 27 states and results in a DUI offender having his or her vehicle taken away after a DUI offense. This policy usually applies to people who have multiple DUI convictions.

Sometimes, offenders are allowed to keep their vehicles, but courts can prevent them from driving them by immobilizing the steering wheel with a club or locking a wheel with a boot. Courts can also limit an offender’s use of a vehicle by installing an ignition interlock on his or her car. Many states have adopted this method, and it is a fairly new development in the area of law enforcement.

An ignition interlock is designed to prevent a person who is under the influence of alcohol from operating a vehicle. To start a car with an ignition interlock, the driver must take a breathalyzer test. If the test results show that the driver has consumed alcohol, the car will not start.