Albemarle, NC asked in DUI / DWI and Immigration Law for North Carolina

Q: My boyfriend(illegal) was arrested for dui(2nd time), driving my car. It was seized by state. How do I get it back?

My boyfriend,age 25, has been in US since he was a child, illegally. He's never had a us license. He got arrested at age 19 for dui. He was arrested yesterday for dui(out on custody release). I am the owner of the car, and was unaware that he'd been drinking. I was asleep in passenger seat at time he got pulled over. On his paperwork from the arrest, it states that he has a state driver's license with a DL number, but is revoked. How is that possible if he's illegal? Also, his last name is two names, but only one is on paperwork. We do not reside in the town or county of incident.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Kevin L Dixler
Kevin L Dixler
Answered
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL

A: More information is needed. Who took the car? Where?

The car probably was likely taken for reasons other than immigration. Find out why! It may have been impounded for a search warrant.

If there were drugs found in the car, it can be forfeited. Find out whether it was impounded or forfeited. If impounded, pay the fines, no matter how much, as soon as possible. If subject to forfeiture, decide whether you can afford to hire a North Carolina licensed criminal attorney, who understands the situation.

The above is general information, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

Amanda Bowden Houser
Amanda Bowden Houser
Answered
  • DUI & DWI Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: In North Carolina it is DWI not DUI. Typically the car is owned by the drunk driver and the state seizes cars after the second DWI to minimize access to driving drunk again in the future due to the likelyhood of a repeat offense. The theory behind why your car was seized even though he is not the owner is after his first DWI, you knew or should have known to restrict access to your car and since you didn't, the state now needs to protect its citizens by taking your car so you either can't provide access purposely or by failing to take proper restrictive action in the future again. You can petition the court to have the car returned but you will need to prove you are an 'innocent owner' and that your boyfriend essentially stole your car without your permission. This puts you in a bad position, if you say he stole it or took it without your permission, he could get more charges if you say you let him take the car your car gets seized and you could be charged with aiding and abetting - which will be just as bad as the DWI charge. You will likely need an attorney to do this in the circumstances you described as you will likely have a very difficult time proving you were an innocent owner. Being asleep in the car, you very likely knew he was driving when he shouldn't be at a minimum and that is enough for your car to be seized but you very likely knew he had been drinking as well. As to the errors on the paperwork, typically these will not be grounds for a dismissal as the DA can simply amend and correct any errors like that. He likely needs to consult with a DWI attorney in the area where he was charged. It is very likely the same attorney can help you with the seizure issue as well. Keep in mind there are numerous deadlines in DWI cases and how long you have to file the petition is one of them. Best of luck.

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