Plate Confiscation, Vehicle Forfeiture and Immobilization

Michigan Drunk Driving: Secretary of State Consequences
Repeat Offender: Plate Confiscation, Vehicle Forfeiture and Immobilization

There are several mandatory Secretary of State sanctions which occur after someone is convicted of an offense for driving under the influence, while intoxicated or impaired. As we explain in other pages of our website, the court penalties can include fines, costs, probation, jail, vehicle immobilization, drug/alcohol testing, counseling and other conditions at the time of sentencing. Secretary of State sanctions are supplemental to the criminal sanctions which are imposed by the sentencing court. In addition to points, license sanctions (restrictions, suspensions, revocations) and Driver Responsibility Fees ($500.00 per year for 2 years for impaired driving and $1,000.00 per year for 2 years for OWI), the Secretary of State sanctions include plate confiscation, vehicle forfeiture, and registration denial for repeat offenders.

Vehicle Immobilization (Court Sanction)

Vehicle immobilization is imposed at the time of sentencing, and begins after any jail sentence. Immobilization applies to the vehicle involved in the violation at the cost of the defendant and can be waived if the court finds that the defendant is not on the title with the innocent owner and the innocent owner did not knowingly allow the defendant to operate the vehicle. Although vehicle immobilization is not a Secretary of State sanction, the court is required to impose immobilization when a person is convicted as a repeat offender;

OffenseVehicle Immobilization
OWI 2nd Offense within 7 Years90 to 180 days, unless forfeited
OWI 3rd Offense1 to 3 years, unless forfeited
Vehicle Forfeiture (Court Sanction)

A vehicle may be forfeited as a sentencing provision by the Court with respect to certain drinking and driving cases. Vehicle forfeiture applies only to the drunk driver who owns the vehi­cle. If the drunk driver is a partial owner, then the proceeds derived from a disposition of the vehicle are split between and the innocent co‑owner, after the secured party and the costs of the forfeiture are satisfied. Transfer of a vehicle with the intent to avoid forfeiture is a felony punishable by a maximum of 4 years $2,000.00 fine, or both.

Macomb County Forfeitures: It is often possible to settle a vehicle forfeiture claim. In our Macomb County Courts, vehicle forfeiture cases can be settled between $900.00 and $1,800.00. However, the prosecutor’s office may not give this option and may seek to retain the vehicle in total without any possibility of settlement or negotiation.

License Plate Confiscation

Law enforcement is required to destroy the vehicle license plate, including the plate on a leased vehicle or of an innocent owner, for a repeat alcohol or drug violation while operating a vehicle or a third violation for driving while suspended or revoked. A paper plate is issued and it expires when the underlying plate expires. The paper plate must be renewed at a branch office. At the time of adjudication of the court case, the owner may obtain a new metal plate, if otherwise eligible.

Registration Denial

Repeat violators with multiple alcohol convictions or driving while suspended/revoked, are not eligible to register a vehicle. While subject to registration denial it is a crime to purchase, lease or otherwise acquire a motor vehicle. Upon registration denial, you will be unable to make any registration, renewal, sale or transfer to all vehicles owned or co-owned by persons suspended or revoked. Registration denial ends when a person is eligible to obtain a driver's license.

ABDO LAW firm is located in Macomb County. Our attorneys will provide you with answers to your questions regarding all drunk driving and license restoration proceedings. Once retained, we will take action to seek the best possible resolution of your case.