Mississippi Laws Governing Vehicle Impoundment and DUI Crimes

Posted by James Ferguson | May 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

There are a number of processes that occur when an individual has been arrested or detained for a DUI offense. If the driver is alone in the vehicle after being found to be under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement will not permit the offender to drive the vehicle. Instead, the vehicle will be impounded and the offender will be held until sober. The more serious the DUI, the more likely it will result in detention and the seizure of personal items for the purposes of the investigation, especially if the DUI resulted in an accident or bodily injury.

Vehicle Impoundment

According to the Mississippi Code 63-11-49, an arresting officer must impound a vehicle after a crime (including the crime of DUI) and the vehicle must be held as evidence until a court that has jurisdiction makes a final decision regarding the criminal case. Depending on the function of the vehicle in the commitment of the crime, the vehicle may be forfeited as set forth in the administrative forfeiture procedures provided in Section 63-11-30(2)(c). For example, if the car is the source of evidence to prove that the defendant was consuming an alcoholic beverage in the car, law enforcement will seize the car and conduct a chemical test to make a final conclusion.

As briefly described above, the Mississippi code also empowers law enforcement agencies to commence administrative procedures that will result in the forfeiture of vehicles that were involved in crimes including DUI offenses. In the case of a DUI offense, the more serious the offense or whether it resulted in injury or if the vehicle was connected to another crime will determine the likelihood that the vehicle will be forfeited. Law enforcement must provide notice of intention to forfeit the seized vehicle in the administrative manner by certified mail, with a return receipt requested to all the persons who are required to receive notice by law. In recent years, there have been proposed laws to reform the Mississippi fortiture laws.

Publication and Judicial Review
If an administrative notice showing intention to forfeit the vehicle cannot be given due to reasons including an inability to identify the interested parties, the law enforcement agency can provide notice by publication with a description of the vehicle and other details for three consecutive weeks. Each person claiming an interest in the seized car may commence a court proceedings by filing a request for judicial review with the law enforcement agency 30 days after receipt of the certified letter or 30 days after the first publication notice.

Let Us Help with Your DUI Case
If your vehicle was impounded as a result of a DUI offense or you have an interest in an impounded vehicle that was involved in a DUI, please call us now. Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience working with post-offense administrative actions. Contact us to determine your rights in the matter. We will provide a unique approach to help you with your case.

See related blog posts:
Underage DUI in Mississippi
Considerations for Out-of-State DUI Offenders

About the Author

James Ferguson

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. During college, I studied at East Tennessee State University, where I received a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, which I then followed up with a Master's in Criminology from the University of Memphis. Before beginning my legal career, I worked as a Project Coordinator at the University of Memphis, where I assisted in training law enforcement officers in the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training. The purpose of the project was to provide officers with the tools to deal with citizens in a state of mental crisis. I then went on to study law at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. During law school, I clerked with Victor W. Carmody, Jr., the lawyer who wrote the book on DUI law in Mississippi. I am currently licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi, and spend a majority of my time traveling the highways and biways of Mississippi defending those who have been charged with a DUI.


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