Critics have been loud in their complaints about law enforcement’s practice of selling a defendant’s asset. This most commonly happens when officers pull over drivers on suspicion of DUI and subsequently put the cars up for auction. The municipality then keeps the money raised.
This practice was taken to new extremes in expense when the police of a Minneapolis suburb impounded a vintage Ferrari 308, which was the model used in the ‘80s show Magnum PI. Officers arrested the owner, who had a DUI history and apparently smelled of alcohol, after the car was stalled in an intersection. The driver’s blood-alcohol level was .20, which qualified him for felony DUI charges and the car’s forfeiture.
The forfeiture means that the defendant faces charges, must pay expenses related to the DUI like increased insurance rates, and needs to replace their vehicle. The Minnesota man claims that the car was worth $75,000, though the breakdown would indicate that the red sports car needed repairs. Regardless of the car’s actual value, it puts the level of punishment level well beyond a DUI where no one was injured.
The defendant took the car’s seizure to the state’s Court of Appeal, which ruled against him. This car was one of 3,640 vehicles seized in 2018 by the state in DUI arrests, similar to numbers here in Colorado. It led to a gross windfall of $2.7 million, much of it donated by drivers of fewer means than the Ferrari owner. There was no word on the price paid at auction.