For Habitual DWI offenders, drivers who have had four prior DWI convictions within the past ten years, DWI becomes a more severe felony. But more importantly, the Habitual DWI statute mandates a minimum active jail term of one year -- a sentence that CANNOT be suspended. Offenders must also go through a substance abuse program while in jail or as a condition of parole.
Seizure and Forfeiture of Vehicles
The Governor's DWI Initiative takes away from repeat DWI offenders the means to drive while impaired; namely, their cars.
Under the new provision, a law enforcement officer can seize a driver's car if the officer charges that person with DWI and that person was driving while his or her license was revoked due to a previous impaired driving offense. The seizure happens at the time of the arrest and NOT after the case has come to trial.
If a court convicts the driver of DWI and of committing the offense while driving with a revoked license due to a previous impaired driving offense, the judge will order the vehicle forfeited. The school board can then sell the vehicle and keep the proceeds, sharing the money with any other school systems in the county, or keep the car for its own use. The law does allow vehicle owners to get their cars back if they were not the driver convicted of DWI but only if they satisfy the court that they are an innocent party.