1/10/2007New Mexico: City to Seize Vehicles Over DUI Accusations
Santa Fe, New Mexico seeks to make $300,000 a year by seizing cars from those accused three times of DUI.
The Santa Fe, New Mexico city council will today adopt an ordinance that allows police to seize and sell vehicles belonging to motorists accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), regardless of whether they have ever been convicted in a court of law. The ordinance, sponsored by City Councilor Patti Bushee, kicks in on either a third DUI accusation or if the driver had been operating with a suspended license.
"This is the hammer, the ultimate hammer," Bushee told The New Mexican newspaper.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico may file suit against the program because it takes property without due process beyond an "administrative hearing" where a city employee decides whether to confiscate the vehicle on behalf of the city.
"It's enough to throw them in jail," City Attorney Frank Katz, told The New Mexican. "It's enough to take their car."
The city council expects to raise $300,000 in annual revenue with the measure.