Bernalillo County Toughens DWI Penalties

Bernalillo County in Arizona passed the Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture Ordinance, an ordinance that is very similar to a law in the city of Albuquerque. Commissioner Wayne Johnson said the ordinance will seize the vehicles of repeat DWI offenders. Johnson said that if you have one DWI conviction and are arrested for another DWI, then your vehicle can be seized. Johnson said that counties surrounding Albuquerque have become a safe haven for drunk driving offenders, who have learned the laws and began using county instead of city roads. He repeated a story he heard from the city’s hearing examiner about a “gentleman who blew through a stop sign and went down the street and would not pull over until he got outside the city limit.” As the current law stands, a repeat offender who crosses over the river and pulls over when they are in the county would be allowed to keep their car. The new program is projected to cost the county $2 million and the Commissioner says the county is reportedly having discussions with the city about how to work together to save money. The number of cars brought to the city’s seizure lot is expected to increase and the vehicles which get auctioned off will help pay for the program. The new law is set to go into effect October 26, 2012.