There’s no question the city of Albuquerque’s 25-year-old vehicle-seizure program needed to be revamped, and the fleshed-out policy changes announced by Mayor Tim Keller’s administration make a lot of sense.
As it currently stands, the city ordinance allows police to confiscate vehicles driven by people arrested on suspicion of a second or subsequent DWI or by anyone caught driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a DWI.
Keller issued a statement last Monday that originally suggested the city would no longer seize vehicles except in cases in which there has been a conviction.
The announcement came in the wake of a recent determination by U.S. District Judge James Browning that a plaintiff suing the city over the seizure program had “plausibly alleged an unlawful profit incentive” and making vehicle owners prove their innocence violates due process. He said the city seizure ordinance also appears to be at odds with a 2015 state law banning forfeiture without first convicting someone of a crime.