Cars seized after Nassau DWI arrests
In a controversial move, Nassau police are now seizing the vehicles of anyone arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
After police make an arrest and seize the accused driver's vehicle, a hearing will determine if the county can hold the vehicle until the criminal case reaches a conclusion. If a conviction takes place, the county can move to claim ownership of the vehicle through forfeiture.
Drunken driving advocates told News 12 they support the idea.
"I think it's a good message to send to the public, that Nassau County is very serious about getting drunk drivers off the road," said Marge Lee, president of DEDICATEDD.
Others are calling the tactic unconstitutional, since the punishment is handed down before any conviction is assessed.
"Generally, punishment in this society does not occur on a simple allegation, and for most people that's exactly what this is," said defense attorney Brian Griffin.
Griffin is considering a legal challenge to Nassau's process. He also says the county's motivation for the tactic may not be based solely on public safety, but to generate revenue.
In response to Griffin's claim, Nassau County attorney Carnell Foskey said, "Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is irresponsible and providing an offender with their vehicle back puts the entire public in danger."