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Las Cruces, NM DUIs Controlled through Civil Asset Forfeiture

If you are caught drinking in Las Cruces, NM, you should be prepared to lose your car before you even take it out on the road. Yes, that’s right. Las Cruces police personnel are making active use of an archaic law called Civil Asset Forfeiture. According to the law, police personnel can seize cars or property of offenders and auction it off to create revenue for their police department. For example, police personnel can confiscate jewelry, cash, homes, cars, etc. as long as they are connected to a crime.

These days, you have to do what you have to do.

Civil Asset Forfeiture: Good or Bad?

Although this law has been around for a very long time, it has recently raised a media hoo-haa. In September, a video seminar was released online showing Harry S. Connelly Jr., the city attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., training police officers on how to seize property from suspected criminals. He explained that drivers who appeared intoxicated could be prevented from taking their cars on the road by simply confiscating the car. Although this seems to have helped Las Cruces, NM DUIs, a spate or negative media hype has arisen after the video went live.

The sticking point for most viewers was the example he provided in the video. In the video, he described how undercover police personnel waited for a car owner to come out of a bar intoxicated just so that they could seize his beautiful, brand-new 2008 Mercedes. However, in subsequent interview, Connelly stated that most of the cars seized by the police were low-value cars. Furthermore, they were forced to return the 2008 Mercedes as police personnel arrested the driver before he even touched the car’s handle.

He also pointed out that all seized assets were auctioned and then put into a fund that was used only for specific reasons. In fact, a New York Times report showed that the Justice Department has used the law to seize almost $4.3 billion worth of stuff in 2012. However, not all of it was used to benefit the public. According to the New York Times, part of the money was used for sports tickets, office parties, and luxuries like a home security system and a $90,000 sports car for police personnel.

Although the law was very effective, these facts have now raised the hackles of almost every civil rights advocate and civil rights group all over the world. Objections were raised even by members of Congress who wanted to know more about the law and how it could be misused.

The Nitty-Gritty of the Civil Asset Forfeiture

Although the media hype has been overwhelmingly negative, the law has been quite effective in controlling Las Cruces, NM DUIs. Police personnel confiscate cars only for second-time offenders, for offenders who are illegally driving without a license, and of drivers under the age of 21 who have been arrested of at least one DUI. The threat of confiscation also worked particularly well as a deterrent for repeat offenders of any kind of crime other than DUIs. Offenders can get their property back legally but most owners had to bear court costs and legal fees.

As a deterrent, this seems to have worked quite well as DUIs are on a decrease in New Mexico.