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Erie County district attorney adopts forfeiture policy for DWI felons

Drivers facing a second felony driving-while-intoxicated charge may lose their vehicles under a forfeiture policy being adopted by the Erie County District Attorney’s office and other prosecutors in New York State.

Under the “Drink and Drive, Lose Your Ride” campaign, prosecutors would seize the vehicles and auction them. Money from the sales would support further DWI enforcement and the state Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services.

“There are still people out there who repeatedly drink and drive,” acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. said in a press release. “This new policy adds more serious consequences and helps drive home the message that it will not be tolerated.”

The new policy comes days before the end-of-summer Labor Day weekend, which officials call a peak time for drunken driving crashes and fatalities.

“Unfortunately, we see too many DWI offenders, even those who have had their driver’s license taken away, still get back behind the wheel drunk, “ Flaherty said. “This new policy goes a step further in keeping the repeat offenders from putting themselves and others in danger on the roads.”

The policy affects offenders after their second felony arrest. Drivers face a felony DWI charge if they have been convicted of a DWI in the previous 10 years, have three DWI convictions in the past 15 years, or have been charged with driving drunk with a passenger 15 year old or younger in the vehicle.

Prosecutors would be able to confiscate any vehicles that are owned by or primarily driven by the offender.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com

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