A recent article I read described the plight of an 70 year old woman who loaned her car to her grandson. He was revoked for DUI, even though he told her he had cleared up his license. When he was stopped and arrested the car was impounded and the State filed a forfeiture action to take the car.

This situation seems totally unfair, and it is. Unfortunately the law completely allows this to happen, and it does, on a regular basis. I represented a woman whose license was suspended for a DUI, but was “outside the box”, meaning she just failed to pay a reinstatement fee. The State still moved to forfeit the car and ultimately succeeded. Her pregnant, adult daughter who lived with her desperately needed the vehicle for school and doctors’ appointments, but because she was not my client’s spouse, the law did not protect her.

Under Illinois law, only an “innocent spouse” can successfully get a car that is subject to a forfeiture released to him or her. It seems like an equal protection violation to me, which I argued in the above-referenced matter to no avail. Be careful who you let drive your car.

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