Renville County District Court File No. C002577
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and
An unsecured, private loan for the purchase of a car is not a "bona fide security interest" protected from forfeiture under Minn. Stat. §á169A.63, subd.á7(b) (2002).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hudson, Judge
Randall, Judge, dissenting
Appellant challenges the forfeiture of her vehicle, arguing that her mother, who loaned appellant money to purchase the vehicle, has a bona fide security interest in the vehicle. Because the evidence does not support a conclusion that appellant's mother has a bona fide security interest in appellant's vehicle, we affirm.
On July 1, 2002, appellant Sharon Lynn Blackwell was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. After her arrest, the state served appellant with a notice of intent to forfeit the 2002 Kia 4-door STL Sedan ("the car") she was driving at the time, as mandated by Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 6 (2002). The statute provides that a "motor vehicle is subject to forfeiture... if it was used in the commission of a designated offense." A designated offense includes a violation of section 169A.20, the driving-while-impaired statute. Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 1(d)(1) (2002). Appellant filed a petition for judicial determination of forfeiture of motor vehicle under Minn. Stat. §á169A.63, subd. 8(f) (2002). Appellant claimed that the forfeiture of her vehicle was unlawful, or at least subject to a private security interest because appellant's mother, Onetta Viera, had loaned appellant money to purchase the motor vehicle, but Viera had not been served with a notice of forfeiture.
Nevertheless, Viera learned of the impending forfeiture, and at a judicial review hearing Viera testified that she paid $9,500 toward the purchase price of the vehicle while appellant paid the remaining amount. Viera also testified that she and appellant orally agreed the money was a loan and that appellant would repay the loan at a 6% interest rate. Viera produced a copy of a payment schedule created from what appears to be an amortization schedule for mortgage payments that Viera obtained from the Internet. Also entered into evidence were four cancelled checks with Viera as the payee and signed by appellant. Each check noted on the memo line that it was payment for the car loan. Viera testified she was unaware that in order to perfect her interest in the vehicle, she was required to register that interest with the State of Minnesota. Because Viera's name does not appear on the vehicle's title, respondent did not know of her interest in it, and accordingly did not serve her with the notice of forfeiture.
Appellant was subsequently convicted of driving while impaired and first-degree driving while impaired. The district court upheld the forfeiture of appellant's vehicle. The district court concluded that the forfeiture statute did not require that Viera be notified of the forfeiture because Viera's name does not appear on the vehicle's title. This appeal follows.
Does appellant's mother have a bona fide security interest in the vehicle under Minn. Stat. §á169A.63, subd.á7, in the absence of any evidence that ...