An Assessment of Virginia's Law Requiring the Forfeiture of Any Vehicle Driven by a Person Under License Suspension or Revocation

Report No: 75-R25

Published in 1975

About the report:

In Virginia an individual arrested for the first time for driving while his driver's license is suspended or revoked is subject to the following penalties: 1. He will be jailed for not less than ten days and not more than six months (Va. Code Ann. section 46.1-350(b)); 2. He may, in addition, be fined up to $200.00 (Va. Code Ann. section 46.1-350(b)) and 3. He will be required to forfeit his vehicle to the state (Va. Code Ann. section 46.1-351.1). Virginia is alone among the fifty states in requiring the mandatory forfeiture (seizure followed by public sale) of any motor vehicle driven by a person while his driver's license is suspended or revoked. The forfeiture statute has been the object of considerable criticism by the commonwealth's attorneys charged with its enforcement. The purpose of this study was to examine Virginia's vehicle forfeiture law, Va. Code Ann. sections 46.1-351.1 and 46.1-351.2, to determine the merits Of the criticisms which have been expressed against the statute and to evaluate its effectiveness as a highway safety measure.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

John E. Wetsel

Last updated: February 5, 2024

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