RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Drunk drivers will face more penalties soon in Rio Rancho.
The city voted on Wednesday February 11, 2015 to start it’s own DWI seizure program, but it should be a lot different.
Rio Rancho will be the fifth community in the state to start a DWI” car seizure program, but police there say booting drunk drivers cars will be their first focus.
The City Council voted 4-1 Monday to start Rio Rancho’s DWI seizure program in July.
The program will let Rio Rancho police seize the cars of people who get a second DWI in the last 10 years or people who are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license because of DWI.
Rio Rancho police arrested about 430 people for DWI each year the last three years.
Police believe about 120 people are hurt in Rio Rancho each year because of drunk drivers.
While police say taking drunk drivers cars away will be an option, they say there’s no hard and fast rules that they have to.
First and foremost, the department says it will likely try to boot the DWI driver’s car in the street or in their driveway. Drivers would have to go to court before their car could be seized.
“There is no one way that we’re going to proceed in these cases,” said Lt. Paul Rogers. “The ordinance does allow us some latitude to decide what the best course of action will be to keep the impaired driver off the road.”
Rio Rancho police say the plan is to create a “seized car lot” at their headquarters on the north end of town.
The ordinance requires any money made through the program to go into DWI education programs and enforcement, but nothing else.
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Santa Fe and Las Cruces also run DWI seizure programs.