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Appeal upends jury award in DUI case. Man loses Ferrari

Being convicted of driving under the influence in New Jersey can cost a defendant a lot. Besides losing your driving privileges, possibly spending time incarcerated and paying some hefty fines, having a DUI conviction on your record can crimp your future. Job prospects and education hopes could be hurt. Help from an experienced attorney could make a huge difference in the outcome.

One other significant cost that could be incurred is the actual loss of your vehicle. And even if a jury decides that such a seizure isn't appropriate, there is no way to be sure that the decision won't be reversed on appeal.

Most cases probably wouldn't even warrant taking such matters through the appeals process, but a case out of New York is one that stands somewhat apart from the norm. It involved the seizure and sale by Suffolk County authorities of a man's high-priced sports car. It happens that the vehicle in question is a Ferrari.

According to court records, the owner of the 2003 car was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2009. Prior to the stop, police reportedly clocked the man speeding at more than 100 mph. In addition to DWI, authorities arrested the man for possession of cocaine.

The man eventually pleaded guilty to the drunk driving charge. He lost his license and also surrendered the title to his Ferrari. Later, though, he claimed the government went too far selling off his car. A jury agreed and ordered him compensated to the tune of $95,000. Recently, though, a federal appeals court reversed that decision. It said the county had every right to seize the vehicle under the auspices of protecting public safety.

Whether the defense plans to appeal the decision is unclear. Government officials, though, say they are "pleased with the result."

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