Gotham on the Wagon

New York City takes on drunk drivers by taking away their cars. Can this be constitutional?

There was no public grousing when New York City police confiscated Francisco Almonte's car. Shortly after he slammed into a taxi last week, the 57-year-old Queens resident took a Breathalyzer test that showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, almost twice the legal limit of 0.10. Then there was the matter of his eight previous arrests for drunk driving. The grumbling began later, when the N.Y.P.D. took possession of a 1988 Acura that belonged to librarian Pavel Grinberg. The Polish immigrant, 28, who had been swerving when police pulled him over, was legally drunk at a more modest 0.11 blood-alcohol...

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