may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
1990 Plymouth Sundance,
City of Buffalo,
Filed September 15, 1998
Wright County District Court
File No. C8-98-359
Gordon H. Hansmeier, Bridget M. Lindquist, Rajkowski Hansmeier Ltd., 11 Seventh Ave. N., St. Cloud, MN 56302-1433 (for appellant)
Carolyn Pritchard, 1605 Third Ave. S., Buffalo, MN 55313 (pro se respondent)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Huspeni, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.[*]
Appellant city challenges the court's order to return respondent's vehicle, seized in forfeiture. Because the record does not present an adequate basis for forfeiture, we affirm.
Respondent Carolyn Pritchard and her husband Mark Pritchard spent the night of January 3 and the early morning of January 4, 1998, drinking beer at a friend's house, where they had driven in respondent's 1990 Plymouth Sundance. Mark Pritchard wanted to drive home. Respondent permitted him to drive; she testified that she feared that he would assault her if she opposed him.
The car, driven by Mark Pritchard with respondent as a passenger, was stopped by an officer of appellant City of Buffalo, who observed it swerve across the center line. Mark Pritchard failed several sobriety tests; a subsequent Intoxilyzer test showed an alcohol concentration of .10.
Mark Pritchard had four DWI convictions since December 1991; his license had been cancelled as inimical to public safety. Based on these facts, the car was seized. Respondent sought review of the forfeiture. During the hearing, respondent testified that she let Mark Pritchard drive because she was afraid of him, that he had previously abused her and was currently in jail for domestic assault, that she had previously reported several domestic assaults to the police, and that she found it difficult without her car to manage getting to her job and her court-ordered domestic assault support group and individual counseling. Respondent was not questioned about her knowledge of either the status of Mark Pritchard's license or the extent of his drinking that evening. The court ordered the car returned to respondent; the city appeals.
The district court based its order on its construction of a statute. The construction of a statute is clearly a question of law and thus fully reviewable by an appellate court. Hibbing Educ. Ass'n v. Public Employment Relations Bd., 369 N.W.2d 527, 529 (Minn. 1985).
Minn. Stat. § 169.1217 (Supp. 1997), provides in relevant part:
* * * *
(d) A motor vehicle is subject to forfeiture under this section only if its owner knew or should have known of the unlawful use or intended use.
* * * *
Subd. 8. * * * If * * * it is found the owner was not privy to commission of a designated offense, * * * the vehicle shall be returned immediately.
The court concluded that "respondent's knowledge that her husband had been drinking did not make her privy to the commission of a designated offense" using the Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed. 1979) definitions: "[Privy means o]ne who is a partaker or has any part or interest in any action, matter or thing * * * [Privity means p]rivate knowledge, joint knowledge with another of a private concern; cognizance implying a consent or concurrence." We agree. The hearing transcript provides no indication that respondent knew of the status of her husband's license or of his alcohol concentration.
On this record, we cannot conclude that respondent "knew or should have known of the unlawful use or intended use" of her vehicle by her husband or that she was "privy to [the] commission of a designated offense." The trial court did not err in ordering the return of her vehicle.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 These definitions also appear in the current Black's Law Dictionary, 1199-1200 (6th ed. 1990).