Impounding in a DUI Case

When your car is impounded, it is held by police until you pay to have it released.

A DUI always involves a car or other vehicle. This presents police with a problem. When they arrest you for DUI, what should happen to your vehicle? In California, the most common answer is that it’s impounded.

When your vehicle is impounded it means several things:

  • It will be towed to a secure “impound lot.”
  • Police can legally search the vehicle (if it was impounded as part of an arrest, as in a DUI case)
  • To get it back, you must pay the towing fee plus an additional fee for each day it was in the lot. Impounding can be very expensive.

But police won’t always choose to impound your vehicle. They have a lot of discretion. There are four situations where they are supposed to impound your vehicle:

  1. Your vehicle is considered evidence or part of a crime scene. This mainly applies to serious car accidents where people were hurt.
  2. The vehicle is in a condition where it cannot be safely driven away.
  3. You have a prior DUI on your record within the past 10 years.
  4. There is nowhere nearby to legally & safely park the vehicle.

Officers don’t always strictly follow these rules. If you are polite and cooperative, they may park your car for you.

In some cases the court will order your car impounded for 30 days or more (at your own cost). In others you could even end up “forfeiting” the vehicle (it becomes government property). Learn more about forfeiture & impounding rules here: How do I get my car back after being arrested for DUI in California?

Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.

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