Law enforcement officers in California sometimes impound the vehicle of a driver charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Once your vehicle is impounded, you will have to take specific steps to get your car back into your possession.
This article discusses the steps to get your car back after being arrested for a DUI in California. The Simmrin Law Group can also provide you with information on handling DUI charges throughout the state. Find out more by calling us at (310) 896-2723.
Steps to Get Back an Impounded Car After a DUI
Getting back your impounded vehicle requires you to take a few basic steps. Note that you may not be able to get your car back immediately if you were convicted of a DUI. Sometimes the court system will make you wait a lengthy period of time before you can get back your vehicle.
Once you are legally allowed to get back your vehicle, you will need to visit the impound lot. You will need to bring with you:
- Proof of insurance
- Proof of registration
- Your driver’s license
- Payment for all impound fees
Note that the impound lot will charge impound fees for each day your vehicle is impounded. This means that it’s very important that you retrieve your vehicle as quickly as possible, to keep the costs of retrieval low.
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Time Limits for Court-Ordered Vehicle Impoundments
As we mentioned, the court system may order your vehicle to be impounded after a DUI conviction. While you can go and get your vehicle right away after a DUI arrest if the court orders the impoundment you will have to wait before retrieving your car. In California, the court can order your vehicle impounded for:
- Up to 30 days for a first or second DUI conviction
- Up to 90 days for all subsequent DUI convictions
You must wait for the court-ordered period of suspension to pass before you can get back your vehicle. Note that you will face fees for each day your vehicle is impounded, even if the court orders the suspension.
You can reduce the odds that your vehicle will be impounded for a lengthy period of time by working with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Call (310) 896-2723 after a DUI arrest to start working on a strong defense.
Review a Court-Ordered Vehicle Forfeiture in California
Thus far, we have discussed how to get your car back after a DUI arrest if it was impounded. Some drivers in California will be required to forfeit their vehicle, instead. If you forfeit your vehicle to the court after a DUI, you cannot get it back.
Fortunately, the court system in California does not often require vehicle forfeiture after a DUI conviction. However, you may have to turn over your vehicle if you were convicted of:
- A drug-related DUI
- A DUI that led to someone’s death
- Three DUIs within seven years
Once your vehicle is forfeited to the state, you will not be able to get it back.
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Options to Prevent the Impoundment of Your Vehicle
Getting back an impounded vehicle after a DUI arrest can be expensive and time-consuming. In most cases, it’s preferable to prevent the impoundment from occurring. Let’s review some steps you can take to reduce the odds that your vehicle will be impounded.
During a DUI arrest, police officers generally get to decide whether or not your vehicle will be impounded. If you are polite and cooperative with the arresting officer, they are more likely to allow you to call someone else to drive your vehicle away. An arresting officer may also move your vehicle to a safe location for you.
Additionally, if your vehicle is parked in a safe and legal location when you are arrested, it is less likely to be impounded. You may wish to consider this if you are stopped by a police officer and you know that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is likely to be high.
Remember that the court can also impound your vehicle for a DUI conviction. Let a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles work to build your defense to improve the odds that you will not be convicted of a DUI in California.
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Talk to a Lawyer if Your Car Was Impounded After a DUI Arrest
You will need to pay fines to get your car back after being arrested for a DUI in California. You may also need to wait for weeks or months if you are convicted of a DUI. Get help getting your vehicle back quickly by working with the Simmrin Law Group. Complete our online contact form or call (310) 896-2723 to get started.
Our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles are ready to provide you with legal assistance now, starting with a FREE consultation.