Vehicle Impoundments after a DUI in Arizona

A vehicle may get impounded in Arizona for DUI-related and non-DUI-related charges. Vehicle impoundments after a DUI will be likely to occur when the offense causes a traffic accident, when the person is driving with a suspended license and when the driver has multiple DUIs or a past criminal record.

The same rule applies to minors who are pulled over and who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.00 percent.

If you’re facing vehicle impoundments after a DUI or your automobile has already been taken away, you will need to do a couple of things and acquaint yourself with several crucial Arizona regulations.

Arizona Regulations Pertaining to Vehicle Impoundments After a DUI

The conditions of automobile impoundment are defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 28-3511.

Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, a few other situations may also call for automobile impoundment. These situations include the following:

  • A person who needs to have an ignition interlock device installed is operating the vehicle without such
  • The driver doesn’t have their license with them or has never been issued one
  • The driver is in an accident and doesn’t have proof of insurance

Essentially, DUI cases that come with complications are the ones that will lead to vehicle impoundment. People who have committed a DUI and whose BAC is in the range from 0.08 to 0.15 percent will not face car impoundment in the absence of mitigating factors.

According to A.R.S. 28-3511, a vehicle that is taken away will be impounded for a period of 30 days. After this happens, the owner or operator of the vehicle will be entitled to an immobilization hearing.

Can a Car be Impounded if a Crime hasn’t Been Committed?

Arizona law makes it possible for vehicle impoundment to occur before an individual is convicted of anything.

Thus, it’s possible for an attorney to get you out of DUI charges but the immobilization of the vehicle for 30 days will still take place.

Anyone who believes that their vehicle has been impounded wrongfully can request a hearing. Stating that you’re not guilty of DUI, however, will not be sufficient to get the vehicle out of impoundment earlier.

What does it Take to Get the Vehicle Back?

The hearing mentioned above gives owners a chance to have the vehicle released before the end of the 30-day period. A number of special conditions will have to be met for a hearing to occur, which is why you need to speak to an attorney immediately after you’re charged with DUI and you get the Notice of Impoundment from the police officer.

When a person other than the driver is attempting to release the vehicle early (for example, their spouse), that person will have to sign a contract stating that the individual who committed a DUI would not be allowed to operate the automobile over a certain period of time (usually, the period is one year, regardless of license suspension terms).

If you can’t apply for the early release of the vehicle, you will have to wait for the 30-day impoundment period to be over.

A couple of important steps need to be followed for the vehicle release to occur in a timely manner:

  • You will have to pay an administrative fee of 150 dollars to receive a copy of a release form. This form is taken to the respective towing company.
  • On top of the administrative fee, you will also have to pay the towing and storage charges that accumulated over the 30 days. The payment has to be made directly to the towing company when you go to submit the release form.
  • Keep in mind that you’ll need to complete the process quickly. Vehicles that aren’t released within 10 days after the announced release date may be announced as abandoned by the towing company.

Even if a vehicle is released early, the owner will still have to pay the fees and the charges that have accumulated until the release date. Remember that a towing company cannot release a vehicle without all of the required paperwork. Thus, going to get the car at the end of the 30-day period without paying the administrative tax and having a release form will not work.

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