Charleston DUI: What to Do If Your Car Is Impounded

A DUI arrest can lead to several complications, including your car getting impounded. The fate of your car also depends upon the details of your case and the circumstances of the arrest. Either the police officer can ask another (sober) driver to take the car from you and drive it home or confiscate your vehicle.

The officers have full authority to impound your vehicle as a part of the DUI arrest procedure.

Car impoundment refers means the government holds onto your vehicle for you. You can get it back after being released from custody. Once a car is impounded, getting it released can be expensive and time-consuming. The process of having your vehicle released from impoundment is complex and requires the payment of multiple fees.

As a car owner, you may also be liable for towing, storage, and other additional fees, even though you were not driving the car. Being pulled over and arrested for DUI is hard enough itself. It becomes more wearing having to worry about losing your car.

A professional DUI lawyer can help you in such situations.

Qualified DUI attorneys with years of experience know the proper way to deal with a DUI conviction and vehicle impoundment.

When Is a Car Impounded?

If an arresting officer judiciously believes that the driver will still be involved in DUI after their release from custody, they can have the driver’s car impounded for a certain duration. Your vehicle can be confiscated for up to 12 hours for a first-time offense, 24 hours for a second-time offense, and 48 hours for a third or subsequent DUI offense. Your vehicle can also be released from impound before the relevant pre-assigned period is up. But only under two circumstances:

Firstly, if the car is owned by someone else, the owner must provide proof of ownership of the car and a valid driver’s license. Secondly, if the police are satisfied that the owner will drive safely and would not involve in DUI, they can release the car from impound.

The arrested driver can allow another person to drive the car. This person has to provide a valid driver’s license and drive safely.

But, if the car is moved to another state after being impounded, the owner must have to pay charges to have the car released. In addition, the owner is also responsible for paying storage and towing charges plus an administrative fee, which increases if the car is towed from a location near a park or school.

In case the car is impounded for a drug-based DUI arrest, it may be subject to forfeiture proceedings by the government. If a car is forfeited, the owner will not be able to get the car back in any condition.

Why Impound the Car?

The DUI laws and penalties vary in different states. The drivers may have their car impounded by being involved in a second or third drunk driving felony within a given period. Vehicle impoundment DUI penalty has the objective of preventing future drunk driving incidents by confiscating the vehicle from the driver’s control.

In most cases, vehicle impoundment is limited to repeated or subsequent DUI offenders and is becoming less common with the use of new advanced technology. The use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) has increased over the past few years. They keep intoxicated drivers from starting their cars.

Since the IID inhibits DUI offenders from driving while drunk, the government has no more reason to impound the offender’s vehicle. Still, some states have also declared that vehicle confiscation can be used as an extreme punishment in some cases and have restricted its use.

The area of DUI-related law continues to evolve, that’s why you need a professional lawyer by your side to have all the support you require to prevent your car from impoundment.

There are three outcomes for vehicle impoundment, depending on the DUI arresting officers’ approach and your driving record: they may leave it on the roadside, impound it for the short term, or impound it for the long term.

Was Your Car Impounded After a DUI? A DUI Defense Attorney Can Help

A DUI charge and arrest can be scary enough, plus the police can confiscate your vehicle can make the situation even worse for the suspect. If you or your loved ones have been arrested or charged with a DUI, or you just want to know your rights in such a situation, a legal professional can help.

Charleston DUI Guy has a team of qualified and proficient DUI lawyers, ready to support our clients during DUI convictions.