Vehicle Impoundment in DUI Cases
Vehicle impoundment is just one of many consequences that can be imposed against those who have violated the law by driving while intoxicated. Similar to vehicle confiscation, impoundment can occur after any number of violations, including an offender’s first offense.
After the vehicle has been impounded, towing and fees relating to the cost of the impoundment, in addition to any administrative fees, must be paid before the vehicle can be retrieved. These fees can total about $1,000.
Typically, the location where the vehicle is taken is listed on the citation itself, or it will be made available upon request from the local authority who took possession of the vehicle.
If a vehicle is impounded in error, there is always the option of an appeal. To begin this process, a driver must document his or her reasons for appeal in a letter that is addressed to the authority that confiscated the vehicle.
If this first attempt is unsuccessful, the driver has the option of paying the costs of impoundment to retrieve the vehicle and to then to pursue return of said costs in a forum such as conciliation court. Before engaging in this process, a driver must be sure that there is sufficient documentation and physical evidence to substantiate the claim.
In response to the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, vehicle impoundment is a popular choice of many law enforcement agencies due to the lesser amount of costs that are incurred by those agencies.
Because impoundment gives the offender the opportunity to retrieve their vehicle and resume use of it, the local authorities do not have to take on the burden of housing and auctioning the vehicle; a process which is often much more costly, resulting in a negative financial return.
Impoundment is intended to give the offender time to reflect on the act that caused the impoundment. While studies have not revealed extraordinary results, it has been proven that vehicle impoundment has reduced the number of subsequent violations committed by each offender, including traffic violations and accidents.
Aside from the financial repercussions of retrieving an impounded vehicle, a driver may also be required to make a commitment to attend a program that will assist in addressing the original violation.