When you’re arrested for drunk driving, the police obviously aren’t going to let you get back in the car and drive it back to the station. So what will happen to your car after a DUI arrest? Well, that depends on a few things, but Del Mar DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss says that when you get arrested for driving under the influence, your car could end up impounded, especially if you have multiple drunk driving convictions on your record.
Your Car Won’t Always be Towed
What will happen to your car after a DUI arrest will depend on the specifics of the arrest itself. If you have a sober driver in the vehicle at the time, you will be given the option of having that person drive the car home (or somewhere else safe) for you. Of course, any La Jolla DUI attorney will tell you that most drunk drivers don’t have a person who could easily have been a designated driver right in the car with them. If you were stopped at a checkpoint, the police may give you an opportunity to have a friend come to the location and take your vehicle home. In most cases this option isn’t available to those pulled over at the side of the road although a particularly nice officer may give you the chance to do this if you happen to know someone in the immediate vicinity.
If you happened to pull over in a safe spot, the car can be left there until you are released. While a legal parking spot on a residential street is obviously considered safe and the side of a freeway is always going to be considered unsafe, there is a lot of gray area as to what is or is not safe. If there’s any question about whether or not where you stopped can be considered safe, this will ultimately be up to the discretion of the arresting officer. If you know you might be driving buzzed when you see an officer’s lights behind you and you see a legal parking space immediately in front of you, it’s advisable to pull over there just in case you end up getting arrested.
Every now and again, someone who pulls over in an area that’s not safe, but right near an area that can serve as a safe parking area will get lucky and the police officer will move the person’s vehicle for them. This is entirely at the officer’s discretion and is fairly rare, but it has been known to happen on occasion. If you can see a safe parking spot from where your vehicle is stopped and you’re going to be placed under arrest for drunk driving, you can always try politely asking the officer if she will move your vehicle for you before taking you to the station. It never hurts to ask.
When Your Car is Towed
In San Diego County, police officers typically do order DUI driver’s cars to be towed. The vehicle, however, can only be released to the registered owner. If you were driving someone else’s car, they can pick it up immediately, but will still need to pay the fees. The jail has a form for prisoners to authorize the release of an impounded vehicle to someone else. If the DUI driver also has a suspended license, the vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. If the vehicle is also being held for evidence, it can remain impounded for the duration of the case. When you or someone else attempts to retrieve your car, you will have to pay for both the tow as well as an impound fee for every day your car was stored on the lot. These fees can be notably expensive, which is why it is best to attempt to park in a safe spot if possible.
Impoundment After a DUI Conviction
The good news is that while some states will automatically impound your vehicle for a set amount of time if you are convicted of driving under the influence, California is not one of these states. That being said, what will happen to your car after a DUI arrest and conviction can vary as the judge can order your vehicle to be impounded at his discretion. Additionally, if you have had three or more DUIs in seven years, the judge may even rule that your vehicle is a public nuisance and even order it to be sold. It’s important to recognize that these sentences are not mandatory and that a top Solana Beach drunk driving defense attorney may be able to help you avoid these consequences.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it may be too late to avoid having your car towed after the arrest, but your Mira Mesa DUI lawyer can help you avoid having your car impounded as part of your sentence. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
Creative Commons Image by Robert Couse-Baker