Ask a DUI Lawyer: Can the police hold my car in impound for 30 days?
Driving without a license is a criminal offense in California. The offense will be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor. The severity of the charge will depend on the facts and circumstances of the situation. If someone is stopped and simply does not have a license in their possession or has never been issued a license, the offense will most likely be charged as an infraction. See our article:
The more serious offense occurs when an individual has had his or her license suspended for driving under the influence. In these situations, the offense will be charged as a misdemeanor. If you have been charged with driving on a suspended license following a suspension for driving under the influence you should immediately contact a DUI lawyer for assistance.
Apart from the criminal consequences that can range from a fine of $1,000.00 or more, there is the possible risk of having your vehicle impounded for 30 days. Vehicle Code section 14602.6 allows a law enforcement agency to impound a vehicle for 30 days under the following circumstances.
Vehicle Code section 14602.6 states:
(a)(1) Whenever a peace officer determines that a person was driving a vehicle while his or her driving privilege was suspended or revoked, driving a vehicle while his or her driving privilege is restricted under Section 13352 or 23575, and the vehicle is not equipped with a functioning, certified interlock device, or driving a vehicle without ever having been issued a driver’s license, the peace officer may either immediately arrest that person and cause the removal and seizure of that vehicle or, if the vehicle is involved in a traffic collision, cause the removal and seizure of the vehicle without the necessity of arresting the person by Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of Division 11. A vehicle so impounded shall be impounded for 30 days.
If your vehicle was impounded for one of the reasons mentioned above, you will want to make sure you follow the necessary steps to try and have your vehicle released. First, the law requires that the impounding agency within two working days must send a letter by certified mail informing the owner of the impound. If the agency fails to do so, the agency is limited to charging for more than 15 days of the impound fee. The agency must also be open to issuing a release to the registered owner or legal owner whenever the agency is open to serve the public for non-emergency business.
The law also requires the agency that impounded the car to provide a storage hearing to determine the validity of the storage by Vehicle Code section 22852. If your vehicle has been impounded and you need help with a hearing, contact an experienced DUI lawyer for assistance.
Before the expiration of the 30 days, an individual is entitled to have their vehicle released under the following circumstance:
(A) When the vehicle is stolen vehicle.
(B) When the vehicle is subject to bailment and is driven by an unlicensed employee of a business establishment, including a parking service or repair garage.
(C) When the license of the driver was suspended or revoked for an offense other than those included in Article 2 (commencing with Section 13200) of Chapter 2 of Division 6 or Article 3 (commencing with Section 13350) of Chapter 2 of Division 6.
(D) When the vehicle was seized under this section for an offense that does not authorize the seizure of the vehicle.
(E) When the driver reinstates his or her driver’s license or acquires a driver’s license and proper insurance.
Even when one of the above grounds for release is present, the law enforcement agency may not be inclined to release the vehicle. If this happens, you should immediately contact an attorney to assist you in getting a storage hearing, and having your vehicle released. The longer your vehicle is in impound the more it will cost to have it released.
If you have questions about driving on a suspended license, or a vehicle that has been impounded, call us today. We can help with any questions you have and represent you if you chose to retain our office.