What Happens to Your Car When You Get a DUI in Arizona?
Being convicted of a DUI in Arizona is often life altering. You face hefty fines that will hurt your budgets, time away from family while serving jail time or community service hours, suspension of your driver’s license making simple errands and tasks more difficult, and unbeknownst to some, the possibility of your car being impounded for 30 days.
The 30-day impound law comes from Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-3511. Your car will be impounded if you are convicted of an extreme DUI, which is a driver with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher. Additionally, an aggravated DUI will result in your car being impounded. This means you were convicted of a DUI while driving with a suspended license, have been convicted twice before of a DUI within the last seven years or there was a child under the age of 15 in the car with you at the time of the DUI.
Retrieving your vehicle
In some circumstances, your family member can retrieve the vehicle stating that you won’t be permitted to drive the vehicle during the impound period. This would allow your other family members to still operate the vehicle in cases where it could hurt other family members by them not being able to get to work or other activities.
If you don’t have family members who need the car, you can wait until the end of the 30-day period to retrieve the vehicle. You must pay the towing fees and storage costs for the vehicle, as well as an administrative fee.
Once you pay the fee to the police department, you’ll receive release paperwork to provide to the towing company to get your car back. At the towing company, you’ll pay the towing and storage fees. This should be completed within 10 days of the release date for your vehicle because if not, the towing company might report it as abandoned.
DUIs where the vehicles owner was not involved
You might find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of having your car impounded for the actions of another driver. If your car was impounded when you loaned it out to a friend or family member who was charged with an extreme DUI or aggravated DUI, you’ll still have to pay the administrative fee, towing charges and storage costs to get your car back.
Visit the police department with the vehicle registration information, proof of car insurance and your valid driver’s license to get the release paperwork for your vehicle.
Early release for restored license privileges
In some DUI cases, drivers may have their license reinstated before the 30-day period has ended. In these cases, you can retrieve your car earlier than the 30-day window. This could be because the DUI charges were dropped or penalties altered once the case goes to court.
The process for getting your vehicle is the same where you’ll need to visit the police department to pay the administrative fee and complete paperwork to get your car released from the towing company.
Under no circumstances can you go directly to the impound lot and retrieve your vehicle without first going to the police department to get your release paperwork. The towing company is not permitted to give you back your car without this paperwork.
Being convicted of a DUI will not only affect you, but your family as well in the case of an impounded vehicle. Be sure that you have the best chance of successfully pleading your case by hiring a DUI attorney to handle your defense. This way, you can avoid the difficult and costly consequences of being convicted of a DUI. Click here for information on getting a DUI with a suspended license in Arizona.