There are a couple of instances in which your vehicle might be impounded as a result of a Virginia DUI arrest. The first is immediately after your DUI arrest. If you’re taken to jail and your vehicle is left behind, law enforcement is not required to impound the vehicle, but they might do it because they don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of arranging another driver to come or because they want to search your vehicle for evidence related to the arrest. Following this type of impoundment, you can typically have someone you know and trust pick it up from impound.
Another situation where your vehicle may be impounded is if you are found to be driving on a suspended license (whether it is part of the administrative license suspension or part of your previous DUI conviction). In some circumstances, your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days and you will be charged with driving on a suspended license. If you’re found guilty of driving on a suspended license and the suspension was a result of a DUI or breath test refusal, the court can elect to impound the vehicle for another 90 days. Once the impoundment period expires, you’re responsible for all reasonable costs of the impoundment including towing expenses and storage. These costs can be quite expensive.
The police officer should issue a notice of impoundment to you, which should include information on your right to petition for review of the impoundment. If you have already retained a defense attorney, you’ll want to notify him or her of the impoundment as soon as possible to help you in getting your vehicle released. For example, the court may release the vehicle before the impoundment period expires if you can prove that your vehicle being impounded will bring great hardship to your family (i.e. your family only owns one vehicle – yours). In some instances, an experienced attorney can negotiate and file a motion for reimbursement of the impound fees if the DUI and driving under a suspended license charges brought against you are dropped or lowered.
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a DUI, call attorney Michelle Derrico today.
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