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Where were you arrested? A DUI is a state offense, but each jurisdiction handles them slightly differently.

Arizona's Thirty-Day Car Impound Law

Many of our clients whom are arrested for certain types of DUI are shocked to find out in addition to having to face criminal charges and potential driver's license repercussions that they are also losing their vehicle for a whole month. This is due to a law in Arizona (Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-3511. The following are questions we are often asked about thirty-day car impounds.

Why Is My Car Being Impounded For Thirty Days?

This is due to a law in Arizona (Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-3511) which requires vehicles be towed and impounded for 30 days for any of the following violations:

  • Extreme DUI- Where the driver arrested for DUI has a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 or above. ( Note: A reading on a portable breath test is sufficient the police don't need a blood result or an Intoxilyzer 8000 result).
  • Aggravated DUI- when the driver is arrested for DUI and:

(1) the driver has a suspended driver's license;

(2) the driver has two previous DUI convictions within seven years,

(3) there is a child fifteen-years of age or younger in the car).

  • The driver is under 21 with any amount of alcohol in their system.
  • Violation of an ignition interlock requirement (driving in a car without an ignition interlock device when the driver is required to have one installed).

-Other non-DUI related violations resulting in a thirty-day impound include:

  • Suspended driver's license.
  • Revoked driver's license.
  • No driver's license and no record of ever having one.
  • Cancelled driver's license (must also be involved in a collision and not provide insurance).

Can my spouse get my car out early for me?

In certain situations, the spouse of the owner of the vehicle may also enter into an agreement with the applicable Police Department stating they will not let a driver arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI, or a minor in possession of alcohol to drive the vehicle within one year. If the agreement is violated, there is no relief available from the 30 day impound period within the next year.

How much does it cost to your vehicle back?

Arizona law requires the owner to pay for all towing charges as well as storage fees. Storage fees are limited to a maximum of $15.00 per day. These charges are due to the towing company that removed and is storing your vehicle. In addition, pursuant to ARS 28-3514, the owner is liable for an administrative fee of $150.00 paid with cash, cashier's check or money order payable to the City of Phoenix.

How do I get my vehicle back?

Only the applicable Police Department can release your vehicle. On or after the 30th day of impound, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you.

To receive the release paperwork, follow these steps:

· You must pay an Administrative Fee of $150 with cash, cashier's check or money order payable to City Phoenix. Upon payment of the fee you will be given a copy of a release form that you must take to the towing company.

  • At the towing company, you must pay the towing and storage fees. Payment is made directly to the towing company by cash, money order, certified check or credit card. If you arrive at the tow yard to reclaim your vehicle outside of regular business hours, you may be charged a gate fee. You must also present proof of your identity and ownership to the tow company.

· If you do not claim your vehicle within ten (10) days of the available release date, the towing company may file for an abandoned title to the vehicle.

What if someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle when it was impounded?

The registered owner of the vehicle must pay the $150.00 Administrative Fee with cash, cashier's check or money order payable to the applicable City or Police Department. A valid driver's license, current vehicle registration and proof of mandatory auto insurance must be presented. The registered owner must also pay for all towing fees and storage charges directly to the towing company in order to qualify for the release of the vehicle.

If the owner was driving on a suspended license but has since had the license restored to valid status, can the vehicle be released prior to the 30-day period?

Yes. The owner would have to prove that this had been corrected and their driving privileges reinstated, at which time we will release the vehicle upon payment of an administrative fee of $150 and towing and storage charges. Should the owner get the vehicle released early they are still liable for the administrative fee ($150) and all towing and storage fees up to the actual date of release.

At the end of the 30 days, can the driver just go to the towing company and get their vehicle?

No, the towing company is not allowed to release an impounded vehicle without paperwork from the applicable Police Department. You must follow the claim process outlined above.

If the driver is found not guilty on their criminal or traffic charges will that affect the impoundment of their vehicle?

No. As long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to the law and Police Department policies and procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.

If you are arrested and/or charged with DUI. Please contact the Rosenstein Law Group at (480) 248-7666 for a free consultation. We are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

 

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We support Scottsdale's Taste of the Town festival that benefits the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association as well as the annual Toys for Tots campaign. Our firm also contributes to a number of other local organizations, including Home 'Fur' Good, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating the euthanasia of adoptable homeless cats and dogs in Maricopa County.
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