What Happens If Your Car Is Impounded By Police?

What Happens If Your Car Is Impounded By Police - How To Find Out If Your Car Was Impounded By Police - How To Get A Car Out Of Impound - How Much Does It Cost To Get Car Out Of Impound

What happens if your car is impounded by police?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • what happens if your car is impounded by police
  • if the police impounded your car, how do you get it back
  • how long can the police hold your car in impound
  • how to find out if your car was impounded by police 
  • how to get a car out of impound
  • how much it costs to get car out of impound

Let’s dig in.

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What Happens If Your Car Is Impounded By Police?

When police impound your car, they take it and store it in a secured lot. 

Here’s a straightforward breakdown of what happens next:

  • Reason for Impoundment: First, understand why the police impounded your car. Common reasons include illegal parking, being involved in a crime, or if the driver lacks a valid license.
  • Notification: Usually, you will receive a notice or some form of communication from the police or impound lot. This informs you that they’ve taken your car and provides details about how to retrieve it.
  • Storage Fees: For every day your car is in the impound lot, you’ll likely incur a fee. These fees can add up, so it’s best to act quickly.
  • Retrieve Your Vehicle: To get your car back, visit the impound lot. You’ll typically need to show proof of ownership, like a car title or registration, and may need to pay any outstanding fines or fees related to the reason it was impounded.
  • Potential Auction: If you don’t claim your vehicle within a certain time frame, the impound lot might auction it off to recover their storage costs.
  • Impact on Insurance: Having your car impounded might raise your insurance premiums. Your insurance company sees impoundments as risky and might adjust your rates accordingly.

If The Police Impounded My Car, How Do I Get It Back?

To get your impounded car back from the police, follow these steps:

  • Find Out the Location: Determine where your car has been stored. The police should provide this information. If not, contact the local police station or check their website.
  • Gather Essential Documents: You’ll typically need your identification (like a driver’s license), the car’s registration, and proof of insurance.
  • Understand the Impound Reason: It’s important to know why your car was impounded. This can help in preparing for any fees or requirements.
  • Pay the Impound Fees: These fees may include daily storage charges and towing costs. Check what payment methods are accepted.
  • Resolve Any Legal Issues: If your car was impounded due to unpaid tickets or other legal issues, resolve them. This might involve paying fines or attending required courses.
  • Visit the Impound Lot: Go to the lot during its business hours, armed with your documents and payment. Some lots have specific times when they release vehicles.
  • Inspect Your Car Before Leaving: Before driving away, ensure your vehicle hasn’t been damaged during its stay at the impound. If you find damages, report them immediately.

Read More: Why Do Cops Touch The Back Of Your Car?

How Long Can The Police Hold Your Car In Impound?

The length of time the police can hold your car in impound varies based on the reason for impounding and local regulations. 

Here is a general guideline for how long the police can hold your car in an impound:

  • Traffic Violations or Minor Offenses: If your car was impounded for a minor traffic offense, unpaid parking tickets, or similar reasons, it can usually be retrieved once the relevant fines are paid and any other conditions are met. However, if you don’t retrieve it within a specified period (often between 30 to 60 days), the vehicle might be considered abandoned and could be auctioned off or scrapped.
  • Crime-Related Impounds: If your car was involved in a crime or is considered evidence, the police can hold it for the duration of the investigation and any subsequent trial. This can range from a few days to several months or even longer.
  • DUI/DWI Impounds: Some jurisdictions have mandatory impound durations for DUI/DWI offenses, which can range from a few days to 30 days or more.
  • Safety Violations: If your vehicle was impounded because it was deemed unsafe (e.g., lacking essential equipment), you’d need to show proof of correction before getting it back.
  • Local Ordinances and Policies: Specific local rules and regulations can affect how long a car is impounded. For instance, some cities have policies to combat vehicle-related nuisances, and the duration might be longer.
  • Accumulated Fees: If the car isn’t picked up promptly, impound fees can accumulate. If fees exceed the car’s value, the owner might decide to abandon it, and the impound lot could auction the vehicle.

How To Find Out If Your Car Was Impounded By Police

To find out if your car was impounded by the police, follow these steps:

  • Call Local Police or Sheriff’s Department: If you suspect your car has been towed by the police, the first step is to call your local police station or sheriff’s department. They should be able to tell you if they authorized the tow and where the vehicle was taken.
  • Contact Local Towing Companies: If the police department doesn’t have a record of your vehicle, it’s possible that it was towed for another reason, such as a parking violation or being considered a hazard. Calling local towing companies can help identify if any of them have your vehicle.
  • Check Online Databases: Some cities and municipalities offer online databases where you can search for impounded vehicles using your license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Visit in Person: If you’re unable to get clear information over the phone or online, consider visiting the local police station in person. They might have more detailed records or be able to guide you to the right department.
  • Ask Around: If your car was parked in a public place or a private lot, nearby businesses or residents might have seen the towing. They could provide clues about why it was towed and by whom.
  • Review Local Regulations: Different cities and municipalities have different rules about towing and impoundment. Familiarizing yourself with these can give you a better idea of why your car might have been towed and where it could be.
  • Gather Essential Documents: Once you’ve located your impounded vehicle, you’ll typically need certain documents to retrieve it. This includes proof of ownership, identification, and proof of insurance.

Read More: How Long Can A Car Be Parked On A Residential Street?

How To Get A Car Out Of Impound

To get a car out of the compound: 

  • Locate the Impound Lot: Determine where your car is. This information can often be obtained from the local police or by contacting towing companies.
  • Prepare Essential Documents: Have your valid driver’s license for identification, the vehicle’s title or registration as proof of ownership, and current vehicle insurance.
  • Determine the Fees: Call the impound lot to find out the total amount due, including daily storage fees, towing charges, and any administrative costs. Ask about accepted payment methods.
  • Resolve Legal Issues: Address any specific legal reasons that led to the impoundment, such as unpaid tickets or other violations. This may involve paying fines or attending required courses.
  • Visit the Impound Lot: Ensure you go during their operating hours, and bring all the necessary documents and payment.
  • Inspect Your Car: Before leaving, check your vehicle for any damages. Report any issues immediately while you’re still at the lot.
  • Pay the Fees: Settle all outstanding charges. Request an itemized receipt for your records.
  • Retrieve Your Vehicle: Once everything is in order, you can drive your car out of the impound.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Car Out Of Impound?

The cost to get a car out of impound can vary widely based on several factors. 

Here are the main things that contribute to the cost of getting a car out of the compound:

  • Towing Fee: This is the charge for initially towing your car to the impound lot. The fee can range from $100 to $500 or more, depending on the location, time of day, and the distance traveled.
  • Daily Storage Fee: Impound lots charge a daily rate for storing vehicles. These fees can range from $10 to $100 or more per day, depending on the facility, city, and state.
  • Administrative Fee: Some impound lots may charge an administrative fee to cover the costs of processing the impounded vehicle. This can add another $50 to $400.
  • Lien Fees: If the reason for impounding was due to unpaid parking tickets or other fines, the impound lot might charge a fee to process the lien. This can add anywhere from $20 to $200.
  • Release Fee: Sometimes there’s a separate fee just to release the vehicle, ranging from $50 to $300.
  • Fines or Tickets: If your car was impounded due to legal reasons, such as unpaid tickets or other violations, you’ll need to pay those fines as well.
  • Additional Costs: There might be extra costs for special services, such as if a locksmith needs to be called because keys are locked inside the vehicle.

Getting Your Car Back From The Police

If your car was confiscated by the police, fill out the form on this page.

Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience you need to defend your rights.

This way, you don’t wrongfully lose your car.

You deserve a fair trial in the criminal justice system.

We can provide you with that.

Talk soon.

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