What Happens to Your Car After a DUI?

jul 08, 2024 Criminal Defense
What Happens to Your Car After a DUI?

Facing a DUI charge is an overwhelming experience, and the aftermath can bring many uncertainties, especially concerning what happens to your car. When you are arrested for a DUI in Chicago, your vehicle may be impounded, leading to additional costs and complications. The process of retrieving your car can be complex, involving fines, fees, and legal procedures that must be navigated carefully.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a DUI charge and the subsequent vehicle impoundment, it’s essential to seek legal guidance. At Touma Law, we focus on DUI defense and can help you understand your rights and options. Our experienced DUI attorneys in Greenville will work with you to navigate the legal and administrative hurdles, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

Call our firm today at (864) 618-2323 for a confidential consultation and let us assist you in reclaiming your vehicle and protecting your future.

Your Vehicle is Left on the Roadside

If you get arrested for driving with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit or under the influence of drugs, consider what to do with your vehicle. Ideally, the police officer will leave your car where they arrested you. This saves you from towing and impound fees. They may mark or tag it to inform the Highway Patrol. Alternatively, they may leave it as-is.

To retrieve your vehicle, ask a trusted sober driver or loved one with a valid license to pick it up. If not possible, you can get it yourself once released with a valid temporary driver’s license when you are not under the influence of alcohol. Act quickly to avoid problems with the police department if your vehicle stays on the roadside for too long without being moved or claimed.

Short Term Car Impoundment

Officers have the discretion on whether or not a drunk driver’s vehicle should be impounded. Sometimes, leaving the vehicle on the roadside is an option that saves the owner money on storage fees.

However, there are cases where officers choose vehicle impoundment for various reasons. One reason could be that they don’t want the responsibility of calling someone for help. Another is avoiding accidents on a busy roadway. Impounding the vehicle removes the burden on law enforcement personnel.

a car being towed

Another reason is when officers suspect the vehicle may have evidence related to a crime. Impounding allows for a thorough search without interference or tampering.

Although it may inconvenience the owner, it is an important tool for law enforcement in pursuing justice.

Long Term Car Impoundment

Driving on a suspended license can result in serious consequences. One of these consequences is the long-term impoundment of your vehicle. Whether your license was suspended administratively or due to a criminal penalty, law enforcement has limited flexibility in this matter.

Upon arrest, your vehicle will be impounded for a period of time of 30 days, causing inconvenience for those who heavily rely on their cars. If ultimately convicted, the impoundment can be extended by an additional 90 days. This serves as a punishment and deterrent against future violations.

Additionally, there is a financial burden associated with the impoundment, as the fees can quickly add up.

Impound Fees and Towing Fees After a DUI

DUI is a serious offense in Greenville, SC. It has severe consequences like fines, license suspension, and potential jail time. There are additional financial burdens too, like impound fees and towing fees.

After a DUI arrest, your vehicle may be impounded and towed to a lot. In Greenville, the impound lot will charge a daily fee. You also need to cover the towing fees, which can range from $100 to $350 depending on distance and the towing company. These fees can add up quickly if your vehicle stays impounded for long. Failure to pay may result in permanent loss of your vehicle.

To retrieve your impounded vehicle, you need to prove you are the registered owner, present a valid driver’s license, and show proof of insurance which your insurance company should provide. Keep in mind that it is likely that your insurance rates will go up even after receiving a first-time DUI.

You also need to pay all outstanding impound and towing fees. If you can’t afford the fees, you can arrange a payment plan or seek help from local organizations that provide financial aid in hardship situations.

Can the Police Search Your Car While It is Impounded?

A law enforcement officer is allowed to search your car after it’s been impounded to create a list of all the items inside. The search protects your property from being lost or stolen while in police custody. It also prevents disputes over missing items by providing concrete evidence.

Lastly, the search safeguards the police from potential danger or liability by documenting and securing all items found in the vehicle. This is especially important if you are being charged with an additional criminal offense on top of the DUI.

How to Get Your Car Back After It is Impounded for DUI

To get your impounded car back following your release from jail, you’ll need to gather the necessary documents:

  • Registration and insurance proof. Bring a registration card or ownership proof if you’re the owner of the motor vehicle.
  • For DUI convictions, provide SR22 insurance. Have enough funds to cover impound fees, which depend on time and location.
  • Contact the impound lot or police to know precise fees and payment methods.
  • If not the owner for validation purposes, bring their registration card, insurance proof, license, and enough funds.

Will I Lose My License After I’m Charged With DUI

If you’re charged with drunk driving offenses, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose your license, especially if it’s a first-time offense. Remember, being charged doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Take immediate steps after your arrest to prevent your license from being taken.

First, request a DMV hearing within 7 days of the drunk driving incident. Do this in writing and on time. The hearing lets you present your impaired driving case and defend your license to try and keep a clean driving record.

whiskey and car keys on a table

To avoid a loss of driving privileges, you may also be able to request a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. This device will allow you to drive with a restricted license as long as you show that you do not have an illegal blood alcohol concentration.

To navigate this process effectively, hire a criminal defense lawyer for legal representation. They’ll represent you at the hearing and in court. They have the knowledge and experience to handle this efficiently and increase your chances of keeping your license.

Requesting a hearing gets you a temporary license for 7 days or until the hearing. This way, you can still have driving privileges while waiting for your case to be resolved. Keep in mind that this temporary license will typically have more restrictions than a regular license, so you will want to be careful to adhere to those to avoid hefty fines.

Get Help From a DUI Attorney Today

If you have a DUI on your criminal record, it is essential to understand the potential consequences that await you, not only in terms of legal penalties but also the impact on your vehicle. From having to use a temporary driving permit to increased insurance costs, the entire process can be a lot to handle on your own.

The aftermath of a DUI can be overwhelming and confusing, but seeking help from an experienced defense lawyer in Greenville like Touma Law Group can make all the difference in protecting your rights and minimizing the consequences. Contact our firm today to book a consultation.

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