Can Your Vehicle Be Impounded If You’re Arrested For A DUI?

The short answer is yes. But it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the details of vehicle impoundment stemming from an arrest for DUI to fully understand your exposure. An experienced attorney can mount a DUI defense to help minimize the impact.

The police are likely to confiscate your vehicle to prevent you from having further access to it. If they believe you’re impaired, the last thing they want is for you to continue driving. To prevent that from happening, the police will usually have your vehicle towed at the time of arrest.

If you have a passenger who is not impaired, the officer may turn over your vehicle to that person. But that’s a rare consideration. In most cases, your vehicle will be taken to an impound lot.

Vehicle Impoundment After Being Arrested For DUI

The amount of time your vehicle will remain impounded will depend largely on how many times you’ve been arrested for DUI, and convicted.

If this is your first time, expect the impoundment period to last a minimum of 10 days. If you’ve been convicted for driving under the influence before, and importantly within the last five years, the impoundment will last a minimum of 30 days. If this is your third DUI conviction in 10 years, your vehicle must sit at the impound lot for a minimum of 90 days.

Florida vehicle impound laws, as they relate to DUI convictions, specify that if your family only has one vehicle, the court may, at its discretion, remove the impoundment order. Also worth noting, the period of impoundment must not coincide with time spent in incarceration.

What Is Vehicle Immobilization?

Vehicle immobilization is used to prevent a vehicle from moving. Tools employed for this purpose include wheel clamps, car boots, and steering wheel clubs. The idea is to preclude the arrested individual from regaining control of his or her vehicle.

Sometimes, vehicle immobilization is used concurrently with impoundment. For example, wheel clamps are left on a vehicle while it sits on the city impound lot. In many cases, however, it’s used as an alternative. For example, the vehicle is left at the arrested individual’s home, with clamps applied to the wheels. The vehicle is essentially impounded in place.

Another type of vehicle immobilization gaining in popularity is the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). The device is a handheld breathalyzer. The driver is forced to breathe into it before he or she can turn the ignition. If the individual’s breath registers alcohol, the driver is “locked out.”

How To Get Your Vehicle Out Of Impound

In order to retrieve your vehicle from the impound lot, you’ll need four items:

  1. sufficient cash to pay the associated impoundment fees
  2. a temporary driver’s license
  3. proof that you’re the registered owner
  4. proof of insurance

In the event you’re not convicted of driving under the influence, you’re still required to pay the impoundment fees.

The best way to minimize the impact of being arrested for DUI is to hire an experienced Orlando attorney who specializes in helping clients avoid DUI convictions. At Skubiak & Rivas, our Florida DUI defense attorneys have successfully defended thousands of clients against such charges. If you were pulled over for driving under the influence, call 407-894-4449 or fill out the form on this page. We’ll review your circumstances at zero cost to you.