Written by attorney David Nelson Jolly

DUI/DWI Guide to Vehicle Impound

Another penalty or sanction that many states have at their disposal is to impound the vehicle of the DUI offender. Eleven States have laws permitting impoundment for DUI related offenses (AK, CA, CT, FL, IA, KS, MO, MS, OR, VA, WA) and this does not include state laws where the impoundment is temporary (hours) to prevent impaired offenders from driving after release from arrest. Fell, James C., Voas, Robert B., McKnight, A. Scott, and Levy, Marvin. A National Survey of Vehicle Sanction Laws for Alcohol-Related Driving Offenses in the United States: Preliminary Findings. Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, Calverton, MD National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, DC. Seattle, Wa. (2007) There have been studies conducted based on vehicular impounding and the reduction of subsequent "driving while license suspended" (DWLS) offenses. A NHTSA funded study of vehicle sanctions in 1997 evaluated the deterrent effect of a 30-day vehicle impoundment law for unlicensed driving implemented in California. DeYoung, D.J. An evaluation of the specific deterrence effect of vehicle impoundment on suspended, revoked and unlicensed drivers in California. Report No. DOT HS 808 727. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (1997) Prior to the study in the United States a similar study was completed in 1989 in the Province of Manitoba that evaluated a 30-day (first-offense), 60-day (second-offense) DWLS vehicle impoundment program. Beirness, D. J., Simpson, H. M., Mayhew, D. R., and Jonah, B. J. The impact of administrative license suspension and vehicle impoundment for DWI in Manitoba. (1997) The studies concluded that subsequent DWLS offenses were reduced as a direct result of the vehicle impoundment programs. However, what these studies did not affirmatively address was if this program directly reduced further DUI offenses by these individuals. As a result, in the DUI context, lengthy vehicle impoundment appears to be primarily punitive.

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