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Why Is My Vehicle Being Impounded?

Posted by attorney Jonathan Dichter

Vehicle impoundment is a popular penalty imposed by law enforcement agencies for crimes such as DUI or failing to pay a traffic ticket on time. Having a vehicle impounded is a serious hindrance for the owner of the car, and may affect their ability to work and live a normal life.

It is a well-known fact that there are consequences for committing a crime. In some criminal cases, the government has the right to confiscate the property of the convicted individual in order to keep the public safe and prevent future crimes from being committed. If you have been accused of a DUI or have failed to pay traffic tickets in a timely manner, a law enforcement officer has the legal authority to impound your vehicle.

Having your vehicle impounded simply means that your vehicle will be towed and put in storage for a certain period of time (typically 30 days). Police officers are required by law to follow a certain procedure for vehicle impoundment that includes filing a report and in some cases, completing a vehicle/property receipt listing the complete inventory of the vehicle as well. The procedure of vehicle impoundment is as follows: law enforcement officials will have the vehicle towed to a certain location and will send a notice via certified mail to the owner of the vehicle within seven business days. The notice informs the owner that they will be liable for paying all of the applicable fees, including cost of citation, late fees, storage fees and towing fees, before their vehicle will be released. These fees can add up to a total of nearly $1,000.

Once the allotted period of time has passed and the fees have been paid, the vehicle owner can reclaim their vehicle by providing a valid driver’s license and proof of payment to the police department. The lot where the car is stored cannot release the vehicle without the approval of the law enforcement agency that initiated the impoundment.

What is the purpose of vehicle impoundment? Many law enforcement agencies choose this form of punishment to give the offender time to reflect on the act that caused the impoundment. Vehicle impoundment is a huge inconvenience for the owner of the car, and may substantially impact their work and social life. Law enforcement also prefers vehicle impoundment as a form of punishment because of the lesser amount of costs that are incurred by their agency.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in the state of Washington, there is a high chance that your vehicle will be impounded automatically. There are several legal options available for you to challenge the impoundment and obtain an early release of your vehicle or financial compensation. With the help of a skilled Lynnwood DUI lawyer, you can take action to avoid the headaches and stress involved with vehicle impoundment.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Dichter Law Office, PLLC was founded to provide dedicated legal support to individuals accused of criminal offenses such as DUI in Lynnwood, Washington. Founding attorney Jonathan Dichter has committed his career to become a well-respected and well-renowned criminal defense attorney in Western Washington. His hard work ethic and passion for providing high-quality defense has benefited numerous clients who come to Dichter Law Office, PLLC for help with their criminal charges. Attorney Jonathan Dichter is available to his clients 24/7 to answer questions and provide caring legal counsel. Our family owned and operated firm will work tirelessly to build you the strong defense you deserve so that you can avoid vehicle impoundment and other penalties. Contact a Lynnwood DUI attorney at our firm today, and visit to learn more.

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