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What Happens To Your Car After A DUI?

Several things may happen to your car after getting a DUI. It all depends on what the police officer decides to do after your arrest and depending on your specific situation. Your car may be left on the side of the road, it could be impounded short term, or it could be impounded long term.

If you would like to contest the impoundment because you believe it was unfairly impounded during your arrest, our Illinois DUI defense attorneys can create a robust defense for you. Call DUI Lawyers 24/7 today at 847-999-7616 for a free, initial consultation. 

Your Vehicle is Left on the Roadside

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being arrested for a drunk driving charge, it's important to know what options you have regarding your vehicle. The ideal outcome is that the arresting officers leave your car right where they initially pulled you over. In this scenario, they may choose to mark or tag your vehicle so that Highway Patrol knows it has already been handled, or they may simply leave it as-is.

If your car is left on the roadside, you do have some options for retrieving it. One option is to reach out to a trusted friend who can come and pick up your vehicle for you. They will need to provide proof of ownership and possibly pay any necessary fees associated with retrieving the vehicle. Another option is to wait until you are released from custody and then go pick up your car yourself as long as your license is still valid.

It's crucial to act quickly in attempting to retrieve your vehicle if it has been left on the side of the road, especially if it's a busy roadway. If it sits there for an extended period without being claimed, it could be deemed abandoned and subsequently towed by local authorities. This will likely result in additional fees for the cost of towing and potentially other consequences like daily storage fees.

Short Term Car Impoundment

Upon making a DUI arrest, law enforcement officers have the discretion to choose whether or not to impound a vehicle. There are situations where officers may opt to impound a vehicle instead of just leaving it on the side of the road.

One reason could be that they do not want to deal with the task of calling the owner's relative to retrieve it. In such cases, vehicle impoundment ensures that it is safely stored while minimizing any inconvenience for the officers involved.

a tow truck taking a car to an impound lot

Another reason for choosing to impound a vehicle is when law enforcement officers have grounds to search it for potential evidence. By impounding and conducting a thorough search of the vehicle, officers can gather any necessary evidence required for ongoing investigations or legal proceedings.

This decision lies within their discretion and is often based on factors such as suspected criminal activity associated with the vehicle or reasonable suspicion of illegal drugs being present inside. Impounding allows them to conduct an extensive search without involving unnecessary delays or complications during an investigation.

When it comes to short-term car impoundment, you will be able to pick it up in a couple of days at a nearby impound location. However, there will be impound charges associated with the short-term impoundment that you will have to pay out of pocket. 

Long Term Car Impoundment

There are several reasons that your car may be impounded long term. If you receive a drunk driving criminal charge and you are driving on a suspended license, the police have little flexibility in this situation and are required to impound your vehicle. 

Upon your arrest, your car will be impounded for a full 30-120 days depending on the criminal offenses and your criminal record. The purpose of this long-term impoundment is to discourage individuals from driving without a valid license and to ensure public safety.

Not only is getting your car impounded long-term incredibly inconvenient, but it can also have significant financial implications. There are hefty fines associated with long-term impoundment and the fees can quickly add up during the court-ordered impoundment period.

Impound Fees and Towing Fees After a DUI

Impound fees and towing fees can be extremely expensive after receiving a DUI. In Chicago, you must pay an administrative fee of between $2,000 - $3,000 depending on where you were pulled over. For instance, the fine will be larger if you were arrested for drunk driving while operating a vehicle close to a school or a park where children are present.

After you pay the administrative fee, you will also have to pay the impoundment daily storage fees. Depending on where your car was impounded, this will be collected by either the towing company or the police department. 

a man putting a car on the bed of a tow truck

If your car has been impounded, it's crucial that you try to get it out as soon as possible, because not only do daily storage fees increase drastically, but if you don't get it out soon enough, the tow company could sell your car. If you need help from a lawyer to contest the impoundment and fight to diminish these fees on your behalf, contact DUI Lawyers 24/7 today.

Can the Police Search Your Car While It is Impounded?

In Illinois, police officers are permitted to conduct an inventory search of a car that has been impounded. The police are allowed to search the entirety of the car including the trunk and any bags or containers that they find in the car, and the police will create a detailed list of all the items present in the vehicle. 

How to Get Your Car Back After it is Impounded

To reclaim your impounded car, you will need a few essential documents. You must provide proof of registration as the registered owner of the vehicle and proof of insurance for the car. Another crucial document is your valid driver's license.

Learn More: How to Get Your License Back After a DUI

It is also essential to have enough money to cover all the fees associated with impounding your vehicle in order to get your car back. These fees may include towing charges, daily storage costs, administrative fees, and any outstanding fines or penalties. 

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

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to remember that being charged does not automatically mean you are guilty. However, there are steps you need to take immediately after your arrest to ensure that your license is not taken away.

One crucial step is to request a DMV hearing within 7 days of your arrest. This request must be made in writing, and it is highly recommended to hire an experienced attorney who can represent you at the hearing and through the DUI court process.

By requesting a DMV hearing, you will be issued a temporary license to drive for the duration of the 7-day period or until the DMV hearing takes place. This temporary license allows you to continue driving, but it is crucial to act quickly in requesting the hearing and securing proper representation. Failing to do so may result in a license suspension before any determination of guilt has been made.

Get Help from a DUI Attorney Today

If you have been arrested for a DUI in, it's important to act fast to minimize the impound period for your vehicle. To ensure that the period of time of impoundment is kept as short as possible, it is crucial to seek help from a skilled McHenry County DUI attorney. They will navigate through the legal process and advocate on your behalf to speed up the release of your vehicle.

At our firm, we understand the urgency of your situation, which is why we offer free, initial consultations with an attorney. Taking advantage of this opportunity could provide you with valuable insight into building your legal defense strategy and potentially securing a shorter impoundment period for your vehicle.

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