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Will police impound my car after a DUI?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | DUI Defense

If you get a DUI conviction, you can expect a license suspension, a fine between $500 (for your first offense) and $4,000 (at a certain number of convictions), and possibly imprisonment of not more than six months (which is up to the court’s discretion).

But what happens to your car upon your conviction?

Impounding cars involved in DUI

While some other states only impound automobiles after a second DUI conviction, in Florida, the authorities will impound all vehicles involved in a DUI – even if the driver just received their first DUI conviction.

The length of time your vehicle can stay impounded depends on how many convictions you’ve had within a certain timeframe:

  • First conviction: Vehicle impounded for 10 days.
  • Second conviction within five years: Vehicle impounded for 30 days.
  • Third conviction within 10 years, and subsequent convictions: Vehicle impounded for 90 days.

State laws also explain that the impoundment occurs after the driver serves their prison sentence.

Dismissing impoundments

There are cases when courts can dismiss impoundments if the following situations apply:

  • The owner of the impounded vehicle – but not the driver at the time of the offense – submits a police report proving that the car was stolen at the time of the offense.
  • The court finds that the family of the owner of the vehicle doesn’t have any other means of private or public transportation.
  • If it’s proven that the impounded vehicle is a business vehicle used by the defendant’s employees.
  • The defendant can prove the vehicle has a functioning ignition interlock device.

Seeking legal aid

Vehicle impounds are meant to teach DUI offenders that drunk driving is a reckless mistake. But they also can inconvenience households and home businesses that depend on the affected automobiles. If you want to avoid getting your vehicle impounded, you might want to consider tapping the services of an attorney to appeal your DUI conviction.