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Once I am Arrested, What Happens to My Vehicle? Campbell Whitten is here to help you fight any battle!

What Happens to Your Vehicle After DUI?

Arrested for a DUI in Bakersfield? Call (661) 771-3077!

Driving under the influence arrests always have two key components: the driver and their vehicle. For as much trouble as you might be facing after being arrested and charged with a DUI in California, your car might be in just as much, if not more. Depending on the location of your vehicle and any prior DUI convictions, your vehicle can be towed and impounded.

To prepare yourself to challenge your DUI charges, you need to fully understand what happens during the DUI process from start to finish, and that includes what happens to your vehicle.

Initial Consequences and Towing

When a highway patrol officer decides that you are too intoxicated to drive and puts you in cuffs, you are going to be at the police station before you know it. In addition to the consequences of a DUI charge, you will be faced with the costly fees of towing your vehicle. In most cases, the police will have partnered with a local tow company for these situations.

A tow truck arrives after you have been arrested and your vehicle will be taken to a vehicle impound lot. If your vehicle gets towed, the towing fees will be passed onto you upon release. Retrieving your vehicle from an impound lot requires additional payment, adding to the stress of DUI penalties in California.

Charged with a DUI in Bakersfield? Contact our DUI Defense Lawyers Now!

2 Ways You Can Avoid Having Your Vehicle Towed:

  • Sober passenger: The police may allow a sober, legally-licensed passenger to drive your vehicle home if you permit it. Although, they might also be in cuffs for allowing you to drive while intoxicated so this might not always be an option.
  • Safe location: If you were not pulled over on the side of the highway but instead in a parking lot or another location relatively clear of traffic, it may be deemed that your car is safe to stay there for the time being. This is an uncommon practice, though, so you should not bank on it.

Car Impounded After DUI

In California, your vehicle usually won't be impounded for a considerable amount of time until you have been arrested for your third DUI offense in five years. If your vehicle has been impounded, the judge can also impound your vehicle as part of your DUI punishment. Your vehicle will be impounded for 1st and 2nd offense DUIs in California. Subsuquent DUIs will result in 90-day impoundments.

This is a lenient side of the law, as having a vehicle impounded is expensive and is usually seen as excessive for first or second-time offenders. Every state has its own set of laws regarding when a vehicle should be impounded after a DUI, or whether or not it should be stowed in a tow yard and for how long.

Rather than impounding or confiscating your car, the criminal justice system is likely to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Not only does this device stop you from driving if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is too high, but the state also taxes you for each month it is installed. In this way, it is a strange win-win: you can continue to drive your car so long as you are sober, and the state gets money out of you all the same.

Challenging Impoundment and Other Penalties

The decision to confiscate your vehicle after a DUI is not usually a criminal matter, so it will not go to criminal court. A civil court will oversee the process instead, which allows you a chance to appeal the decision or otherwise challenge it upfront. If you are facing serious criminal penalties for a DUI arrest in California, you should retain a trustworthy Bakersfield DUI lawyer and ask them about also fighting your car’s impoundment.

At Campbell Whitten, our Bakersfield DUI attorneys can handle your DUI case from top to bottom. From questioning the validity of the evidence against you to arguing that vehicle impoundment is far too excessive for your alleged wrongdoing, we are always hard-hitting and quick-to-the-draw for our clients.

We pride ourselves in being cutting-edge and creative, never looking at any case from just one angle, and we would be happy to bring that level of service to you.

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