Getting pulled over by the police can be a hassle, especially when it involves a misunderstanding that you can clear up later. Unfortunately, a number of vehicle offenses also the police to impound your vehicle, adding additional expense and inconvenience. California Vehicle Code Section 22651 VC provides for situations when police have the authority to impound a vehicle. If you have questions about your rights after a DUI or vehicle violation, contact your local East Bay criminal and DUI defense lawyer.
Vehicle Code 22651 VC Text
Under California Vehicle Code Section 22651, a law enforcement officer who is engaged in enforcing vehicle laws can remove a vehicle if the officer arrests the person driving or in control of a vehicle for an alleged offense. This may happen if the police suspect a driver of driving under the influence and arrest the driver.
If the police arrest a driver for a DUI, they can impound the vehicle even if the vehicle is parked legally. A vehicle may also be impounded if a driver is arrested for street racing or evading police.
A vehicle can also be impounded in the following circumstances:
- If a vehicle is left unattended upon a bridge, viaduct, or causeway or in a tube or tunnel where the vehicle constitutes an obstruction to traffic.
- If a vehicle is obstructing the normal movement of traffic or in a condition so as to create a hazard to other traffic upon the highway.
- If a vehicle is reported stolen.
- If a vehicle is illegally parked so as to block the entrance to a private driveway.
- If a vehicle is illegally parked so as to prevent access by firefighting equipment to a fire hydrant.
- If a vehicle is stopped, parked, or left standing for more than four hours upon the right-of-way of a freeway that has full control of access and no crossings at grade and the driver, if present, cannot move the vehicle under its own power.
- If the driver is injured to an extent so as to be unable to provide for its custody or removal.
Impounded for 5 or More Tickets
It is not difficult for a vehicle to receive 5 or more tickets in the East Bay. A driver may think their vehicle is legally parked before going out of town for a week. Parking just over the edge of a driveway, too close to a fire hydrant, or in an area where vehicles cannot be parked for more than a day can result in multiple tickets in a short period of time. In some cases, a serious accident could put the driver in the hospital for a week or more and they are unable to move their car. After too many tickets, a vehicle can be impounded.
If a vehicle has been issued 5 or more notices of parking violations and the owner has not responded within 14 or 21 days, the vehicle can be impounded until the owner furnishes the following:
- Evidence of his or her identity.
- An address within this state where he or she can be located.
- Satisfactory evidence that all parking penalties due for the vehicle, all other vehicles, and all traffic violations of the registered owner, have been cleared.
Impounded Vehicle at a DUI Checkpoint
Sobriety checkpoints do not just check to see if drivers have a valid license. If the driver is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police may arrest the driver for a DUI even if the driver was stopped randomly. After the arrest, law enforcement will likely have the vehicle impounded.
How Do I Get My Car Back After a DUI?
If you are arrested for a DUI or your vehicle was towed away for having too many tickets, you may need to contact the police department to find out where your vehicle was taken. Many cities contract with a private towing company with their own fees for towing and vehicle storage. Contact the impound lot to find out what you need to do to get the vehicle back. This generally includes paying the fees and providing:
- Valid driver's license
- Proof of registration
- Proof of insurance
If your vehicle was towed because of parking tickets, you may need to pay all of your parking tickets before you can get your vehicle back. Each city may have its own policy on towing and storage rages.
Defense Lawyer for DUI Charges in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 36 years of criminal defense experience and understands how difficult it can be to lose your car after a mistaken arrest. Representing drivers in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI and vehicle laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.