Arrested For DUI In Arizona, Will My Car Be Impounded?
Mesa’s Leading DUI Attorneys Discuss Arizona’s Impound Law
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you probably already understand that you are facing serious legal consequences. You should also expect to spend thousands of dollars on your defense, fines, and other incidental costs. When the costs of DUI are discussed, it typically is focused on the amount of fines you will be ordered to pay, your minimum jail sentence, etc. Another less commonly discussed cost of a DUI arrest is access to your vehicle. Not only will this cost you financially, but it may cause severe inconveniences in your daily life. Your job may also require that you have reliable transportation, so a DUI impound could put your source of income in jeopardy.
What Does It Mean If My Car Is Impounded?
When your car is impounded, police will have your car towed to an impound lot where it will be held for a certain period of time. When that time period has elapsed, you may pick up your vehicle from the impound lot. You will need to pay a daily holding fee as well as an administrative fee before your vehicle will be released to you. If you don’t pick up your vehicle in a certain amount of time, the impound lot may file for an abandoned title to your vehicle.
Will My Car Be Impounded If Arrested For DUI In Arizona?
There are several DUI factors that could result in your vehicle being impounded after an arrest in Arizona. The police officer may impound your vehicle if you are arrested for aggravated DUI. There are four factors that can elevate a normal DUI charge, a misdemeanor, to an aggravated DUI charge, a felony. First, having a passenger under 15 years old with you at the time of arrest is grounds for an aggravated DUI. Second, you can be charged with aggravated DUI if you already have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. You can also receive one for driving with a license that is suspended, revoked, etc. You will also be charged with aggravated DUI if this is your third or subsequent DUI in a 7 year period. Your vehicle may also be impounded depending on your BAC.
Arizona has many levels of DUI charges, ranging from impaired to the slightest degree to aggravated DUI. Most of these levels depend on your BAC, or blood alcohol content, at the time of arrest. A police officer can use their discretion to arrest you for DUI impaired to the slightest degree for a BAC between .04-.079. You will be presumed to be intoxicated when your BAC reaches .08 or higher, for a per se DUI. When your BAC is between .14 and .199, your charges will be increased to Extreme DUI. For a BAC of .20 or higher, the charges are further increased to Super Extreme DUI. In Arizona, your vehicle can be impounded for an Extreme or Super Extreme DUI arrest. A minor (under 21 years of age) can have their vehicle impounded for driving with any amount of alcohol in their system.
Do All Cities In AZ Go By Arizona’s Impound Law?
You are more likely to have your vehicle impounded after a DUI arrest in some Arizona cities than others. Scottsdale and Tempe are notorious for impounding vehicles during DUI arrests. In other cities, the officer may use their discretion to not impound your vehicle when acceptable by law. The officer may actually allow you to park your vehicle and wait for someone to pick it up as opposed to having the vehicle towed.
Impound Law For a 2nd DUI In Arizona
Per Arizona Revised Statute §28-511, anyone who is arrested for DUI in Arizona for a second time will have their vehicle impounded for 30 days. Lawmakers created this rule because impounding repeat offenders’ vehicles helps reduce repeat DUI offenses (38%), as well as DUI-related crashes (4%). You will also be facing increased minimums of all the standard DUI penalties, like fines, jail time, use of an ignition interlock device, license suspension or revocation, community service hours, and more. You should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you if arrested for DUI for a second time in Arizona.
Exceptions To The Arizona Impound Law
Your car is not necessarily impounded in every Arizona DUI arrest. If you are arrested for a BAC between .04-.139, your vehicle doesn’t need to be impounded under Arizona law. The driver’s chances of avoiding an impound are increased if you have a sober passenger, especially if that passenger is your spouse. The police officer may release the vehicle to your spouse if they promise to drive the vehicle home.
Another exception is possible if the driver was arrested while driving on a suspended license. If this is the case, the driver must prove they have reinstated their license to have their vehicle released. The driver will still be responsible for the administrative fee as well as the daily storage fee for however many days the car was in the impound lot.
An impounded vehicle may also be released early if the driver charged with DUI is married and their spouse is on the title or registration of the vehicle. That person would need to present the title/registration, their driver’s license, and proof of current insurance information in order for the vehicle to be released. The spouse will also need to pay the administrative fee and storage fees for however many days the car was stored. There is another restriction to his exception that makes it particularly strict. The spouse must sign an agreement stating they will not let the spouse charged with Extreme or Super Extreme DUI drive the vehicle for one year. The spouse faces civil liability if they violate the agreement and let the arrested spouse drive the vehicle during that one year period.
So How Much Will a Vehicle Impound Actually Cost Me?
In Arizona, an impound lot may charge up to $150 for administrative fees after a DUI impound. Storage fees are limited to $15 per day. If you pick your vehicle the first day it is available, you will be charged $15 x 30 days ($450) plus the administrative fee, for a total of $600. Your total will increase by $15 for each day you don’t retrieve your vehicle. Don’t wait longer than 10 days to pick up your vehicle, or the impound lot can file for an abandonment title.
Call Our Arizona Zero Down DUI Attorneys Today!
A vehicle impound is just one of the many penalties you will face after a DUI arrest in Arizona. Having a DUI on your record can also preclude you from several opportunities in life. That’s why you should hire a DUI defense attorney that you can trust. From helping you retrieve your vehicle from the impound lot, to reviewing the evidence in your case to craft a defense and negotiate a plea bargain, your Arizona Zero Down DUI Attorney will make every step of the DUI process much easier. Don’t wait after a DUI arrest- schedule your free case evaluation with one of our defense attorneys as soon as possible. Learn about your potential case outcomes and your protections under Arizona law with your free consultation today. Call us or use our online form to schedule an appointment.
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