As if the legal consequences associated with a DUI arrest aren’t enough trouble, many Florida DUI defendants also have to worry about recovering their car after it’s been impounded. Vehicle impoundment is the legal process of stationing a car at a lot or tow yard, which is a holding place for vehicles until they’re placed back in the owner’s control, recycled for metal, or stripped for parts. In Florida, it’s required by state law for any vehicle to be impounded after a DUI conviction.
Florida drivers may have their car impounded by the court for at least 10 days and up to 30 days after being convicted of their first DUI. Vehicle impoundment is meant to discourage future drunk driving incidents. The required duration to impound your car doesn’t begin until after you’ve served jail time, if applicable. This means that after you serve your sentence, your vehicle will be impounded for a certain number of days imposed by the court.
What Does Impoundment Mean?
Impoundment refers to putting your car in a tow or impoundment lot, which is where vehicles are kept until the owner can come and claim them. If a vehicle’s owner doesn’t claim their car after a certain period of time, the impound or tow lot can recycle the car’s metal, strip its parts for a wrecking yard, or sell it at auction to make a profit.
How Long Will Your Car Be Impounded after a DUI in Florida?
After you’re convicted of a DUI in Florida, the minimum amount of time your car will be impounded corresponds to the number of times you’ve been arrested for DUI.
- If this is your first offense: A minimum of 10 days
- If this is your second offense: A minimum of 30 days
- If this is your third or subsequent offense: A minimum of 90 days
If you’re serving time in jail, impoundment will start after you’re released. For help sidestepping the consequences associated with a conviction—including vehicle impoundment—it’s crucial that you get in touch with an experienced West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
How Much Does Impoundment Cost?
In most cases, your car will be towed to the impound lot and you’ll be responsible for the towing fees. This price usually begins at about $90, but can escalate depending on the circumstances of the tow. Factors that can add to the costs that you will pay the towing company include the following:
- If there was a steering wheel bar or boot that had to be removed
- If the car wasn’t in a condition where it could be pulled and it had to be put on a flatbed truck
- The distance the car was taken
Likewise, the city will have an impound fee, which varies among jurisdictions. It typically involves a daily charge, and you may also be required to pay a release fee.
The Florida court does allow a few exceptions to having your car impounded. If you can show that it’s the only vehicle and the only transportation your family has, the impound requirement may be waived. Another exception is if the vehicle is only used for work and is driven by the defendant’s employee for work purposes only.
Contact West Palm Beach DUI Defense Lawyer Brian Gabriel
If you face a driving under the influence charge near West Palm Beach and wish to avoid impounding your car, speak with a seasoned DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. For questions about vehicle impoundment or to discuss DUI defense strategies contact Brian Gabriel, a West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, today. Attorney Brian Gabriel is dedicated to protecting your rights by investigating your case in detail and building a sturdy defense.
Attorney Brian Gabriel has served the community of West Palm Beach for more than 30 years as a DUI defense attorney. He understands the complexities involved in these cases and can help protect your reputation and future. After a DUI arrest, you can be assured that you’re in good hands and that Attorney Brian Gabriel will fight for your rights. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form for a free consultation.