Vehicle Impound and Forfeiture Laws for an Arizona DUI

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Consequences of a DUI: Vehicle Impoundment and Forfeiture 

A first-time DUI is a serious offense; however, the stakes are even higher for individuals arrested for a second or third DUI. In addition to facing harsher penalties and longer license suspensions, these individuals may be subject to forfeiture.

At the Shaw Law Firm, we understand how confusing and overwhelming the legal process can be, especially regarding possible vehicle impoundment after a DUI. 

If you are found guilty of more than one DUI in Arizona or a first-time DUI that is extreme or aggravated, your car may be impounded.

This means the government can seize and keep your car, even if you are not the owner. This can devastate individuals who rely on their vehicles for work or transportation.

This article will explore what happens to your vehicle if you are convicted of a second DUI in Arizona.

We will cover the following topics:

Car towed because of a DUI arrest

How Long Will Your Vehicle Be Impounded in Arizona

Suppose you are arrested for a second DUI charge; your vehicle may be subject to impoundment.

The length of impoundment can vary depending on the circumstances of your case.

Here’s what you need to know about how long your vehicle may be impounded in Arizona:

  • For a first-time DUI offense, your vehicle will not be subject to impoundment unless there are aggravating circumstances, such as driving with a suspended license or having a child in the car. Or if the first-time DUI was aggressive. 
  • If you are arrested for a second DUI offense in Arizona within seven years of your first offense, your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days.
  • If you are arrested for a third DUI offense in Arizona within seven years of your second offense, your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days.

It’s important to note that the impoundment period starts from the day of your arrest, not the day of your conviction.

If your case takes longer to finish, you may be unable to use your car for longer.

If your vehicle is impounded, you will be responsible for the cost, which can range in price. But you have to pay an extra $150 on top of the cost of storing your car, which is capped at $15 per day, plus the cost of towing it.

Keep in mind that a lawyer may be able to argue for a reduction in the impoundment period or challenge the impoundment altogether.

Challenges and Scenarios that can Affect an Impounded Vehicle Due to a DUI Offense

A vehicle impounded due to a DUI charge in Arizona can significantly impact the owner or operator’s daily life.

Depending on the circumstances, the impoundment may be temporary or permanent, and the owner may face various challenges.

Here are three scenarios that can affect an impounded vehicle:

  1. Rental: If the impounded vehicle is a rental car, the rental company will be notified of the impoundment. The rental company may charge additional fees or penalties, and the renter may be responsible for the cost of impoundment. If the rental car was impounded due to a DUI offense, the renter’s driving privileges might be suspended or revoked, impacting their future ability to rent a car.
  2. Different Owner: If the impounded vehicle is owned by someone other than the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the DUI, the owner may still be subject to impoundment and forfeiture. The owner may face the same challenges as the operator, such as the cost of impoundment and loss of vehicle use. However, an experienced DUI defense lawyer may be able to help the owner contest the impoundment and protect their rights.
  3. Can’t Afford: If the owner of an impounded vehicle cannot afford to pay the cost of impoundment, the vehicle may be sold at auction, and the proceeds may be used to pay the impoundment fees. If the vehicle is forfeited, the owner will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the vehicle.

How to contest an impounded vehicle because of a drunk driving conviction

How to Contest Vehicle Impoundment and Forfeiture

If your vehicle has been impounded or forfeited in Arizona due to a DUI, you have the right to contest the action. 

Here’s what you need to know about how to contest vehicle impoundment and forfeiture in Arizona:

Contesting Vehicle Impoundment:

  • To contest vehicle impoundment in Arizona, you must file a petition with the court within ten days of the impoundment.
  • Your lawyer may be able to argue that the impoundment was not warranted or that there were errors in the process.
  • Your attorney may also be able to negotiate a reduction in the impoundment period or a release of your vehicle if you can demonstrate that you need it for work or other essential purposes.
  • If your petition is denied, you may have the option to file an appeal.

Contesting Vehicle Forfeiture:

  • To contest vehicle forfeiture in Arizona, you must file a claim with the court within 30 days of receiving notice of the forfeiture.
  • Your attorney may be able to argue that the forfeiture was not warranted or that there were errors in the forfeiture process.
  • Your lawyer may also negotiate a settlement allowing you to keep your vehicle, such as agreeing to install an ignition interlock device or to pay a fine.
  • If your claim is denied, you may have the option to file an appeal.

How an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Legal Process and protect Your Rights

Dealing with a DUI charge in Arizona can be scary, especially if you could lose your car or have it impounded.

But with the help of an experienced defense lawyer, you can go through the legal process with confidence and protect your rights.

Here’s how an attorney can help you:

Legal Expertise:

  • Possesses in-depth knowledge of Arizona DUI laws and can help you understand the charges against you and the potential consequences.
  • Can evaluate the evidence against you and determine if there are any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce charges, dismiss the case, or negotiate a plea deal that minimizes the potential consequences of a conviction.

Protection of Rights:

  • Can help you contest your vehicle, protecting your right to due process.
  • Ensure that law enforcement officers followed proper procedures during your arrest and that your constitutional rights were not violated.
  • Help you understand your legal options and the potential consequences of each option, allowing you to make informed decisions about your case.

Facing a DUI charge can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can navigate the legal process and protect your rights.

Your lawyer can help you understand the law, talk to the prosecution, and protect your constitutional rights. This can help you get the best possible result for your case.

Get Help From a DUI Defense Attorney

Top Arizona DUI Defense Attorney Arja Shah

If you were charged with a DUI in Arizona, you should contact an experienced defense lawyer at the Shah Law Firm.

DUI defense attorney Arja Shah has many years of experience defending those charged with a DUI and has successfully represented over 3,000 clients.

Call to schedule a free consultation at (602) 560-7408 to get to work and defend your rights immediately!




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