What is Vehicle Impoundment

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What is Vehicle Impoundment?

Vehicle impoundment refers to the process in which an automobile is placed in an impoundment area. It is a place used for holding cars till the time they are handed over to the owner again. In some cases, the vehicles stored in the impoundment are auctioned, so the impounding organization can benefit from them.

When you are charged for DUI violation, there is a chance that the officer who arrests you might arrest your car as well. Normally, the vehicle of a DUI violator is impounded if he has violated the law more than once. Hence, if you have been a DWI violator for two or more times, the odds of your vehicle being placed in an impoundment lot are quite high.

Your vehicle can be impounded for a number of reasons. These include parking in a wrong place, violating a parking law, or breaking the DUI law. When your vehicle is impounded, the Bakersfild police officer dealing you will inform an impounding agency. The agency will then get legal rights to impound the vehicle.

At times, the case needs to be taken to the Bakersfield court and the judge grants the impounding agency the right to tow away the vehicle. However, in other cases, the agency has a right to automatically impound the automobile. For instance, if a citizen of New York fails to pay a parking ticket hundred days after appearing at a Bakersfield court trial, then the Sheriff of the state has the legal right to impound the car any time.

The assignee of the lending agency, or the assignee itself is given the authority via contract law or court order for recovery based vehicle impoundment. In some areas, that certain authority might give the lender the right to recover the automobile by making use of its own contacts or resources. In other jurisdictions, the lender has to request the marshal, government agent or the sheriff to supervise the recovery process.

Different states often view vehicle impoundment as a severe punishment and refrain from using it. However, certain states consider it compulsory and find it useful in preventing the onset of DUI violations in the long run.

Why Impound Your Vehicle?

According to the DUI rules and regulations in some states, the automobile of DUI violators are impounded after they are charged with the DUI crime for the second or third time within a specific time period. This time period is normally five years. This means that if you break the DUI rules two or more times within five years, there is a good chance that your vehicle will be impounded the next time you breach this law. However, this time period can vary in different states.

The main reason behind vehicle impoundment is to discourage the drunk drivers from getting involved in such incidents in the future. When a habitual drinker won't have a car to drive, he will hardly be seen on the roads driving while impaired and won't be able to cause any harm to other people driving on the roads.

However, with the Ignition Interlock Devices {IIDs) gaining popularity, the practice of vehicle impoundment is slowly fading away. The IIDs are designed to prevent drunken people from starting the ignition of their cars. When an IID is installed in a car, its ignition gets locked instantly. As these devices prevent DUI violators from driving their vehicles while they are intoxicated, the government does not need to hold the violator's vehicle. According to certain courts, confiscation of vehicles is an extreme punishment which is why they seldom use it. However, there are several states that still value this law and commonly practice it. To find out whether or not your state practices this law, you need to know the DUI laws and punishments in your state.

Your vehicle might be impounded if you were driving erratically, driving at a speed of 155km/h or higher, or if your vehicle is producing excessive smoke or noise. Your automobile may also be confiscated if you are driving recklessly and have harmed a specific person. Damaging a person's property and committing an offence on the road are also grave offences and liable to punishment. Moreover, if you don't own a legitimate driving license, then too, your automobile can be impounded. Impounding offences related to driver's license include:

  • Not having a valid driving license in case your license application has been rejected
  • Not having a legal license as you never owned one
  • Not having a valid driving license because the court has prohibited you from driving
  • Not having a legitimate license because it has been expired or has been fined
  • Not having a legal license because your license is suspended

If you are caught for any of these violations and are intoxicated at the same time, the severity of your case will increase and the odds of your vehicle being confiscated will become quite high as well.

The Process of Impounding

The process of vehicle impoundment is managed via a social managerial process. If your vehicle has been confiscated, you do have the right to make an appeal to get your vehicle back to a civil court. You don't need to appeal to that criminal court which was in charge of handling your DUI charge. Normally, you have the right to use the vehicle after you have paid the administrative fees and fines. This is done to discourage indulging in DUI behavior, in a quest to make roads safe for people to use.

In certain cases, the confiscated automobiles of DUI offenders are never returned to them. This depends on the severity of the DUI crime, but most states return the vehicle back to the owner when he submits its fine and administrative charges. In Florida, a motorist charged with DUI with a suspended license due to an old conviction will have his vehicle impounded. You will find similar laws in different other states as well.

When the Bakersfield court decides to impound the car of a DUI violator, it intimates an impounding agency. The agency then begins searching for that person and the vehicle that needs to be seized. The agency usually has a huge list containing names of the automobiles that need to be confiscated. It sends different agents for checking the cars mentioned in that list. If an agent is able to locate a certain automobile mentioned on the impoundment list, he begins the impoundment process.

The agent will use a tow truck and will tow the vehicle with or without any extra help. At times, the agent has to ask the impounding agency for the permission to begin towing a vehicle. In some cases, he may need to ask the marshal or sheriff to supervise this operation. In case the agent does not have access to a tow truck, he will have to request for one from the impoundment agency, or from a towing company.

There are cases in which the owner of the vehicle arbitrates during the towing process and is able to put an end to it by paying its fine on the location. However, if this does not happen, and the vehicle gets towed, it is moved to a lot where impounded vehicles are stored. This lot may only be used for impounded vehicles, or may serve other functions as well.

In certain cases, impounded vehicle may be sold in impounded vehicle auctions. This is a special kind of auction used for auctioning disabled and abandoned automobiles only. After a vehicle has been towed and taken to an impoundment area, the authorities wait for its owner to take an action. In case the owner does not pay the fine and does not appeal to get his car back within the stipulated time, his car is sent off to an auction for recovering all the costs related to its storage and towing.

The impoundment auctions are normally organized by auctioneers on the area allocated by the impoundment law. However, online auctions are gaining a lot of popularity as well. In these auctions, the cars are auctioned on the website of the auctioneer, or on different car auctioning websites.

In most cases, a thorough process takes place for locating the impounded vehicle's owner. This process includes sending letters to the owner and advertising the vehicle so he can get hold of it before it is auctioned.

In certain states, impounded automobile are given to the masses, so they can use them. In other cases, they are sold off to people without any warranty. These vehicles are generally poor in quality, but good quality impounded vehicles are auctioned as well. Normally, the original keys of the impounded and auctioned vehicle aren't provided with these and their mileage remains unknown as well. However, the person who auctions them is aware of their internal condition.

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