What to do if Your Car is Impounded by the Police

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No one wants to have their car impounded by the police. Trying to regain possession of your vehicle is time-consuming, stressful, and can be expensive.

There are several reasons why the police will impound a vehicle, including:

  • The driver didn’t have a valid driver’s license
  • The vehicle was not insured
  • The vehicle was abandoned.
  • The car was parked in a tow zone.
  • You left the car in a business parking lot without getting permission resulting in the business owner having the vehicle towed.

The first thing you need to do is determine where your impounded vehicle is located. Unless the police have decided to examine your car for potential evidence, it’s highly unlikely that it will be at a police station. In most cases, the police have a contract with a local company that holds the impounded car.

Don’t assume that just because the police have turned your vehicle to another party, that you’ll have no trouble getting it back. Depending on the situation, the police likely provided a list of stipulations connected to the car being returned to you.

The good news is that locating your vehicle shouldn’t be difficult. The police will tell you which impound lot has possession of your vehicle. They will likely even tell you what needs to be done for you to regain your vehicle.

The next step is getting in touch with the impound lot. In addition to paying any fines the police have attached to the vehicle, proving that you’re properly licensed, and the car has a current registration and is fully insured, you will have to pay impound fees. Not only will you be charged with the cost of towing your vehicle to the impound lot, the lot owner will charge you a fee for every single day that the car was impounded. The impound fees quickly add up, which is why you want to do everything possible to reclaim your car as quickly as possible.

While impound lots will often hold a car for a really long time, they won’t do so indefinitely; at some point, they will want to move your car so they can impound other cars. At this point, they will take steps to have your vehicle listed as abandoned and will sell the vehicle at a public auction. Once this happens, you’ll lose all rights to your vehicle, though you will remain responsible for any fees and fines connected to a vehicle prior to the sale.

The best way to prevent your vehicle from getting impounded is being aware of where you park and making sure you obey traffic laws.