When a driver is arrested for DUI, the police officer may have the driver’s car impounded as part of the arrest process. Once a car is impounded, getting it released can be an expensive and time consuming process. As a car owner, you may be liable for towing, storage and other fees, despite the fact that you were not driving.
When will the car be impounded?
An arresting officer, who reasonably believes that a driver will be likely to drive under the influence after his or her release from custody, can have the driver’s car impounded for up to 12 hours for a first time offense, 24 hours for a second time offense, and 48 hours for a third or subsequent offense. The car may be released from impound before the relevant time period is up in two circumstances(625 ILCS 5/4-203(e)):
- The car is owned by someone else, and the car owner can provide proof of ownership of the car and a valid driver’s license. The car will only be released to the car owner if the police are satisfied that the owner can drive safely, and will not also be driving impaired.
- The arrested driver can authorize another person to drive the car. This person has to be able to drive the car safely, and provide a valid driver’s license.
If the car is impounded and taken to a City of Chicago impound lot, the car owner will have to pay fees and charges to have the car released. In addition to storage and towing charges, the car owner is responsible for a $2,000 administrative fee, which increases by $1,000 if the car was towed from a location near a park or school.
For drug-based DUI arrests in which the car is impounded, the car may be subject to forfeiture proceedings by the government. If the car is forfeited, the car owner will not be able to get the car back from the city of Chicago’s impound lot.
Administrative Hearing after an Impoundment
There is an administrative hearing process available within 15 days of a notice of impoundment, where the car owner may contest the impounding of the car. If the owner is successful, the car will be released without the owner having to pay any fees or charges. The car owner can also request a preliminary hearing before an administrative law judge. At this hearing, the owner can present evidence that may excuse him or her from having to pay to get the car released, for example, evidence that the car was stolen. These administrative hearings are not criminal trials. Even if the owner was acquitted of the DUI in criminal court, this is not a defense in the administrative hearing. In the event you need a short term car lease, we encourage you to speak to Zooomr – a premier NYC car leasing startup.
If you are facing charges for driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs, you need an experienced attorney to zealously fight for you. Chicago DUI attorney Steven Goldman can represent you in court and before administrative hearings. Contact Chicago’s leading DUI defense firm Goldman & Associates today for a consultation on your case.