Navigating a Car Impoundment Following a DUI Arrest
Police only need probable cause to make a traffic stop. It could be a driving maneuver that may indicate intoxication, a traffic violation, or even a defect in the vehicle’s safety equipment. If you are stopped and arrested for DUI in Wyoming, the vehicle you are driving could be impounded.
Police will take you to the station or to a hospital for chemical testing in a squad car. You will not be allowed to drive the vehicle if you are suspected of being the influence of alcohol or drugs. Usually, police officers will call a towing company to tow and impound the vehicle. In some cases of DUI accidents, law enforcement may determine that the vehicle is evidence in the case and order it to be held at the police impoundment lot. You may not be able to retrieve it until the case is resolved.
What Are Police Officers’ Rights in Impounding a Vehicle?
Police officers generally cannot legally search a vehicle without the driver’s consent or a warrant. The exception is when the vehicle is to be towed. When law enforcement authorizes a tow, it has the right to conduct an inventory search of the vehicle before it is towed away to account for all property contained within. If controlled substances or other illegal items are found in the vehicle during the inventory search, the driver may be charged with additional crimes.
Where Is Your Car Taken After a DUI Arrest?
If police have your vehicle towed away after a DUI arrest, it will be taken to an impound lot. You can usually get it back after your release from jail, but you will have to pay towing and storage fees. To get your car out of the impound lot, you will need proof of registration, proof of insurance, a temporary driver’s license, and the funds to pay all the fees, which can be expensive. Under Wyoming law, impounded vehicles may be redeemed by paying “the charges of towing, storage, notice, all other costs of impoundment, and any penalties imposed by the law of this state.”
Could You Lose Your Vehicle After a DUI Arrest?
Under seizure and forfeiture laws, you could lose ownership of your car if it was used to commit a crime. Typically, in DUI cases, this only occurs when someone is killed in a crash related to the DUI or if the DUI involve controlled substances, particularly if they are found in the vehicle. Your vehicle could also be forfeited if you have too many prior DUIs and the court declares the vehicle a nuisance.
What Should You Do After a DUI Traffic Stop?
If you are pulled over and arrested for DUI, the arresting officer may have discretion on whether or not to impound your vehicle. In some cases, your attitude and behavior during the traffic stop can affect that decision.
- Always keep your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance readily accessible in case of a traffic stop.
- Turn on your dome light, roll down your window, and place your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them.
- Be courteous and admit to nothing.
- Politely decline if asked to perform field sobriety tests.
- Never voluntarily permit a search of your vehicle.
- If you are arrested for DUI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Our Gillette DUI defense attorneys at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. have an unbeatable work ethic and an impressive record in the courtroom. If you have been accused of driving under the influence, contact us at (307) 257-7800 for a strong defense against the charges.
Your FREE Case Strategy Session
On All Injury and Criminal Cases
Contact our office right now to speak to
someone who wants to help you.