When a Vehicle is Impounded
California Vehicle Code Section 14602.6 provides that an officer may impound a vehicle when the driver either has a suspended or revoked driver’s license
, or has never been issued a license
. A vehicle that has been so impounded shall
be impounded for 30 days.
30-Day Impound Hearing
The registered owner, or lien holder, of an impounded vehicle is entitled to have an impound hearing within 10 days of notification to determine if the vehicle is eligible to be released earlier than the mandatory 30 days. An impounded vehicle is eligible for early release to the registered owner under the following circumstances:
- If the person who was driving at the time of impoundment obtains a driver’s license or gets their suspended or revoked license reinstated, and there is proof of insurance for the driver or vehicle.
- If the vehicle was being driven by an unlicensed employee of a business establishment, such as a parking garage or repair garage.
- If the vehicle is a stolen vehicle. In this case, it would be helpful if the registered owner brought any documentation, witnesses, or other information that will assist you in presenting your case.
If your situation meets any of these circumstances, you may attend an impound hearing to see if your vehicle is eligible for release. Bring all of the documentation and evidence to prove your case. Impound hearings are held every Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, and every Thursday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
Repossessing Impounded Vehicles
The lienholder, or finance company, of an impounded vehicle may pick up the vehicle directly from the tow yard.
They must sign a promise not to release the vehicle to the registered owner for the same 30-day period for which the vehicle was impounded. Lienholders are still liable for all fees and storage charges except for the police department administrative fee. Lienholders must bring all documentation showing that they are the legal owner, and repossession paperwork. Car rental agencies do not need repossession paperwork.