Having your car impounded after a DUI conviction in Florida is mandatory. The minimum time the car will be impounded is 10-days. Further, the car cannot be impounded while you are serving your jail sentence. It does not begin until you are released. In other words, you go to jail, and when you get out, they take your car for a certain amount of time.
Does It Cost You Money?
Yes, no matter how this works out, be prepared to pay. In most cases, your car is towed to the impound lot. You are responsible for the towing fees. These can be anywhere from $90.00 to several hundred depending on the circumstances of the tow. If there was a boot or steering wheel bar on the car that had to be removed, or if the car was not in a condition where it could be pulled and it had to be put on a flatbed truck, and the distance the car was taken, all add to the costs that you will pay the towing company.
The city will also have an impound fee. This fee varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is normally a daily charge, and you could also pay a release fee. Again, this can quickly add up to several hundreds of dollars.
There are sometimes other (less expensive) options. Your DUI attorney can try to get these options for you if they are applicable. There are times (usually for first convictions and no other problems) where the courts will allow your car to remain at your home and be immobilized. This means having it booted or paying a company to install a steering wheel lock (bar) on the vehicle. They charge you a daily fee, and at the end of the impoundment, they give you a document to provide the court to show compliance. This is not only less expensive, but it is also less embarrassing. Friends and neighbors will not notice a steering wheel lock on your car or will assume you placed it there for safety.
The Florida court does allow for a couple of exceptions to having your car impounded. If you can show that it is the only vehicle and the only transportation the family has, the impound requirement can be waived. The other exception is if the vehicle is only used for work and is driven by an employee of the defendant for work only.
Neither of these exceptions is for the benefit of the defendant, as their driver’s licenses will be suspended immediately and for much longer than the impound time.
Other Important Issues
You may not have a car at the time of the conviction. However, if you purchase one shortly after that, that car will be impounded as part of your sentence. You do not have to own it at the time of the conviction.
If you are convicted of a DUI that happened while your driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to a previous DUI conviction, your car can be confiscated and subject to forfeiture. This is a high price to pay, but it will be enforced for multiple DUI convictions.
For more information, speak to a DUI attorney today.