Do IIDs Prevent The Need For Vehicle Impoundment?

vehicle impoundmentVehicle impoundment refers to the seizure and holding of your motor vehicle in legal custody. Jurisdictions will impound vehicles for a variety of reasons, including driving with expired tags, driving without a license, driving with a suspended or revoked license or for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

When you’re charged and/or convicted of a DUI (especially if you are a repeat offender, have aggravated charges or didn’t have a valid driver’s license) you could be losing your vehicle. If the judge rules to have your vehicle impounded, the court is legally allowed to confiscate your vehicle and have it stored at an impound lot.

Depending on your circumstances and jurisdiction, the amount of time in which your vehicle can be held will vary. Sometimes the impoundment is for a period of a few hours or for as long as a few months. Once you’re able to claim your vehicle, you must pay storage fees, an administrative fee plus any towing fees.  Depending on where you live and the specifics of your DUI conviction, it can cost in excess of $1,000 to have your vehicle impounded.

Currently there are 15 states plus the District of Columbia who utilize vehicle impoundment as a consequence for certain DUI convictions. It has become less common with the increased use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs). Since an IID prevents the offender from driving again while intoxicated, some courts believe there is no longer any reason to impound the offender’s vehicle.

Some say vehicle impoundments are an excessive punishment for offenders, as well as their entire family. For example, by taking away the vehicle of a family the court is punishing those who have nothing to do with the DUI. Allowing an offender to keep their vehicle, while having an IID installed, would allow the entire family to continue to meet their work and school responsibilities.

Do you believe states should continue to impound vehicles?