Can Police Seize Your Car After an Arrest in Utah?

A traffic stop can make any person nervous about whether they believe they committed a crime or not. In some cases, a traffic stop may result in the arrest of a driver if they are accused of breaking the law. When this happens, a person may be concerned about what might happen to their vehicle. If your vehicle was seized after you were arrested, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer today. Attorney Darwin Overson understands the stress associated with being arrested and charged with a crime, and he is here to fight for you. Overson & Bugden, is here to explain whether police can seize your vehicle after an arrest in Utah.

When Can Police Impound a Vehicle in Utah?

When a driver is pulled over and arrested for a crime, it is understandable for the driver to be concerned about what might happen to their vehicle. Under some circumstances, the traffic stop could lead to not only an arrest but also the seizure of the driver’s vehicle.

One scenario where a driver’s vehicle could be impounded is if the driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). A person can be arrested for DUI if they consume too much alcohol or take drugs that could impair their ability to drive. In Utah, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for a driver is 0.05. This means if a driver is found with a BAC higher than 0.05, they can be charged with a DUI, and their vehicle can be impounded.

It is important to note that Utah also performs “not a drop” vehicle impounds. A “not a drop” impound is when a vehicle is impounded because law enforcement discovered the driver of the vehicle consumed alcohol, and they were under the age of 21. As the driver is underage, it does not matter whether they reached the required BAC to be considered a drunk driver, a single drop of alcohol is enough.

Note, however, that law enforcement does not always have to impound a vehicle when a person is found driving under the influence. Instead, law enforcement may choose to release them to the registered owner of the lead to not only an arrest or release the vehicle to a sober adult who has a driver’s license.

There are other instances where a vehicle may be impounded after a driver is arrested. For example, if a driver was accused of drug possession in Utah, and law enforcement believe that more drugs are hidden in the vehicle, the car may be impounded so that law enforcement can perform an inventory search. An inventory search may also result in damage to the vehicle as law enforcement may remove door panels and other equipment to search the vehicle thoroughly.

To learn more about recovering an impounded vehicle, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Lehi criminal defense lawyer today.

How to Retrieve an Impounded Vehicle After a Criminal Arrest

If you were arrested and your vehicle was impounded, there are certain steps you must take to recover your vehicle. When a vehicle is impounded, it will be taken to a state impound yard or another garage area. Before you can obtain your vehicle, you must clear it with Utah’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

First, the defendant should visit their nearest Utah DMV office to present proof of ownership of the vehicle. Proof of ownership could be shown by presenting the vehicle title, registration card, bill of sale, or other documents that prove a person owns the vehicle. Upon being arrested and having your vehicle impounded, the arresting officer should provide the defendant with a vehicle impound report.

Next, the defendant will have to pay a fine of typically about $330. However, there may be additional fees and other issues to resolve if the vehicle is not registered or insured.

Once a letter of impound release is received from the DMV, it can then contact the impound yard to obtain their vehicle. Depending on how long the vehicle remained at the impound lot, the defendant may have to pay additional expensive fees.

Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney is Ready to Defend You

If law enforcement impounded your vehicle after you were arrested, you should contact an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney today. For nearly two decades, criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson has fought for residents of Utah in a variety of criminal cases, and he would be proud to fight for you. To schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your case, contact Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online.