Vehicle Impound or Towing
After a DUI arrest, your vehicle might be impounded, inventoried, and towed. After you are released from jail, you can call the non-emergency number for the agency involved in the arrest to find out where your vehicle is currently located.
The phone numbers for the various law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough County, FL, include:
- Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Non-Emergency: (813) 247-8200
- City of Tampa Police Non-Emergency: (813) 231-6130
- TPD Vehicle Impound Lot – (813) 242-5328
- City of Temple Terrace Police Non-Emergency: (813) 989-7110
- City of Plant City Police Non-Emergency: (813) 757-9200
- Tampa International Airport Police Department – Stepp’s Towing at 800-330-8651
Most vehicles are towed by a towing company and held in their lot until you pay the towing and storage fee. The legal documents required to take possession of a vehicle in the impound lot might include:
- photo identification
- legal instrument(s) identifying ownership
- a valid form of payment for the total amount due at the time of the pick-up or release
- a vehicle owner release form if a third party needs to pick up the vehicle
If law enforcement wants to talk to you or believes the vehicle was involved in a crime, a detective might put a “hold” on the vehicle or move it to the impound lot of the law enforcement agency. Alternatively, an agency might seize a vehicle for civil or criminal asset forfeiture.
If the officers never got a “search warrant” to hold the vehicle as evidence, then an attorney can usually help you get the hold lifted quickly. NEVER speak to a law enforcement officer or anyone about the facts of your case until AFTER you have retained an attorney to represent you for the underlying charge. Anything you say can be used against you.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients throughout Hillsborough County, FL, or traffic crimes like DUI, reckless driving, and drug possession.
Ten (10) Day Vehicle Impoundment or Immobilization for a DUI
If you are convicted of DUI, then Florida Statute 316.193(6)(a) contains the following requirement:
For the first conviction… The court must also, as a condition of probation, order the impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle that was operated by or in the actual control of the defendant or any vehicle registered in the defendant’s name at the time of impoundment or immobilization, for a period of 10 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 10 days.
The impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with the incarceration of the defendant.…
After an arrest by the Tampa Police Department, you do not have to use the Tampa Police Impound Lot to impound your vehicle. It is much cheaper to use a private company to simply “immobilize” your vehicle, usually by putting a lock on the steering wheel. That way your vehicle can remain in your driveway during that ten (10) day period.
If anyone else in your household needs to drive the vehicle during the ten (10) day period, then you can often get the immobilization requirement waived by explaining a basis for the hardship finding.
Sample Vehicle Owner Release Form
Each towing company or impound lot has its own form that must be used when the registered owner wants a third party to pick up the vehicle.
Vehicle Owner Release Form
I, _________________________________________________, am the legal and rightful owner of the below listed motor vehicle presently stored on the property owned and operated by ___[insert the name of the towing company or impound lot]___.
I hereby authorize the ___[towing company or impound lot]___ to release said vehicle to the following person(s) and/or insurance company, and/or agent thereof:
NAME: (authorized person or insurance company) ________________________________________________________
ADDRESS: _______________________________________________ CITY:____________ STATE: ______ ZIP CODE:_______________ PHONE: _________________________
CLAIM# (if applicable) _________________________________
MOTOR VEHICLE INFORMATION: YEAR: _________ MAKE: ______________ MODEL: _______________ COLOR: _________
CITY:______________ STATE: ______ ZIP CODE:_______________
Additionally, I understand that in the event that the aforementioned motor vehicle is to be released to an individual person, that person will be required to present a “valid” photo identification card that must be in one of the following forms:
- a U.S. state issued driver license;
- a U.S. state issued personal identification card;
- a U.S. Military identification card
- a U.S. Government Issued Passport with Photo
- a Government Issued ID card (Green Card, Alien Card or Temporary Visa
This article was last updated on Friday, September 20, 2020.