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Impoundment or Immobilization after a DUI

Many people think that they are required to have their vehicle parked in an impound lot during the period of impoundment or immobilization. However, far less expensive options are available in Hillsborough County for DUI cases prosecuted at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City, Florida.

When choosing the company to provide the service, make sure they have a valid business license and have been cleared by FDLE. Also, make sure the charge a flat fee. For the 10-day vehicle impoundment, the charge should be between $50 and $75.

To meet this requirement, the company only needs to install a locking device on your steer wheel. The company does NOT need to boot your vehicle or remove it from your premises.

Under Florida Statute Section 316.193(6)(d), after a DUI conviction, the court is required to issue an order for the immobilization or impoundment of a vehicle unless the defendant shows that an exception applies.

In order words, this requirement of the defendant's car being impounded or immobilized is required as a minimum mandatory requirement after a DUI conviction in Florida unless the defendant shows the court that impounding or immobilizing the vehicle would create a hardship.

The required period to immobilize or impound the vehicle does not begin until after the defendant has served any period of incarceration and is released from custody.

The number of days required for the impoundment or immobilization depends on the seriousness of the offense including:

Although impoundment or immobilization is required for most DUI offenses, it is not required for:

See McGhee v. State, 847 So.2d 498 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).

If you have been arrested for DUI, learn more about the true cost of a DUI conviction in Florida. With offices in Tampa in Hillsborough County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, we represent clients throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.

The best way to avoid the 10-day impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle is to avoid a DUI conviction in the first place. Contact a DUI Lawyer in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm for more information on how to fight the case.

Call 813-250-0500.


How is the Vehicle Impounded or Immobilized?

Many businesses throughout Hillsborough County provide a service to meet this requirement in which they will come to your home with "The Club." As a standard security device, "The Club" is placed onto the steering wheel of the vehicle so that the vehicle can not be driven by the owner during the period of impoundment required by the court a DUI conviction.

These private businesses charge for this service. The price can range from $100 for a 10-day impoundment to approximately $300 for a 90-day impoundment. The owner of the vehicle is required to pay the impoundment costs.

The benefit of using this type of service is that the car is never booted. Even if your car were parked in the street outside your home, neighbors would walk by the vehicle and never know it was subject to a court-ordered impoundment after a DUI conviction.

After the period of impoundment or immobilization is completed the company will provide you with a certificate of completion that you can provide to your probation officer to show proof that you have completed this condition of your DUI probation.


Exceptions to the 10 Day DUI Impoundment Rule

The requirement of vehicle impoundment or immobilization under Florida law can be waived by the judge or the probation officer if the defendant can show that a family member uses the vehicle and has no other transportation.

Additionally, the court can dismiss the order of impoundment for "work vehicles" if the vehicle owned by the defendant is operated solely by an employee of the defendant or a business owned by the defendant.

If such a "hardship" or "work vehicle" exception applies in your case, your criminal defense attorney should address the issue at the time of sentencing with the judge. If the court waives the requirement, then you will not have to impound or immobilize your

When imposed, the requirement applies to the vehicle involved in the offense or any one vehicle registered to the defendant. For a second DUI within 5 years or a third DUI within 10 years, all vehicles owned by the defendant are to be impounded or immobilized. In fact, under § 316.193(6)(b)(c), for subsequent DUI convictions require immobilization of all of the defendant’s vehicles routinely operated by the defendant.


Who is Authorized to Impound or Immobilize?

Section 316.193(13) provides that the following entities are authorized to impound or immobilize the vehicle:

  • personnel of the circuit court;
  • the sheriff; and
  • immobilization agencies that meet the conditions of § 316.193(13) may be engaged in the immobilization/impoundment of vehicles.

Dismissal of the Impoundment or Immobilization Order

Florida law allows the court to dismiss the order of impoundment of any vehicles that are owned by the defendant if they are operated solely by the employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant. § 316.193(6)(h). The law requires the court to dismiss the impoundment if it finds that the family of the vehicle owner has no other private or public mean of transportation. § 316.193(6)(g).

When the defendant was driving a vehicle owned by a third party at the time of the incident, the statute contemplates that the third party may request the waiver of immobilization by providing documentation to the court that the vehicle was stolen or purchased legitimately from the defendant.

The third-party may also request an evidentiary hearing if the request is denied. § 316.193(6)(e), (f). In many cases, the owner of the vehicle will show that the impoundment would create a hardship.


Vehicle Immobilization in Pinellas and Pinellas County

On November 9, 2010, the Chief Judge J. THOMAS MCGRADY, signed an Administrative Order No. 2010-076 PA/PI-CIR that explains the policies and procedures for vehicle immobilization that complies with Section 316.193(6)(d), Florida Statutes. To ensure that immobilization entities operating in the Sixth Judicial Circuit are in compliance with sections 316.193(6)(d) and 316.193(13), Florida Statutes, and all other statutory requirements, the order requires: 

  • Any agency or company that requests to provide immobilization of vehicle services within the Sixth Judicial Circuit and that qualifies under the requirements of Florida Statute 316.193(6)(d), must submit a completed and notarized "Affidavit and Request for Listing of Business as a Provider of Court Ordered Vehicle Immobilization Services in the Sixth Judicial Circuit" to the Clerk of Circuit Court in the county in which it wishes to provide immobilization services.
  • If the agency or company wishes to provide services in both Pinellas County and Pasco County, then it must submit a separate Affidavit to the Clerk in each of these counties.
  • The Clerk of Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pinellas and Pasco County is required to maintain an updated list of the names and telephone numbers of any immobilization agency or company that filed an approved Affidavit requesting to be listed as a provider of the court order vehicle immobilization service in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
  • The list of approved providers is then posted at the courthouse or on the Clerk's website.
  • Upon request, the Clerk must provide a paper copy.
  • The list last updated in 2015 can be found here - Pinellas County's List of DUI Vehicle Immobilization Service Providers

The business must verify that it has experience in immobilizing vehicles for The Department of Corrections Probation Offices in the State of Florida, and documents relating to the immobilizations, only hires qualified employees, maintains accurate records of all payments for all vehicle immobilizations for a period of at least 3 years, will conduct a criminal history check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

 

 


Additional Resources

PCSO Answers FAQs about DUI Impounds and Immobilization - Visit the website of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) to find a list of frequently asked questions about how to comply with a court-ordered requirement that the vehicle is impounded or immobilized. After a DUI in Pinellas County, read more about the benefits of using the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for the immobilization instead of an approved private impound company. Find out why you must wait at least 10 business days after the court order to immobilize the vehicle, pay for the immobilization at the probation office, and the cost to immobilize and any additional costs for out of county areas.

List of Approved Private Impound Companies in Pinellas - Visit the website of the Clerk of Court in Pinellas County to find a list of approved private impound companies.


This article was last updated on Friday, July 12, 2019.