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Impoundment or Immobilization after a DUI

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

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

  • 10 days for 1st offense. § 316.193(6)(a)
  • 30 days if 2nd within 5 years. § 316.193(6)(b)
  • 90 days if 3rd within 10 years. § 316.193(6)(c)

Although impoundment or immobilization is required for most DUI offenses, it is not required for DUI with property damage/injury offenses. See McGhee v. State, 847 So.2d 498 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). Likewise, there is no mandatory impoundment for 2nd outside of 5 years or 3rd outside of 10 years.

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,


How is the Vehicle Impounded or Immobilized?

Many people think that they are required to have their vehicle parked in an impound lot. However, other less expensive options are available in Hillsborough County for DUI cases in Tampa or Plant City, Florida, as explained below.

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 ot 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 offense or any one vehicle registered to 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.


This article was last updated on Thursday, November 15, 2018.