FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VEHICLE IMPOUNDMENTS UNDER ARS § 28-3511
For how long will my vehicle be impounded?
Vehicles impounded under ARS §28-3511 must be stored for a period of thirty (30) days before being released. The law allows for some exceptions, and you may be eligible to have the vehicle released sooner. For example, if your driver’s license is reinstated by the Motor Vehicle Division or the courts, you may be allowed to have your vehicle released before the thirty (30) day period.
How much will it cost to get my vehicle back?
Arizona law requires the owner to pay for all towing charges as well as storage fees. Storage fees are limited to a maximum of $15.00 per day. These charges are due to the towing company that removed and is storing your vehicle. In addition, pursuant to ARS § 28-3514, the owner is liable for an administrative fee of $150.00 paid with cash, cashier’s check or money order payable to the City of Phoenix.
How do I get my vehicle back?
Only the Phoenix Police Department can release your vehicle. On or after the 30th day of impound, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you.
To receive the release paperwork, follow these steps:
- You must pay an Administrative Fee of $150 with cash, cashier’s check or money order payable to City Phoenix. Upon payment of the fee you will be given a copy of a release form that you must take to the towing company.
- At the towing company, you must pay the towing and storage fees. Payment is made directly to the towing company by cash, money order, certified check or credit card. If you arrive at the tow yard to reclaim your vehicle outside of regular business hours, you may be charged a gate fee. You must also present proof of your identity and ownership to the tow company.
- If you do not claim your vehicle within ten (10) days of the available release date, the towing company may file for an abandoned title to the vehicle.
What if someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle when it was impounded?
The registered owner of the vehicle must pay the $150.00 Administrative Fee with cash, cashier’s check or money order payable to City of Phoenix. A valid driver’s license, current vehicle registration and proof of mandatory auto insurance must be presented. The registered owner must also pay for all towing fees and storage charges directly to the towing company in order to qualify for the release of the vehicle.
What if I own the vehicle but have not yet transferred the title into my name? Can I still get the vehicle back?
You must first completely meet all legal title and registration requirements before the vehicle can be returned to you. This can be done through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). If the vehicle is registered out of state, you must either register the vehicle in Arizona or deal with the state in which it is currently registered. The vehicle cannot be released without proof of current registration and mandatory auto insurance.
What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?
Under Arizona law, the towing company may file for an abandoned title and seek ownership of the vehicle if it is left at the tow yard unclaimed for more than ten (10) days past the mandatory thirty (30) day impoundment. If you have difficulty in paying for the towing and storage, you should at least contact the towing company if you wish to retain ownership of your vehicle.
Can I get my vehicle back before the 30 days are up?
Under certain limited circumstances, you may be able to have the vehicle returned to you prior to the end of the 30-day period. In some cases this may require a Post Storage Hearing. CLICK HERE for information about Post Storage Hearings for ARS § 28-3511.
You may be eligible to have the vehicle released early only if you meet one of the following conditions or circumstances:
- If the owner presents satisfactory proof that the owner’s driving privilege has been reinstated. (Note – if this applies to you, bring proof to the Code Enforcement Unit of the Phoenix Police Department that your license is now valid)
- If the vehicle was reported stolen at the time it was impounded,
- If the vehicle is subject to bailment under ARS §28-3511(A)(2) and was driven by an employee of a business establishment including a parking service or repair garage.
- If ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY – the owner or owner’s agent was not the person driving in violation at the time of the impoundment, AND the owner or the owner’s agent is in the business of renting motor vehicles without drivers, AND the vehicle is registered pursuant to ARS §28-2166.
In certain situations, the spouse of the owner may also enter into an agreement with the Phoenix Police Department stating they will not let a driver arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI, or a minor in possession of alcohol to drive the vehicle within one year. If the agreement is violated, there is no relief available from the 30 day impound period within the next year.
In addition, the vehicle may be released to the lien holder or repossession agent identified on the MVD record before the end of the 30 days.
CLICK HERE for information to lien holders and repossession agents.
If the owner was driving on a suspended license but has since had the license restored to valid status, can the vehicle be released prior to the 30-day period?
Yes. The owner would have to prove that this had been corrected and their driving privileges reinstated, at which time we will release the vehicle upon payment of an administrative fee of $150 and towing and storage charges.
Would I still have to pay fees and charges if the vehicle is released early to me?
Yes, the owner is still liable for the administrative fee ($150) and all towing and storage fees up to the actual date of release.
At the end of the 30 days, can I just go to the towing company and get my vehicle?
No, the towing company is not allowed to release an impounded vehicle without paperwork from the Phoenix Police Department. You must follow the claim process outlined above.
If I am found “not guilty” on my criminal or traffic charges will that affect the impoundment of my vehicle?
No. As long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to the law and Phoenix Police Department policies and procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.