What happens to your car after an arrest for driving while intoxicated? Who has to pay for storing it? These are valuable questions for anyone facing a DWI charge in Houston. In the confusion following a DWI arrest, the last thing on your mind could be the status of your vehicle. However, what happens to your car after an arrest will quickly come to the forefront of your mind after you are no longer in custody.
After a DWI arrest, you could learn that your vehicle has been impounded. This involves law enforcement towing it from the scene and holding it in their impound lot until you can pay to remove it. The cost of impounding and towing can be expensive, and it can be only one of the unexpected expenses that come with an arrest. Working with an experienced DWI defense lawyer could help you substantially limit some of the expenses that come with an arrest or conviction.
How do you find your car after a DWI arrest?
Impounding a vehicle is most common for Houston police, but it is not the only possible outcome because Houston Police Department general orders allow police to release a car rather than tow it. In some cases, the police on the scene will allow you to make other arrangements. The options following a DWI arrest may include:
- Police waiting at the scene of the arrest until a family member can come and pick up the car;
- Police allowing a sober passenger to take control of the vehicle; or
- Police arranging your vehicle to be towed to impound.
Remember, these options are at the sole discretion of the arresting officer. If the police refuse to wait for someone to come pick up your car, your car will be towed and impounded. This can, in some cases, be shown to be unreasonable action on the part of the police officer that is used to your benefit in undermining the police officer's credibility.
How do you find your car after an arrest for DWI or other crimes in Houston? Go to FindMyTowedCar.com. You need to enter your license plate, your vehicle identification number (VIN) and other information about your car. It generally takes at least 2 hours from the time the car is towed before it is listed on this website.
Vehicle Impound in Houston
Texas law allows for law enforcement to impound a vehicle following a DWI arrest. According to law enforcement, this is because an abandoned car on the side of the road presents a safety hazard. Of course, reality is more complex. The first thing that law enforcement officers do when impounding your vehicle is to search it. The officers will claim that this search is done to protect the public (for example, what if there is a gun in the vehicle) and to inventory the content of the vehicle to ensure your property is returned to you. Their real motive, however, is to search the vehicle for contraband or evidence that can be used against you in your DWI case. How police classify the search can potentially be the legal basis for suppression of evidence.
After your arrest, the police will only release your vehicle to you after you pay the impound bill. This could cost you hundreds of dollars, and the amount you owe will increase each day the vehicle remains impounded.
Contact a Houston DWI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for DWI in Houston, the cost of your impounded vehicle is only one of the consequences you could face. Other costs could include fines, court costs, restitution, and even jail time. However, if you beat your charges in court you can avoid most of these consequences entirely. Prevailing at trial could be possible, but your odds increase dramatically with the help of a skilled Houston DWI defense lawyer. To discuss your legal options, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. right away.