Impounded Vehicles

Please review the FAQs below regarding impounded vehicles. If you do not locate the answer you need or have additional questions, please contact the Records Unit at (520) 229-4900. 

How do I get my vehicle back?

On or after the 30th day of impound OR if you get your license reinstated earlier, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you. To have it released, follow these steps: 

  • Come to the Oro Valley Police Department at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
  • Bring with you a valid driver’s license, valid registration AND proof of current insurance. Please note: if your license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled, you may have to go to court or the Motor Vehicle Division first. Your vehicle registration is invalid if it is expired or cancelled. We cannot release your vehicle to you until these documents are valid and current. Note: if your driving privilege cannot be restored by the end of the 30-day impound period (for example, it has been suspended for one year), you may bring a fully licensed driver with you to drive the vehicle upon release. You must still have a valid vehicle registration AND proof of current insurance before the vehicle will be released.
  • If the vehicle was impounded due to a motor vehicle accident, proof of current and valid registration, driver’s license and proof of current insurance are required.

You must pay the towing and storage fees at the towing company. Payment is made directly to the towing company. If you come to the tow yard at other than normal business hours, you may be charged a gate fee. You must also present proof of your identity and ownership (title or registration) to the tow company.

 

Can I have a hearing about this impound?

Yes, but hearings are usually not needed. Hearings are generally only needed if you are challenging the validity of the impound.

What if I want a hearing?

If you do want a hearing, you may make a request to the Oro Valley Police Department in writing, in person or by telephone at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive or by calling (520) 229-4900. 

When must I request a hearing?

We must receive your request for a hearing no later than ten (10) days from the date of the vehicle impoundment and may be done by phone. If your request is received after the ten day time period, we will not grant you a hearing on this matter. In most cases, you must wait 30 days before you can get your vehicle back.

You can ONLY arrange to have your vehicle released by contacting the Oro Valley Police Department. The towing company CANNOT release the vehicle back to you without permission from the police department.

In some cases, you may be able to get your vehicle back before the end of the 30 days, but you may still have to pay all fees and charges.

 

Do I need to have a hearing?

No. Most people who do not meet one of the exemptions will not request or need a hearing. If you get your license reinstated before the end of the 30-day period, you may be eligible to have your vehicle returned to you without a hearing.

 

What will I have to prove in a hearing?

Generally, hearings are only for the purpose of contesting the impound. In order to have your vehicle released prior to the 30 days required by law, you must be able to prove that certain special circumstances exist.

 

Is there a charge to have a hearing?

No, there is no fee or charge for a hearing.

Do I need an attorney for the hearing?

No, an attorney is not needed. The hearing process is informational and rather brief.

 

How long will my vehicle be impounded?

The law requires that the vehicles impounded under this law be stored for a period of thirty (30) days before being released.

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, a hearing is not needed.  You should simply bring proof that your license is now valid to the Oro Valley Police Department located at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive.
  • If the vehicle was reported stolen at the time it was impounded.
  • If the vehicle is subject to bailment and was being driven by an employee of a business establishment, including a parking service or repair garage, who is subject to ARS 28-3511-A or B.
  • IF ALL THE FOLLOWING APPLY – the owner or owner’s agent was not the person driving in violation at the time of the impound AND the owner or the owner’s agent is in a business of renting motor vehicles without drivers AND the vehicle is registered pursuant to ARS 28-2166.

 

At the end of the 30 days, can I just go to the towing company and get my vehicle?

No. The towing company will not release an impounded vehicle without paperwork from the Oro Valley Police Department. You must follow the claim process as outlined below.

 

What if someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle when it was impounded?

The owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying all fees and charges in order to have the vehicle released. If someone else was driving, you may have to seek civil action against the driver for any expenses you incur as a result of the impound.

What expenses can I expect to incur as a result of the impound?

The registered owner of this vehicle is liable for towing fees, storage charges of not more than $15.00 per day and administrative fees of up to $150.00. The administrative fee must be paid to the Oro Valley Police Department in the form of a cashier's check, money order or cash. No credit cards or personal checks will be accepted.

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 meet the legal title and registration requirements before the vehicle can be returned to you. This can be done through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. 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.

 

If I am found "not guilty" on my criminal or traffic charges, will that affect the impounding of my vehicle?

No. As long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to the law and our procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.

 

Who can have the vehicle returned?

Under the law, the owner, owner’s spouse, their agent or attorney, or lien holder are the only persons who can have the vehicle released. If your vehicle was impounded because you did not have a valid license, and your license is still not valid at the end of the 30-day, you can bring someone with you who has a valid license in order to get your vehicle back.

Who can act as my agent to get my vehicle back?

An agent is someone who is legally entitled to act for you, such as your attorney or someone you have given legal power of attorney. A friend or relative cannot be considered your agent unless they have notarized documentation giving them power of attorney.

If the owner had a suspended license, can they get it back prior to the 30-day period if their license is restored to a valid status?

Yes. The owner is still liable for all towing and storage fees up to the actual date of release.