Having the police impound your car can be very frustrating, it is more frustrating when your car is impounded and you’re not the driver. It can make you question the reason why you even allowed the person to drive the car in the first place.
However, the police can impound a car because of a variety of reasons, but the question is, as the car owner, what if you’re not the one driving the car when it was impounded, what should you do?
If your car was impounded but you were not the driver, you can either pay the impound fees or appeal the impound. However, if you appeal the impound and win the case, you will still pay the towing fees.
Can my Car Be Impounded When I’m Not the Driver?
Yes, the police can impound your car whether you’re the one driving it or not. It doesn’t matter whether the owner is driving the car or not. If the driver does something that warrants the car to be impounded, the police will not hesitate to impound the car.
However, where it gets trickier is what happens next. If your car was impounded and you were not the driver, you will be contacted as the registered owner of the car whose name appeared in the car title and you will be the one to pay the necessary fees.
What Can Make Police Impound Your Car When You’re Not the Driver?
Here are reasons why the police can impound your car even when you are not the driver:
- Lack of Drivers License: If the person driving your car does not have a driver’s license and is driving your car, the car will end up in the impound lot after he’s pulled over. So ensure to give your car to a driver’s license holder to drive.
- Involved in a Street Racing/Stunt: If the person driving your car decides to use the car for street racing or dangerous street stunts and is captured by the police, the said car will be impounded.
- Involved in an Illegal Activity: If the driver while driving your car was involved in an illegal activity that caught the police attention, they’re likely to impound the car when they capture the driver.
- Led Police to a Chase: If the person driving your car decides to lead the police to a chase if he’s caught, the car will be impounded.
What Happens When Your Car is Impounded and You’re Not the Driver?
When your car is impounded and you’re not the driver, you will be contacted by the police about the impound and the necessary fees to pay. The impoundment notice the police will send to you will contain information such as:
- Your car is impounded and it’s taken to an impoundment lot
- How to get the car back or how to get the car out of impound, and
- How to appeal the impoundment
You will be contacted as the registered owner of the car. All the fees and fines will be directed to you. It’s now left for you to hold the driver accountable or not. You also have the chance of appealing the impound.
If you feel that the person driving the car was at fault or took the car without your permission, you can hold him/her responsible by asking him/her to reimburse you.
However, after 28 days the car has been in the impound lot, you will be left with 10 days to claim your vehicle. You will need to pay a towing and storage fee before the car will be released to you.
What to Do When Your Car is Impounded and You’re Not the Driver
Here are things to do when your car is impounded and you’re not the driver:
Pay the Necessary fees
If your car is impounded and you’re not the driver, you can decide to pay the necessary fees required to get your car back. some of these fees include impound fee, storage fee, and Duffy. after paying all these bills, your car will be released to you
However, depending on the incident that led to the impound, you may be asked to perform other actions before driving the car.
For example, if the car was impounded because it was used in a street racing or stunt, you may be asked to take your car straight to a garage or vehicle testing station and get a new warrant of fitness before you can drive the car.
Appeal the Impound
If your car is impounded and you’re not the driver, you can decide to appeal the impound if you have a better reason or evidence to back up your claim.
Appealing an impounded vehicle is not an easy thing to do. However, there are some grounds on which you can do so, these grounds are:
- The Vehicle was Stolen: If the vehicle was stolen and impounded when the person who stole it was driving the car, you can appeal the impound with the reason being that the car was stolen.
- Not Aware of the Unlicensed Driver: You can appeal an impounded vehicle on the grounds that you were not aware that the driver did not have a driver’s license and couldn’t have known. You may likely get the impound fees waived. However, as a car owner, you’re supposed to ensure that a good driver with a valid license drives your car.
- You Cautioned the Driver: If for example the driver is your son and you cautioned him not to involve himself in any street racing or stunt you can appeal the impound on the ground that you tried to prevent him from involving himself in such action but he failed to listen. This may not get your impound fees waived, but however, there is no harm in trying.
- There is an Emergency: If the driver was overspeeding or the cause of the impound was a result of an emergency the driver was trying to attend to, you could appeal on the ground that it was an emergency that prompted the action. For example, if the driver has a pregnant woman who was in labor before the car was impounded, you can appeal on this ground.
If your car was impounded but you were not the driver, the impound fees will be mailed to you as the registered owner of the car not the driver except the driver is also the owner of the car (When you have two names on the car title). You will be the one to either pay the fees or appeal the impound. You can decide to ask the driver to reimburse you or pay the fees but the impoundment fees will be sent to the registered/legal owner of the car.