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Vehicle Impoundments F.A.Q.
This section has been created to answer common questions about vehicle impoundments pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-3511. If you need further assistance, please call the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office’s Records Department at (928) 329-2254 and/or the Patrol Support Officer (928) 783-4427.

1. 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.
2. How do I get my vehicle back?
Only the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office can release your vehicle. On or after the 30th day of impoundment, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you. To receive the release paperwork, follow these steps:
  • Come to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 141 S. 3rd Avenue, Yuma, AZ, Monday through Friday, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
  • Present a valid driver’s license, current vehicle registration and proof of mandatory auto insurance. If your license was suspended, revoked or canceled, and/or if your vehicle registration was expired or canceled, you must resolve this in court or with the Motor Vehicle Division. 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 impoundment period (for example, it has been suspended for one year), you may bring a fully licensed driver with you to drive the car upon release. You must still have valid vehicle registration and insurance before the vehicle will be released.
  • You must pay an Administrative Hearing Fee of $150 to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office for a Post Storage Hearing. Only cash or major credit card payments are accepted. Upon payment of the fee, you will be given a copy of a release form that you must take to the towing 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.

3. How much will it cost to get my vehicle back?
Pursuant to ARS § 28-3514, the vehicle owner is liable for an Administrative Hearing fee of $150.00 payable to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. Only cash or major credit card payments are accepted.

Additionally, 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.

  • You must present the release paperwork, identification, and proof of vehicle 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.
  • By Arizona law, tow companies are not required to release vehicles after normal business hours; doing so could result in a gate fee.

4. 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 Hearing Fee to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. Only cash or major credit card payments are accepted. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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. 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.
  • If the vehicle was reported stolen at the time it was impounded,
  • If the vehicle is subject to bailment and is driven by an employee of a business establishment, including a parking service or repair garage, who is subject to section 28‑3511, subsection A, B or C.
  • If ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY: The owner or owner’s spouse was not the person driving in violation at the time of the impoundment, AND the owner or the owner’s spouse 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 a written agreement with the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office 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 impoundment period within the next year.

In addition, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-3512, subsection D, the Yuma County Sheriff's Office may release a vehicle to a person, other than the owner, identified on the MVD record as having an interest in the vehicle before the end of the thirty day impoundment period if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The person is in the business of renting motor vehicles without drivers and the vehicle is registered pursuant to ARS §28‑2166.
  2. The person is a motor vehicle dealer, bank, credit union or acceptance corporation that holds a security interest in the vehicle.
  3. The person pays all towing and storage charges related to the impoundment of the vehicle and any administrative charges established pursuant to section 28‑3513 unless the vehicle is stolen and the theft was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If the vehicle is stolen and the theft was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency, the operator of the vehicle at the time of impoundment is responsible for all towing, storage and administrative charges.
  4. The person presents foreclosure documents or an affidavit of repossession of the vehicle.
  5. The person requesting release of the vehicle was not the person driving the vehicle at the time of impoundment.

8. 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 Hearing fee of $150.00 and towing and storage charges.
9. 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 Hearing fee ($150) and all towing and storage fees up to the actual date of release.
10. 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 Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. You must follow the claim process outlined above.
11. 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 Yuma County Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.

For more information...

Regarding vehicle impounds, contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office’s Records Department at (928) 329-2254 and/or the Patrol Support Officer.

 

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