Arizona Revise Statues (ARS 28-3511) requires a law enforcement officer to impound a motor vehicle for a period of Thirty (30) days before being released. However, the law allows for some exceptions.
Gilbert Police Department will impound the vehicle under Arizona law, if the officer determines the vehicle operator:
- Has a revoked license
- Has no driver’s license or no record of ever having one
- Is arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI
- Is under 21 and has any amount of alcohol in their system
- Is in violation of an ignition interlock requirement
- Is involved in a motor vehicle crash while driving on a cancelled, revoked license and does not have vehicle insurance
Vehicles towed under this statute are impounded for 30 days.
However, your vehicle may be released early under the following circumstances and will require a post-towing hearing:
- The owner presents proof that their driving privilege has been reinstated.
- The vehicle was reported stolen at the time it was impounded.
- The vehicle is subject to bailment and was driven by an employee of a business.
- The owner was not the person driving the vehicle at the time of impoundment.
- The owner is in the business of renting vehicles.
- The vehicle has not had a prior 30-day hold with any police department in this state within a year.
To obtain your vehicle prior to the 30-day impound period, a hearing must be scheduled by calling (480) 635-7511 and leaving a short message with your name, phone number, and report number. If you do not know your case number, leave the full Identification Number (VIN) or plate number. Calls are returned in two business days; holidays are not considered business days.
- Hearings are held at the Gilbert Police Department, 75 E. Civic Center Dr., Gilbert, Arizona 85296.
- Hearings are by APPOINTMENT ONLY. Walk-in/telephone hearings will not be accepted.
- Hearings must be scheduled within 10 days of the vehicle being towed. After the 10 days have elapsed, a hearing may not be granted.
- The hearings are to determine the validity of the impoundment, or to determine whether the vehicle may be released prior the end of the 30-day impoundment period and to provide you with the release paperwork for the vehicle.
- The spouse of the owner may obtain an early release hearing. If spouse name is not listed on MVD records, that person must present their original or certified Marriage certificate.
- The registered owner or person who the vehicle is being released to will enter into an agreement with the Gilbert Police Department stating the following:
- They will only allow the vehicle to be driven legally by a driver with a valid driver’s license.
- They will not let a driver arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI or a minor with alcohol in their system to drive the impounded vehicle within one year of signing the Letter of Agreement.
If the agreement is violated, the vehicle will be impounded for the full 30-days, and a civil traffic citation will be issued.
Arizona State Law dictates these conditions to release a vehicle early. Personal hardships cannot be considered.
You must have been listed as an owner with MVD Record at the time of impound and must not have a previous Early Release Agreement on file within the last year with any police department in this state.
If you sell the vehicle or change the name on the title after the vehicle was impounded, the new owner will not qualify for an early release.
Impounded for a Revoked or No Driver’s License
If the registered owner was the driver, their driver’s license must be reinstated.
Impounded for Extreme/Aggravated DUI or a Driver Under 21 with Alcohol in Their System
If the registered owner was the driver, the vehicle will not be released early to the registered owner.
Impounded for an Ignition Interlock Violation
If the registered owner was the driver, the owner must present original documentation from the interlock company, showing the device is installed. Document must be on company’s letterhead to include vehicle’s information (VIN) and date of service.
Vehicle May be Released Early Under the Following Additional Circumstances
- May be released to co-owner (must have been listed as a co-owner with MVD record at the time of the impoundment)
- May be released to a spouse
- Cannot have a previous Letter of Agreement on file with any Arizona Police Department within the last year
NOTE: If you are the spouse of the registered owner and your name is not on MVD record as a co-owner, in an addition to the required documents, you must present an original or certified Marriage Certificate.
Rental Vehicle Impounded Under ARS 28-2166
An employee of the rental agency with proper credentials and identification must present all required documents to include:
- Valid rental contract
- Original and notarized letter of authorization on company’s letterhead, authorizing the employee to recover the vehicle on the company’s behalf
- Original and notarized Hold Harmless agreement
Impounded While a Parking Service, Repair Garage, or Business was Operating the Vehicle
The registered owner may claim the vehicle with proper documents.
Impounded Stolen Vehicle
- For the State Administrative fee and tow yard charges be waived, you must provide an official copy of the stolen vehicle report and be willing to cooperate in the prosecution of the driver.
- The driver will be responsible to pay for all the fees.
- Lien holders must meet the requirements of Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) 28-3512.D, E, F and G.
- The lien holder must have been listed as the lien holder on the MVD record at the time of the impoundment.
- The lien must still be in force to qualify.
- The lien holder cannot have any prior Letter of Agreement on file with any police department in this state within a year.
What must be presented by the lien holder or repossession agent for the vehicle to be released?
- Bring a valid driver’s license
- An authorization letter from your employer
- An original, notarized Power of Attorney that includes the authorization person and company’s name, Hold Harmless Agreement, and Agreement of Operation paragraph (note: Agreement of Operation paragraph is only on early release vehicle.)
- An original, notarized Repossession Affidavit from MVD
- An electronic copy of the title, showing the lien holder’s name and lien start date
- $150 state Administrative fee in exact cash at the time of the hearing. No other payment form is accepted.
- Dealer plates if the vehicle is being towed/hauled away from the tow yard.
Hold Harmless Agreement and Letter of Authorization must state the following:
- Year, Make, Model, and exact VIN (must be exact VIN or will not accept)
- Name of person authorized for the hearing and to pick up the vehicle. (Name must be the same as their driver’s license.)
- A sentence stating, they are Holding the Town of Gilbert Police Department harmless from and against all claims, damages, losses, and actions against the impounded vehicle.
- If the vehicle is being released prior to the 30-day period, the letter must include the Agreement of Operation paragraph.
- A sentence stating, they understand that not only will the vehicle be impounded for the full 30-day, they will be subject to a civil traffic citation if they violate the Letter of Agreement within a year.
- If the company has several names, list the names they go by, so we will know they are the same companies.
- Lien holder’s full address must be included.
- Letter MUST BE SIGNED by authorized person with their name and title printed under their signature. (Printed name must be legible)
Additional documents may be required, and vehicles may not be released early if special circumstances exist.
You may obtain release paperwork by scheduling a hearing at (480) 635-7511. You can leave a short message with your name, phone number, and report number #. Calls are returned in two business days. The $150 administrative fee is still required for a release after the 30-day period has expired.
- Appointments are held in person at Gilbert Police Department at the appointed time given to you when you schedule your hearing.
- You will be required to bring proper payment and documents for the release.
- If you own the vehicle but do not have a valid driver’s license, you must bring your government-issued identification along with someone who has a valid driver’s license.
- If you are using a Limited Power of Attorney form, you must provide the original, notarized document along with a copy of the owner’s identification used to get the document notarized.
$150 State Administrative fee is payable in EXACT CASH at the time of the hearing, no other forms of payment will be accepted. Personal hardships cannot be considered. This fee is set by state law and applies to every vehicle impounded under (ARS) 28-3511.
- VALID proof of current annual Registration for the impounded vehicle
- VALID proof of current Insurance for the impounded vehicle with the VIN and dates of coverage (must be a printed/physical copy) Fleet Insurance covering all vehicle owned is acceptable if it’s a rental or dealer vehicle.
- Valid Driver’s license from any state within the United States of America
Except for stolen vehicle, the driver at the time of the incident, will be responsible for all administrative, towing, and storage fees regardless of when the vehicle is released.
What do I do after I obtain the Vehicle Release Form?
- Take your release paperwork, identification, and proof of vehicle ownership to the tow company
- Pay $15-a-day storage fees and any hook up and mileage fees directly to the tow company (call the tow yard to obtain their preference of payment)
- By Arizona law, tow companies are not required to release vehicles after normal business hours; doing so could result in an additional charge of a gate fee.
What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?
- Under Arizona law, the towing company may file for an abandoned title to seek ownership of the vehicle if it is left unclaimed at the tow yard for more than ten (10) days past the mandatory thirty (30) day impoundment. If you have difficulty paying for the towing and storage fees and wish to retain ownership of your vehicle, you should contact the tow company directly.
- MVD could charge an abandoned vehicle fee.
- To request more time to recover vehicle after the release, contact the Motor Vehicle Department Abandoned Vehicles Unit at (602) 712-8406.
What If I need property from my vehicle?
The registered owner can claim property from the vehicle, as a one (1) time courtesy, by providing your government-issued identification and proof of ownership to the tow company.
If I am found “not guilty” on my criminal or traffic charges, will that affect the impound of my vehicle?
No, the impound is based on the probable cause the officer had at the time the vehicle was impounded.
Do I have to pay any money to the Gilbert Police Department and the tow yard?
Yes, there is a $150 state administrative fee payable in exact cash to the Gilbert Police Department Only If the vehicle is going to be released. $15 a day storage fee and tow and hook-up fees are to be paid at tow yard.
Do I need an attorney for the hearing?
No, an attorney is not necessary. However, you can bring your attorney if you wish. The hearing process is informal and rather brief.
What can I do if my registration is expired, and I am unable to reinstate my registration until my vehicle passes emission?
You may obtain a 3 or 30-day temporary permit from MVD.
Note: A 3 or 30-day permit does NOT prove ownership; therefore, in addition to the permit, the registered owner will also need to present the vehicle’s title or the vehicle’s expired annual registration.
Can I get a temporary 3 or 30-day permit from MVD if my registration is M/I suspended?
No, Per MVD, A temporary permit will not be issued unless the M/I suspension is cleared with MVD.
What if the 30 days has expired and I own the vehicle, but my driver’s license is not valid?
If the 30 days has expired, you may bring a licensed driver at the time of the scheduled appointment. Your licensed driver must present a valid driver’s license.
If I transfer ownership or add a new person onto the registration after the vehicle was impounded, could the new owner retrieve the vehicle before the 30 days Impoundment period?
No, if the name on the registration has been changed or added during the impound period, the new owner is not eligible for an early release. it will require the vehicle to be held for the full 30 days.
Can the state administrative fee be waived?
No, unless the vehicle was impounded in error, the state administrative fee cannot be waived, and no personal hardships cannot be considered.
I was the driver and I still do not have a valid driver’s license, can my vehicle be released early to my parents?
No, if their names were not listed on the registration at the time of the impoundment, the vehicle cannot be released early to them.
My vehicle was stolen at the time of impoundment, will I still have to pay for the state administrative fee and tow charges?
No. The driver will be responsible for all charges. However, you must provide an official copy of the stolen vehicle report, showing that the driver will be prosecuted for the fees to be waived.
If I got my vehicle towed for revoked license but has since reinstated my license, can the vehicle be released prior to the 30-day period?
Yes, bring proof that your driver’s license was reinstated. A MVD inquiry must also show that your license has been reinstated.
At the end of the 30-days, can I just go to the towing company and retrieve my vehicle?
No, the towing company is not allowed to release any vehicle that was impounded for ARS 28-3511 without paperwork from the Gilbert Police Department. You must follow the process listed in “Claiming your vehicle after the 30-day impoundment period has expired”.