Thursday, April 26, 2012

California DUI Impoundment Laws

A little known punishment relating to a DUI is the impoundment or actual sale of a defendant's car upon conviction of a drunk driving offense.  Though the California DUI Laws are some of the most stringent in the nation, the penalty is not often imposed, at least in the larger counties, largely due to to the logistical issues involved. Under the California Vehicle Code, the court may order that a vehicle that was used in the commission of an offense of DUI, and was registered to the convicted defendant, be impounded at the defendant’s expense for one to 30 days if the defendant has not had a prior conviction within the last five years. If the defendant has had a prior conviction within the last five years, the court must order impoundment of the vehicle at the defendant’s expense for one to 30 days, except in an unusual case. If the defendant has had two or more prior convictions within the last five years, the court must order impoundment of the vehicle at the defendant’s expense for one to 90 days.

If the accused is convicted of DUI and has two or more separate convictions within seven years, or is convicted of DUI with injury and has any separate convictions within the same period, the court may declare the vehicle a nuisance and order it to be sold, as long as the defendant is the registered owner under CA Vehicle Code §23596.  However, according to one Hermosa Beach Dui Attorney, the court may not order impoundment or sale if the defendant’s spouse has a community property interest in the vehicle, the vehicle requires only a class C or a class M license, and the vehicle is the sole vehicle available to the defendant’s family. (Courtesy, CA Jud. Bch Guide)