California Law permits police agencies to impound a car following an arrest of the driver for a DUI. The duration of that impound depends on a combination of many factors. For example, if the driver has prior DUI convictions the impound can be indefinite pending a hearing before a judge. This type of hold presumes that the vehicle poses a danger to the public since it was being driven by a person who shows a reckless disregard for the safety of the motoring public.
The most common type of impound is that of a first offender. In these cases the hold will often last only as long as the person is in custody and can pick up the car upon release, assuming he or she has a valid California drivers license. This scenario contemplates an arrest where the officer uses his discretion to have the vehicle towed if the vehicle was involved in the DUI. The costs of this type of example can be anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the distance towed and the number of days the car is held.