How Can I Get My Car Back After A DUI Arrest in Pinellas County?


Being charged with a DUI in Clearwater brings many serious consequences, including driver’s license suspension, fines, and possible jail time. Top DUI lawyers in Clearwater, FL with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. know how important it is to our clients to restore a level of normalcy to your life after a DUI arrest. Getting your car back will be high on the list of priorities. 

Below, we outline three possible scenarios of what could happen to your vehicle following a DUI arrest. Acting quickly is key to getting your car back as soon as possible and beginning the process of returning to normal day-to-day life. Contacting a DUI defense attorney at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan would also be in your best interest, as we are experts in how to navigate the days and weeks following a DUI arrest.

Have a Trusted Friend or Relative Drive Your Car Home

The option of a friend or relative picking up your car and driving it home for you is the most ideal scenario, but it is completely dependent on the arresting officer. This is a courtesy and is not guaranteed; however, the officer may agree to allow it if your friend or family member can get to your vehicle within about 20 minutes. 

Where the car is taken is up to the person who picks it up. If it is not taken back to your residence (or whatever location you prefer for it to stay), in most cases, you will have 10 days to drive under a temporary permit; within that period, you will be able to pick up and drive your car to your preferred location.

You May Be Able To Pick Your Car Up At A Later Time

If you do not have anyone to come and pick your car up, but it is in a secure lot or parking area, you may be able to leave it there and pick it up at a later time. This scenario is typically only allowed if there is confirmation you or someone you trust can pick up the car the following day. 

Before leaving the scene, your car will be locked, and your keys will be put with your personal items for retrieval following your release. The exact location of your car will be provided on the documents you receive after your arrest. 

If you are not in a secure location when arrested for DUI and no one is able to pick your car up in a timely manner, the third scenario will likely be how you will have to retrieve your vehicle.

Your Car May Be Towed and Left Waiting For You

The most common scenario following a DUI arrest, your car can be towed from the scene and impounded until you can pick it up following your release. While this is the most common case, it can be the most difficult one to navigate. This scenario is another where time is of the essence; for every day that your car is impounded, you will be charged storage fees, in addition to the towing charge. 

Step one to reclaiming your car will be identifying who towed it and where they took it. Pinellas County law enforcement utilizes several towing companies and any one of them could have been who towed your car. You will need to contact the arresting agency, and they will be able to tell you what company was responsible for towing your car; then, you can contact the company to get information on where it was towed for storage. 

Step two is to gather all of the necessary documentation to prove that you are the rightful owner of the car. This typically includes an “Impound Release” form from the police agency, your ID, your insurance information, and proof of ownership (i.e. a bill of sale, title, vehicle registration, or lease agreement). Some of these documents may be stored in your car; if this is the case, you can return to the arresting agency, which will be able to provide needed information from the Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID). Or, they may tell you to proceed to the impound lot and secure the documents from your car once you arrive.

You will also want to be sure that you are prepared with payment for any towing, impound, or storage fees (as well as possible fines) in order to reclaim your vehicle. If your arrest was in the City of St. Petersburg, you may face an additional $500.00 fine as part of a local ordinance violation in order to secure the release of your vehicle.

Work With Top DUI Attorneys in Clearwater, FL

After retrieving your car, you will want to immediately contact Russo, Pelletier, & Sullivan, P.A. Working with a top DUI attorney in Clearwater ensures that the process following an arrest for DUI goes smoothly and with the best outcome for you. 

Once your car has been retrieved, we can help you determine if you are eligible for a hardship license. Contact us today and let our attorneys start the process of defending you and your freedoms. 

If you are in need of a top DUI lawyer in Clearwater that you can trust, complete our contact request form or give us a call today at (727) 578-0303.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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