California Vehicle Code Sections 14602.6 and 14602.7 authorize law enforcement agencies to impound vehicles for 30 days when driven by individuals with no driver’s license, a suspended license, or a revoked license.
The 30-day impound begins on the calendar day the vehicle is impounded. The vehicle will be released at the conclusion of the 30-day period (to the registered owner or designee with proper authorization) during normal business hours.
The registered owner is responsible, even if they were not driving the vehicle. California Vehicle Code Section 14604 states: “No owner of a motor vehicle may knowingly allow another person to drive the vehicle upon a highway unless the owner determines that the person possesses a valid driver's license that authorizes the person to operate the vehicle.” As the registered owner you are responsible for anyone who drives your vehicle; whether it be a relative, friend, or acquaintance. If your vehicle was taken without your permission, you must file a stolen vehicle report and the person will then be charged with a crime and may be arrested.
Pursuant to Section 22852 of the California Vehicle Code, you have the right to an administrative hearing to determine the validity of the storage. The hearing will be conducted by a supervisor assigned to the Traffic Division, and the sole issue before the hearing officer shall be whether there was probable cause to store the vehicle. The hearing will not affect any related citation or other criminal proceeding. If you wish to challenge the charge underlying any such citation or criminal proceeding, you must do so in the appropriate court.
An impounded vehicle is eligible for early release to the registered owner ONLY under the following circumstances:
The vehicle was stolen
The impoundment of the vehicle was invalid
Vehicle is subject to bailment and is driven by an unlicensed employee of a business
When the license of the driver was suspended or revoked for an offense other than those specified in CVC 14602.6(f)
When the driver reinstates his or her driver's license or acquires a driver's license and proper insurance
If you request a hearing, one will be conducted within 48 hours of the request, excluding weekends and holidays. In order to obtain a hearing, you must request it in person, in writing, or by telephone. Requests in person or by telephone must be made between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Telephone requests for a hearing should be directed to our Traffic Division at 949-644-3742.
The lien holder or finance company of an impounded vehicle may pick up the vehicle within the 30-day time period. Lien holders are still liable for all fees and storage charges.
If you have any vehicle impound questions, please call our front desk at 949-644-3681 or the Records Section at 949-644-3682.
Vehicle releases are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The fee is $19.
Vehicles will only be released to the registered owner, or to a designee of the registered owner (notarized letter required). A valid driver's license must be presented at the time of release.
Impounded vehicles may have additional requirements for release. Please contact our Records Section at 949-644-3682 if you need further information.