In Georgia law, a police officer may remove the car if the driver or person in control of the vehicle “is arrested for an alleged offense for which the officer is required by law to take the person arrested before a proper magistrate without unnecessary delay.”
Typically, this would be in the event of a driving under the influence arrest, particularly if it resulted in a fatal accident, or if the car was used to commit a serious crime.
So – what do you do if your car has been towed away and impounded after an arrest?
Recovery of Police Impounded Vehicles in Georgia
Although vehicles can be forfeited to the state with a court order and police officers do have the right to tow cars as explained above, they are not allowed to hold a vehicle if a licensed driver who is properly authorized asks for it to be released. If you are arrested and your car has been towed and impounded, you will need to authorize someone to secure the release of the impounded vehicle. This should be done as soon as possible to avoid excessive storage fees.
The first thing that needs to be established is the location of the vehicle. In most circumstances, the police officers who carried out the arrest will provide impound lot details.
Certain original documents will be required to validate ownership of the car. These normally include:
- Title or valid registration of the vehicle
- The bill of sale if the car was purchased within 25 days of it being impounded
- Proof of valid insurance
- Valid state identification
If someone other than the owner of the car applies for the car to be released, then they will need:
- A notarized power of attorney
- A letter from the legal owner stating that the person with the power of attorney has permission to recover the vehicle. This letter of authorization should also contain certain information:
- The year, make, model, and VIN of the vehicle
- The name of the owner as well as contact details including addressing and phone numbers
If the lot refuses to release the vehicle, you may need a court order for its release. Providing that the impoundment was legal, you will only be liable for storage fees (and towing) until the time that you asked for the return of the car. Thereafter, the police agency that instructed the lot not to release the car will be liable for these fees. A common reason for refusing to release a vehicle is because it is still part of an ongoing investigation. Nevertheless, it’s always best to have an attorney file a motion for release as quickly as possible to minimize storage fees.
If you’ve been arrested and your car was towed, the Don Turner Legal Team can help you get it back. Call us today!