Arizona Vehicle Impoundment For Suspended License Eliminated


Under current Arizona law 1  a police officer is required to impound a motor vehicle in several circumstances including when the driver’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason. If a vehicle is impounded it can be a major problem for the owner because the vehicle be can held for 30 days and can cost $750 or more in costs and fees to get it out of impoundment.  Additionally, if the owner’s privilege to drive is not fully reinstated at the end of the 30-day impoundment period the vehicle cannot be returned to the owner who must either authorize the vehicle’s release to another person or abandon the vehicle.  If the vehicle is abandoned the MVD assesses the owner a $500 abandoned vehicle fee.  Therefore, if the driver/owner’s privilege to drive is suspended for not paying court fines only their vehicle will be impounded and they can easily end losing the vehicle and having to pay an additional $500.

2018 Arizona Session Laws, Chapter 113  2changes that law to eliminate “suspended” privilege as a legal reason to impound the vehicle and so if the impoundment is based on the status of the privilege only, the status must be “revoked”.   A vehicle may be impounded for other reasons but not where the only reason for the impoundment is that the privilege to drive is “suspended”.

This change in the law takes effect on January 1, 2019.

Footnotes

  1. 28 A.R.S. § 3511.A.1
  2. 2018 Arizona Session Laws, Chap. 113, sec. 13