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What happens to your car if you’re arrested for DUI?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Firm News

If you end up pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol, you may have a lot of things on your mind.

For many people, however, one of their most immediate concerns is, “What’s going to happen to my car?” Will it just be abandoned by the side of the road?

You may be allowed to make arrangements

If there’s a sober, licensed driver in the vehicle with you as a passenger, they may be allowed to drive your vehicle back to your home or another location (with your consent). If not, the officer may allow you to contact someone and ask them to retrieve your vehicle for you. However, don’t count on it.

The vehicle will most likely be searched and towed

Georgia law allows the authorities to seize your keys and order your vehicle to be towed to an impound lot if you have been arrested. Prior to towing, your vehicle will be searched so that an inventory can be taken. Because the search is incident to your arrest, it is not considered illegal, even without a warrant.

This is important to know, because you can end up facing additional charges or find that there’s additional evidence against you in the DUI case if the police find things like:

  • Illicit drugs or prescription drugs that are not in a container or in a container that does not have your name on it
  • An unlicensed firearm or another weapon that’s illegal to have
  • Open containers of alcohol or the remnants of open containers, like empty beer cans

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you will only have 30 calendar days to pay the towing and impound lot fees for storage and other costs if you want to retrieve your vehicle. After that point, your car will be sold at auction.

A DUI charge can quickly disrupt your life and your finances. To get things back on track, it’s wisest to seek legal guidance and explore your defense options as soon as possible.