My car was impounded, what do I do?

Vehicles may be impounded for several reasons. The registered owner must bring proper identification, and current registration to the Police Department if your vehicle was impounded as a result of:

  • Being abandoned
  • The driver was arrested
  • Expired or suspended registration
  • A one-day storage as a result of an unlicensed driver driving the vehicle
  • A traffic hazard

Bring all Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) paperwork showing current registration or a one-day moving pass. This must be done Monday through Friday, between 9:30 am and 6 pm. If the vehicle is currently registered, a release will be issued for a fee of $245. If the vehicle was reported stolen, there is no fee. After you have received a vehicle release, arrangements can be made with the tow company to pay their fees and have the vehicle released.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the release of a vehicle under these circumstances, please contact the Records Bureau at 626-960-1955. If your vehicle was impounded because it was used in a crime or is evidence of a crime, contact the Tow Coordinator at 626-960-1955, ext. 429. Be sure to have your license plate number or case number available so you can be referred to the detective handling the case. If your vehicle was impounded because it was being operated by a driver driving on a suspended license, it will be held for 30 days (per California Vehicle Code Section 14602.6).

Requirements for a Vehicle Release

In order to get a vehicle release, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. The registered owner must be present with a valid form of identification
  2. The vehicle registration must be current or you must possess a Deposit of Fees receipt issued by the DMV and a temporary moving permit
  3. You must pay the release fee of $245.

Determination of Release

If the registered owner is unlicensed, he/she must be accompanied by a licensed driver. However, on any storage or impound one can request a hearing to determine the validity of storage (per California Vehicle Code Section 22852). At the hearing, a determination will be made on the validity of the storage, and/or the 30-day hold status.

If the hearing determines the storage to be unlawful, the storing agency will be responsible for the towing and storage charges. Your failure to request or attend a scheduled hearing shall satisfy the Post-Storage Validity requirements (per California Vehicle Code Section 22852). Hearings are conducted Monday through Friday at 12:45 pm in the front lobby of the police department. Appointments are not needed. The registered owner is still responsible for the release fee regardless if the vehicle was released early from a 30-day hold.

Show All Answers

1. Where can I get a “fix-it ticket” signed off?
2. What do I do with my “fix-it ticket” after it is signed off?
3. How do I contest a parking citation?
4. How do I contest a traffic citation?
5. Who do I call to report on-going traffic problems?
6. How do I obtain a driver’s license?
7. What is considered proper or valid identification?
8. My car was impounded, what do I do?
9. What does California Vehicle Code (CVC) 14601.1 mean?
10. Someone was driving my vehicle and it was impounded. How can I find out where the vehicle is located and retrieve my property?
11. I am the registered owner of an impounded vehicle and unable to come to the Police Department to obtain a release form. How can I get my car?
12. The registered owner of the vehicle is in jail/prison and wants to release the vehicle and/or property located in the vehicle to me. What should I do?
13. I was involved in a traffic collision. How long does it take to get a copy of the police report?
14. I was involved in a traffic collision, but I don’t agree with the findings and/or information in the police report. What can I do?
15. There was a major collision on the street near my house. The police had the street closed for hours. Why did it take so long for them to re-open the street?
16. Why do you have checkpoints?