The video below explains the vehicle impound process:
Information about your impounded vehicle
If your vehicle was impounded by an officer of the Chandler Police Department please carefully read the information the officer provided you at the time of the impound for important instructions. This page provides some additional information concerning this topic.
If your vehicle was impounded by another law enforcement agency, you must contact that agency directly for assistance in obtaining the release of your vehicle. If your vehicle was impounded as evidence of a crime by the Chandler Police Department, the information provided on this page does not apply to you.
Why was my vehicle impounded?
Arizona law requires law enforcement agencies to impound a motor vehicle when the driver is in violation of specific provisions of the law. Those provisions are:
- The driver’s driving privilege is revoked for ANY reason.
- The driver’s driving privilege is suspended for ANY reason.
- The driver is in an accident, AND has no insurance, AND has a suspended, revoked or cancelled drivers license for any reason.
- The driver is arrested for either Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI.
- The driver is under legal drinking age (21) and has any alcohol in their body.
How long will my vehicle be impounded for?
The law requires that vehicles impounded under the above conditions be held for a period of thirty (30) days before being released. In some cases your vehicle may be released sooner if permitted by the statute.
How much will it cost to get my vehicle back?
In order to have your vehicle returned, certain charges or fees required by Arizona law must be paid prior to release. Those charges include an administrative fee of $150.00, paid directly to the Chandler Police Department prior to receiving authorization for release of your vehicle. Applicable towing, storage and any gate charges are paid directly to the tow company.
How do I get my vehicle back?
On or after the 30th day of impound OR if you get your license reinstated OR you meet certain requirements, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you. In certain cases where the driver of the vehicle is not the owner, the vehicle may be released with conditions to the owner. To get your vehicle back, follow these steps:
- You must call the Chandler Police Department Desert Breeze Substation at 480-782-4109 and request an appointment to release the vehicle. Please bring with you the vehicle report or notice of impound form that was given to you when your car was towed or mailed to you.
- If you meet the requirements for an early release (listed below) a hearing will be scheduled for you within five business days.
- Hearings are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- All impound hearings are processed at the Chandler Police Desert Breeze Substation, located at 251 North Desert Breeze Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85226.
- Do not call or go to the Chandler Police Main Station in downtown Chandler. You cannot make arrangements to obtain your impounded vehicle at the Main Station.
- If you do not meet the requirements for an early release you must wait the full 30 days to get your car back. You must make an appointment by calling 480-782-4109 to obtain a release prior to picking up your car at the tow company.
- Bring with you a valid driver’s license and valid vehicle registration card and proof of vehicle insurance. You may have to first go to the court and/or the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles if your license was suspended, revoked or cancelled and/or if your vehicle registration was expired or cancelled. Your vehicle cannot be released until these documents are valid and current. You must have a valid vehicle registration before the vehicle can be released.
- You must pay an administrative fee of $150.00 to the Chandler Police Department. Payment must be in the form of cash (exact amount). Personal checks, cashier’s checks, credit card and money orders are not accepted.
- Upon payment of the fee and presentation of valid driver license, vehicle registration and insurance, you will be given a release form that you must take to the towing company. The towing company will not release your vehicle without the authorization of release from the Chandler Police Department.
- At the towing company, you must pay all associated towing and storage charges. Payment is made directly to the towing company. If you cannot go to the tow yard at other than normal business hours, you may be charged a gate fee. You must also present proof of your identity and ownership to the tow company.
If you do not claim your vehicle when it is available for release, the towing company may file for abandoned title to the vehicle.
Who can have the vehicle returned?
The owner, owner’s spouse or lien holders are the only persons who can have the vehicle released.
What if someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle when it was impounded?
The owner may be able to get the vehicle back prior to the 30-day period, usually by signing an Agreement of Operation with the police department. The owner is still responsible for paying all fees and charges in order to have the vehicle released. If someone else was driving, you may have to seek civil action against them for any expenses you incur as a result of the impound.
What if I own the vehicle but have not yet transferred the title into my name? Can I still get the car back?
Yes after 30 days, but you must first completely meet all legal title and registration requirements and have the title transferred into your name before the vehicle can be returned to you. This can be done through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. If the Vehicle is registered out of state, you must either register the vehicle in Arizona or deal with the state in which it is currently registered.
What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?
If you do not claim your vehicle when it is eligible for release (after 30-days) the towing company has the right to file a request with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division to assume title of your vehicle. The towing company would then become the legal owner of the vehicle and may salvage or auction it. If you have difficulty in paying for the towing and storage fees, you should at least contact the towing company if you wish to retain ownership of your vehicle.
Can I get my vehicle back before the 30 days are up?
Yes. Under certain limited circumstances you may be able to have the vehicle returned to you prior to the 30-day impound period. You may have the vehicle released early only if you meet one of the following conditions or circumstances:
- If the owner who was the driver at the time of the impound, presents proof satisfactory that their driving privilege has been reinstated. Simply bring proof that your license is now valid to the Chandler Police Department with all other required documentation.
- If the vehicle was reported stolen at the time it was impounded.
- If the vehicle is subject to bailment and was driven by an employee of a business establishment including a parking service or repair garage who is subject to ARS 28-3511– A or B.
- If all the following apply – the owner or owner’s agent was not the person driving in violation at the time of the impound, and the owner or the owner’s agent is in the business of renting motor vehicles without drivers, and the vehicle is registered pursuant to ARS 28-2166.
In certain circumstances the spouse of the owner may enter into a written agreement with the Chandler Police Department that they will not let a driver arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI, or a minor in possession of alcohol, to drive the vehicle within one year. If the agreement is violated there is no relief available from the 30-day impound period next time the vehicle is impounded.
In addition, the vehicle shall be released to a person other than the owner identified on MVD’s record as having an interest in the vehicle before the end of the 30-day period if all of the following conditions are met:
- The person is a motor vehicle dealer, bank, credit union or acceptance corporation or any other licensed financial institution legally operating in this state or is another person who is not the owner and who holds a security interest in the vehicle; and
- The person pays all administrative, towing and storage fees related to the impoundment of the vehicle unless the vehicle is stolen and the theft was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If the vehicle was stolen and the theft was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency, the operator of the vehicle at the time of impoundment is responsible for all towing, storage and administrative charges; and
- The person presents foreclosure documents or an affidavit of repossession of the vehicle.
If the owner (who was the driver) had a suspended license, can they get their vehicle back prior to the 30-day period if their license is restored to a valid status?
Yes. The owner would have to prove that their license had been restored and driving privileges reinstated. The owner would present this proof of a valid license with proof of a valid registration and proof of insurance and upon payment of the administrative fee, the vehicle would be released. The owner would then go to the towing company, provide proof of release, proof of ownership and identity, pay all towing/storage fees and retrieve their vehicle.
Would I still have to pay fees and charges if the vehicle is released early to me?
Yes. The owner is still liable for the administrative fee and all towing/storage fees to the actual date of release.
At the end of the 30 days can I just go to the towing company and get my vehicle?
No. The towing company will not release your vehicle at anytime without the release authorization paperwork from the Chandler Police Department. You must follow the claim process as outlined above.
If I am found “not guilty” on my criminal or traffic charges will that affect the impound of my vehicle?
No, as long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to the law and our procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.
Can I have a hearing about the impound?
Yes. You may request a hearing by calling the Chandler Police Department at (480) 782- 4109. You must provide valid license, insurance and registration at the hearing.
Do I need to have a hearing?
No. Most people who do not meet one of the exemptions allowing for the vehicles early release will not request or need a hearing.
When must I request a hearing should I want one?
Your request in writing or by telephone must be received by the Chandler Police Department no later than ten (10) days from the date of the vehicle impoundment. If your request is received after the ten day period, a hearing will not be granted concerning the impound.
How is the hearing conducted?
Hearings are conducted by a Chandler Police Department Impound Hearing Specialist.
What will I have to prove in a hearing?
That you are the vehicle’s registered owner or lien holder and are able to provide a valid drivers license, insurance and registration.
Is there a charge for the hearing?
Do I need an attorney for the hearing?
No. The hearing process is informal and brief. If you are Spanish speaking, an interpreter will be provided to assist you.