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Your Car Following a DUI in Virginia

If an individual is charged with a DUI in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is unable to drive, and does not have a licensed driver who is able to drive the car, in most localities that car will typically be towed. Depending on the circumstances of the case, including whether or not a person lives locally, resides with a family, or other circumstances, the officer may give a person the opportunity to call someone, such as a family member, to come pick up the vehicle.

However, in the majority of the circumstances, an individual is simply arrested and taken to the local ADC, while another officer watches the vehicle and waits for it to be towed. Certain towing companies have contracts with the local law enforcement to provide tow when requested by the police. If a person has questions about where the tow lot is located or what the procedures are, it can be helpful to get a Virginia DUI attorney in the tow process.

Towing Process After a DUI

If a person’s vehicle is towed as a result of a DUI charge, that person will receive an invoice from the towing company to retrieve the vehicle. That towing cost will include both the cost of towing as well as the potential storage fees, if that person waits longer than is required to retrieve the vehicle. It is important to know that in most DUI cases an individual is under an administrative license suspension and thus cannot drive the vehicle. It is important to contact a licensed driver to reclaim the vehicle so that the licensed driver can drive the vehicle.

What to Bring to the Tow Lot

A person should contact a tow lot ahead of time to determine its hours and availability to get the vehicle out of the tow. Most tow companies require cash rather than credit cards or personal checks. A person should inquire as to the amount owed and whether or not they take other forms of payment other than cash. A person should also not bring large bills. Most towing companies require exact change or close to it to take back the vehicle. A person should bring a form of identification. The form of identification includes something that is not a driver’s license because typically a driver’s license is going to be taken by local law enforcement after the DUI arrest.

It should include something that identifies the vehicle, such as copy of the registration, copy of the title, the vehicle key, or any other identifying documents, such as the passport or any type of identification.

Search of the Car

A person should expect that the vehicle will be searched by the law enforcement entity as an inventory search prior to coming to the tow lot. As a result the individual should expect that the car might be a little bit disheveled, especially if there was clutter anyway. Things like the glove compartment may be undone, things may be out of place, and things of that nature. It is also good to realize that a tow lot is very deliberate and probably not on a very fast time schedule in getting the vehicle out. It may take a while at the local tow lot depending on the time of the day, their staffing, and the local procedures.

Illegal Substances in the Car

Typically if a person’s car has been towed and then searched prior to the tow as an inventory search, if something illegal was found in the car then that person should to be charged with possession of that illegal substance—whether it is drugs, alcohol for an underage person, or firearms. A person should expect that those charges are coming if he or she is already in jail. A search incident to an arrest or an inventory search prior to a tow are both typically valid exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against warrantless searches and seizures.

Affect on the Case

It is harmful for a person’s case when illegal substances are found in their vehicle. It is fairly harmful to one’s case to receive additional charges, but the fact that someone had an additional charge such as possession of a controlled substance or possession of marijuana does not necessarily impact whether or not that person’s DUI case is a strong case.

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