In my many years handling DUI cases, it is my experience that this is a question that most clients don't think about asking about until after they have received a DUI. Still, impoundment of a vehicle can inconvenience you in many ways and it is an important question to ask.
The Illinois Vehicle Code gives police the ability to impound for up to twelve hours (and in actual practice 24 hours) the vehicle of a person who is under arrest if the officer reasonably believes that the person will likely commit another DUI upon release. Often police are willing to arrange the release of the vehicle before the end of the twelve-hour period if the owner of the vehicle is not the defendant or the owner of the vehicle agrees to release the vehicle to a family member, particularly the spouse, child, parent, or sibling of the owner.
If you are arrested for your second DUI or are arrested for driving while having a suspended or revoked license, the police may impound the car for a minimum of twenty-four hours. If you are arrested for your third DUI or driving with a suspended license, the police may impound the car for a minimum of forty-eight hours. In both of these instances, the vehicle can be released sooner if the arrested person owns the vehicle and gives permission to another person who has a valid driver's license and the police believes this person is able to operate the vehicle safely.
The rules in Chicago are a bit tougher. The Chicago Municipal Code allows a police officer who has probable cause to believe that you have committed a DUI to seize and impound the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle will be responsible for paying an administrative penalty of $2,000 in addition to the various fees for storage and towing of the vehicle. The administrative penalty increases to $3,000 if within 500 feet of a public park or a school. You may request in writing within fifteen days of impoundment a hearing before the city's Department of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law judge will then determine if there is probable cause that the vehicle was used in the charged DUI incident. It should be noted that the administrative law judge may consider information in the police report in reaching their decision. If the administrative judge finds that there is no probable cause, the vehicle will be released.
If you are facing a DUI in the Chicagoland area, please contact the experienced DUI attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for possible representation.
–Posted by DUI lawyer John W. Callahan