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Vehicle Impounds

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In 1995, the California State Legislature enacted the Safe Streets Act. California Vehicle Code Section 14602.6 was added to allow police officers to impound a vehicle being operated by any person driving without ever having been issued a license or anyone driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license.

Per C.V.C. 14604(a), it is unlawful for a motor vehicle owner to loan their vehicle to an unlicensed driver without making a reasonable effort to determine the license status of the person to whom the vehicle is loaned. Simply viewing the person's driver's license would satisfy this requirement. Based on Department of Motor Vehicle data listed under C.V.C. 14607.4, it is apparent that the growing number of persons operating vehicles illegally is a significant factor in the number of injury and fatal traffic collisions that occur annually in California.

4,000 persons are killed in traffic collisions in California annually, and another 33,000 persons suffer injury.

Of all drivers involved in injury and fatal traffic collisions, more than 20-percent are not licensed to drive.

A driver with a suspended license is four times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a properly licensed driver.

DMV estimates that of the 20 million driver's licenses issued in California, 720,000 are suspended or revoked, and 1 million people are driving without ever having been issued a license.

The vehicle of an unlicensed, suspended, or revoked driver is impounded for a period of 30 days in addition to any court actions that may be taken against the driver. In order to secure the release of the vehicle once the 30 days is up, the registered owner or their agent must pay all fees associated with the impound.

IMPOUNDED VEHICLE INFORMATION

Registered and legal owners of vehicles may request a post-storage hearing in accordance with 22650, 22852, and 14602.6 of the Vehicle Code. Post-storage validity hearings may be requested by the registered owner or legal owner and are conducted in person daily between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Montclair Police Department.

Vehicle releases and property releases from vehicles are available daily from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except for vehicles stored on a 30-day impound.

Vehicle releases and property releases from vehicles stored on a 30-day impound are available for release Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. only. The 30-day vehicle impound 24-hour recorded information line is (909)448-3600. Vehicles stored on a 30-day impound are stored at the Montclair Police Department storage facility.

An administrative vehicle release fee of $100 is required at the time of vehicle release. No administrative vehicle release fee is charged when the storage was due to an incapacitated driver (VC 22651(g)), the vehicle is a recovered stolen vehicle, a vehicle is repossessed by the legal owner, or when an arrestee is released pursuant to Penal Code Section 849(b). Administrative vehicle release fees must be paid by cash or Visa/MasterCard.

Reasons for release of vehicles prior to 30 days per C.V.C. 14602.6(d)(a):

The impoundment of the vehicle was invalid

The vehicle is stolen

The vehicle is subject to bailment and is driven by an unlicensed employee of a business establishment, including a parking service or repair garage

When the license of the driver was suspended or revoked for an offense other than those specifically authorized under C.V.C. 14602.6

When the driver reinstates his or her driver's license or acquires a driver's license and proper insurance

Per C.V.C. 14602.6(f), vehicles shall be released prior to 30 days if:

The legal owner is a motor vehicle dealer, bank, credit union, or other licensed financial institution or another person, not the registered owner, holding a security interest in the vehicle, AND the legal owner/agent presents a certificate of repossession, a security agreement for the vehicle, or title, whether paper or electronic, showing proof of legal ownership for the vehicle (do not have to be original documents). No lien sale fee will be assessed if the vehicle is redeemed prior to the 15th day of impoundment.

30-DAY IMPOUND FEES FOR VEHICLES STORED AT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IMPOUND LOT

An administrative fee, towing fee, storage fee, and vehicle lien processing fee will apply to vehicles released from the Police Department impound lot, as follows:

Impound release administrative fee

$150

Tow fee for vehicles with a GVWR less than 14,000 pounds

$150

Tow fee for vehicles with a GVWR of 14,001-19,501 pounds

$170

Daily Storage fee for vehicles less than 20-feet in length

($48 x 30 days = $1,440)

$48

Daily Storage fee for vehicles greater than 20-feet in length

($53 x 30 days = $1,590)

$53

Lien processing for vehicles valued less than $4,000

(see additional information below)

$70

Lien processing for vehicles valued greater than $4,000

(see additional information below)

$100

 

Lien Fee Additional Information

First 72 hours – Release to registered or legal owner (legal owner repossession) - No lien fee

After 72 hours, through Day 14 – Release to registered owner - ½ of lien fee

After 72 hours, through Day 14 – Release to legal owner (repossession) – No lien fee

Day 15 or after – Release to registered owner or legal owner (legal owner repossession) – Lien process not complete - ½ of lien fee

Day 15 or after – Release to registered owner or legal owner (legal owner repossession) – Lien process is complete – full lien fee