Interviewer: Is there anything else about the DUI that drivers are commonly confused about?
Brian Sloan: Occasionally, when someone is stopped and when they are arrested, their vehicle ends up getting towed. Certain municipalities, certain police officers do have orders that they are required to tow a vehicle when the driver’s portable breath test result is above an extreme limit.
Some officers really have the option of parking the vehicle or allowing the vehicle to stay parked in a parking lot or towing the vehicle. Unfortunately, sometimes, the officers tow vehicles when they really don’t need to.
A BAC of .15 or Higher will Result in the Vehicle Being Impounded for 30 Days
If a vehicle is being towed, the suspect will receive a notice explaining to them that their vehicle has been towed and what process to follow in order in to retrieve their vehicle. The problem is when the driver registers a blood alcohol level at a .15 or higher. In that case, the vehicleis required to be impounded for 30 days.
And sometimes, this is unfortunate the breath test is performed on the portable breath test results, which are not considerable admissible in the court of law. Sometimes, that result will show that they were above a point 15. So, when we actually get in the blood test results or get a later breath test results, we’ll see that the person was truly below a point 15, but it doesn’t matter.
The Vehicle May Be Retrieved Earlier than 30 days If the Spouse of the Defendant Signs for the Vehicle
If the officer has a portable breath test result that shows a point 15 or above, the person’s vehicle is getting towed and it’s getting impounded for 30 days. It is possible to get the person’s vehicle out of impound in less than 30 days if that person is married and the spouse is willing to go in and sign off and get it taken out.
The Vehicle Can Be Released Earlier if the Driver Is Not the Owner of the Car
The other way is if the vehicle has someone else’s name on the title, such as a business, a leasing company, or another person. The problem is while the vehicle can be taken out early, let’s say by a spouse, it can be taken out prior to the 30 days. Usually, the spouse is going to be required to sign a contract indicating that they will not allow anyone who has been arrested or convicted of a DUI to operate that vehicle for one year.
When a Spouse Retrieves the Car, They Sign a Contract Agreeing to Prohibit the Driver That Received the DUI from Operating the Vehicle for One Year
And a lot of people don’t seem to realize that. They leave the impound lot. They have the vehicle and they don’t realize that they just signed the document saying that the person who was arrested is not allowed to operate that vehicle for one year.Even though, technically, at the time that the vehicle was taken out, that person may be perfectly legal to drive under the Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit.
Now, That Driver Cannot Operate the Vehicle That Will Be Required to Have the Ignition Interlock Device Installed
They may have a perfectly valid driver’s license, but because of contractual reasons, the spouse has now prevented that person from being allowed to operate that vehicle. This can then cause problems later on when the person is required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they operate, but technically, the husband has signed the document saying that the wife will not operate that vehicle.
So, where are they supposed to put the device if they can’t put on that vehicle because they’re not allowed to operate that vehicle? And that is the only vehicle?
Things can definitely get complicated and I think the laws don’t meet reality. I think the answer is to just do away with this entire system concerning a license suspension for being suspected of DUI and impounding the vehicle. It just causes so many problems, but that’s going to take a legislative change.