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Arrested for DUI in DuPage County: Can the Police Seize My Vehicle?

Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI defense lawyersWhen a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the police will do some preliminary tests, roadside. If the police believe they have probable cause for a DUI arrest, the driver will then be taken to a nearby police station (or sometimes to a hospital) for chemical testing. When the driver is finally released from police custody, yet another problem must be faced: what happened to their car?

Vehicles Used in DUI Typically End Up in an Impound Lot

Every police department has one or more authorized companies that can be summoned to tow and store vehicles that have been, for example, wrecked in an accident, illegally parked, or left at roadside following a DUI arrest. The police will inform a driver arrested for DUI where their car has been towed.

Towing and storage fees alone can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. The city or county where the DUI occurred may also charge an administrative fee since a city police officer or sheriff’s deputy had to take the time to arrange the towing.  In DuPage County, the administrative fee alone can be as high as $500.

The vehicle owner can typically pick up their car from the impound lot immediately. However, Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/4-203) allows the police to hold the vehicle for as long as twelve hours, if necessary to prevent a still-intoxicated driver from getting back behind the wheel. If the driver is a repeat DUI offender, the police can hold the vehicle for 24-48 hours.

You Could Lose Your Car to a Seizure and Civil Forfeiture Action

Illinois law enforcement officers may confiscate a vehicle if the driver committed DUI in combination with any of the following offenses:

  • No vehicle liability insurance,
  • No valid driver’s license,
  • A suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI or reckless homicide,
  • A prior conviction for reckless homicide or aggravated DUI with death or great bodily harm, and
  • Two or more previous DUI violations.

The seizure of personal assets used in the commission certain crimes, such as DUI, is authorized under an Illinois law commonly referred to as Article 36 (720 ILCS 5/36-1a6).

Many people associate asset seizures with federal drug crimes, but Illinois law enforcement agencies also use this crime-fighting tactic on a regular basis. Dozens of vehicles are seized each year in the DuPage County area from repeat DUI offenders and other convicted criminals. When seized assets are sold at auction, the associated police department receives most of the proceeds.

Call on an Oak Brook DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with DUI, talk to an experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney before you make any decisions. At McMahon Law Offices, our attorneys know many ways to challenge DUI charges, even if you failed a breathalyzer test. Call 630-953-4400 to discuss your options.







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