In Virginia, there are six main ways in which your car can be impounded.
- The first instance a vehicle may be impounded is if you’re arrested. If your vehicle is not legally parked, then police may impound it. Va. Code 19.2-80.1 states “in any case in which a police officer arrests the operator of a motor vehicle and there is no legal cause for the retention of the motor vehicle by the officer, the officer shall allow the person arrested to designate another person who is present at the scene of the arrest and a licensed driver to drive the motor vehicle from the scene to a place designated by the person arrested. If such a designation is not made, the officer may cause the vehicle to be taken to the nearest appropriate place for safekeeping.”
- Second, your vehicle can be impounded administratively. In sum, your vehicle will be impounded immediately for 30 days if you are caught driving after your license has been suspended for an alcohol-related offense. Also, your vehicle will be impounded by law enforcement if you operate a motor vehicle without a license after you have previously been convicted of driving without a license. The vehicle will remain impounded until you obtain a license or for three days, whichever is less.
- Third, your vehicle may be impounded as part of a punishment for an additional period of up to 90 days upon conviction of an offender for driving while his driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked.
- The fourth way a vehicle may be impounded is for connection with drug activity. Virginia Code §19.2-386.22 allows the seizure of money, medical equipment, office equipment, lab equipment, motor vehicles, and any personal or real property used in substantial connection with drug manufacturing, sales, distribution or trafficking.
- Next, a motor vehicle can be forfeited in connection with certain crimes including knowingly using a vehicle for transportation of stolen goods.
- Lastly, a vehicle may be removed or impounded if it is illegally parked, left unattended for more 10 days, or is a hazard
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