Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Impoundments Under ARS 28-3511

​​For how long will my vehicle be impounded?

Vehicles impounded under ARS 28-3511  will be placed on a mandatory hold as required by state law. The law allows for some exemptions for early release, and you may be eligible to have the vehicle released sooner. For example, if your driver's license is reinstated by the Motor Vehicle Division or the courts, you may be allowed to have your vehicle released before the impoundment period.

How much will it cost to get my vehicle back?

Arizona law requires the owner of the v​ehicle to pay for all towing charges as well as storage fees. Storage fees are limited to a maximum of $25.00 per day. These charges are dueand payable to the towing company that removed and is storing your vehicle. In addition, pursuant to ARS 28-3514, the owner is liable for an administrative fee of $150.00 paid with cash, cashier's check or money order payable to the City of Phoenix.

How do I get my vehicle back?

The Phoenix Police Department can release your vehicle once all requirements have been satisfied pursuant to state law. On or after the impoundment period, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you.

To receive the release paperwork, follow these steps:

  • You must pay an Administrative Fee of $150 with cash, cashier's check or money order payable to City Phoenix. Upon payment of the fee you will be given a copy of a release form that you must take to the towing company.
  • At the towing company, you must pay the towing and storage fees. Payment is made directly to the towing company by cash, money order, certified check or credit card. If you arrive at the tow yard to reclaim your vehicle outside of regular business hours, you will be charged an after hour gate fee. You must also present proof of your identity and ownership to the tow company.
  • If you do not claim your vehicle within ten (10) days of the available release date, the towing company may file for an abandoned title to the vehicle.

What if someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle when it was impounded?

The registered owner of the vehicle must pay the $150.00 Administrative Fee with cash, cashier's check or money order payable to City of Phoenix. A valid driver's license, current vehicle registration and proof of mandatory auto insurance must be presented. The registered owner must also pay for all towing fees and storage charges directly to the towing company in order to qualify for the release of the vehicle.

What if I own the vehicle but have not yet transferred the title into my name? Can I still get the vehicle back?

You must first completely meet all legal title and registration requirements before the vehicle can be returned to you. This can be done through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). If the vehicle is registered out of state, you must either register the vehicle in Arizona or deal with the state in which it is currently registered. The vehicle cannot be released without proof of current registration and mandatory auto insurance.

What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?

Under Arizona law, the towing company may file for an abandoned title and seek ownership of the vehicle if it is left at the tow yard unclaimed for more than ten (10) days past the mandatory impoundment period as stated by law. If you are experiencing difficulties paying for the towing and storage, you should contact the towing company directly if you wish to retain ownership of your vehicle and discuss the circumstances with the tow company.

Can I get my vehicle back before the mandatory impoundment period?

Under certain limited circumstances, you may be able to have the vehicle returned to you prior to the mandatory impoundment period. In some cases this may require a Post Storage Hearing. Get information about Post Storage Hearings for ARS 28-3511 .

You may be eligible to have the vehicle released early only if you qualify for an early release exemption pursuant to ARS 28-3512.

In certain situations, the spouse of the owner may also enter into an agreement with the Phoenix Police Department stating they will not permit a driver arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI, or a minor in possession of alcohol to drive the vehicle within one year. If the agreement is violated, there is no relief available from the mandartory impound period within the next year. Additionally, if the agreement is violated, a civil penalty of at least $250 may be imposed.

In addition, the vehicle may be released to the lien holder or repossession agent identified on the MVD record before the end of the mandatory impoundment period. 

Get information on lien holders and repossessi​on agents.

If the owner was driving without a license or with a revoked license, can the vehicle be released prior to the mandatory impoundment period​​?

Yes. The owner would have to prove they have obtained a valid driver’s license and their driving privileges reinstated, at which time we will release the vehicle upon payment of an administrative fee of $150 and towing and storage charges.​

Would I still have to pay fees and charges if the vehicle is released early to me?

Yes, the owner is still liable for the administrative fee $150 payable to City of Phoenix and all towing and storage (Payable to the tow company) fees up to the actual date of release.

At the end of the impoundment period, can I just go to the towing company and get my vehicle?

No, the towing company is not allowed to release an impounded vehicle without paperwork from the Phoenix Police Department. You must follow the claim process outlined above.

If I am found not guilty on my criminal or traffic charges will that affect the impoundment of my vehicle?

No. As long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to Arizona law and Phoenix City Code and ​Phoenix Police Department policies and procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.