By: Twibell Pierson
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What Will Happen To My Car If I Get A DWI
Getting a DWI (driving while intoxicated) is sometimes referred to as a DUI (driving under the influence). In Missouri, you will be charged with a DWI if you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. Missouri has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. If you are under 21 years of age, your BAC must be below .02.
Being arrested and charged with a DWI can have serious consequences both immediately and long-term. One of your most immediate concerns will be determining what happens to your car if you are arrested in Springfield for a DWI.
What Happens to My Vehicle if I am Arrested on a DWI Charge
In Missouri, there are three options about what may happen to your vehicle if you are arrested.
- Your vehicle will be impounded, and the fees will accumulate fast. When your car is impounded, it will most likely be towed to an impound lot, and the information about where it is and how you can retrieve it will be given to you when you are released from jail. A longer stent at the impound yard could be part of your sentence if you are found guilty of a DWI charge.
- Your vehicle may be left on the side of the road with a tag notifying other law enforcement officials that the car was left there for a reason. The tags will usually have a date stating when the car must be picked up before it is towed to an impound lot. Law enforcement has no legal liability for what happens to your car while it is on the side of the road.
- In rare circumstances, a sober person may be allowed to drive your car home. Someone else is allowed to drive the vehicle away from the scene is left up to the discretion of the arresting officer.
How do I Obtain My Impounded Vehicle
The first step is to ensure you are given the information about whether your car was impounded and the facility’s location where it was taken. You will need to contact the impound facility for their business hours and the amount owed for towing and impound storage. It is imperative that you bring as much information with you as possible when you retrieve your vehicle. You should bring:
- Date, time, and location from which your vehicle was towed
- A case number
- Proof of ownership such as the title or the bill of sale
- Current registration
- A valid driver’s license or other picture ID—if your license was suspended, you will still need a picture ID, and a valid license driver must be present
- Funds to pay the impound fee—check with the facility beforehand to see if they take cash, debit, credit cards, or checks
You will be required to sign a Vehicle Impound Report before your vehicle will be released to you. You should check to make sure that any personal property left in the vehicle is still there
What Happens if I am Driving Someone Else’s Vehicle When I am Stopped for a DWI
The person that loaned you their vehicle will incur expenses related to your decision to drive while intoxicated. The car’s owner will have to pay for the towing and impound fees to have the vehicle returned to them. They will have to show proof of ownership, a valid driver’s license, and car insurance before retrieving the vehicle.
If they knowingly let your drive their vehicle with a suspended or revoked license could result in them facing criminal charges as well. If you also caused an accident while driving someone else’s car while under the influence, they will face insurance issues, the possibility of liability damage, and associated costs.
You risk jeopardizing a relationship with a friend or relative by using their vehicle and driving under the influence. Not only could they find themselves on the hook for expenses related to the towing and impoundment of their car, but they probably will not appreciate that you took such a risk with their property.
Call an Attorney
If you have been charged with a DWI, call an attorney specializing in DWI cases as soon as possible. In Missouri, the consequences for a DWI can be severe. You will be facing criminal charges and penalties from the Missouri Department of Revenue, which oversees driver’s licenses.