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What Happens to a Vehicle After DC DUI Stop? Here’s What You Need to Know


What happens to a vehicle after a DC DUI stop? If you have been pulled over by a police officer, here is how you should handle it. Here is what you should do. 

What Is a DC DUI Stop and How to Go About It?


At any given time, in Washington, DC, traffic police officers are stationed at countless positions throughout the state for a police search. They are always ready to make arrests for persons they believe have chosen to drink and drive.

A traffic officer has the legal right to stop and arrest you for any probable cause and ask to check your driver’s license, especially if they find you driving under the influence, whether it’s at a routine traffic stop or not.

For a traffic officer to stop you, several circumstances may cause them to do so. For instance, if you were overspeeding, drifting in and out of lanes, or your vehicle registration number or driving license is overdue, you may be pulled over.

Here are a few things you need to know if you get stopped at a DUI checkpoint, and you happen to be driving while intoxicated:

  • You should pull over at a safe place or parking space, turn off your engine, and place your hands on the steering wheel as you wait for further instructions from the police officer. If the stop occurs at night, be sure to leave your interior car lights on to help the police officer know that you are not a threat to them.
  • Avoid arguing or being aggressive with the police. Make sure to keep calm at all times.
  • Be sure to answer all reasonable questions that the police ask you, and exercise your right to remain silent beyond the basics. Do not try to justify your driving behavior at all costs, but do not admit to anything either. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you.
  • If asked to step out of the car, it is crucial to follow the order. This is necessary in cases where an officer has a reasonable suspicion to do so.
  • The police may ask you to undergo a field sobriety test. They can ask you to do the one-leg stand test as a part of this. Other drivers may prefer taking a chemical test instead. Be sure to know your rights and exercise them when being asked to undergo testing, as the results of these tests could give police officers evidence to support the DUI charge against you.

If the police believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will then arrest you and take you to the police station. They will perform field sobriety tests to ensure that you are driving under the influence. This begs an important question: what happens to your car? 

What Happens to a Vehicle After a DC DUI Stop?

Once an individual’s car has been pulled over, the officers, in most cases, will park the vehicle on the side of a street. The individual can retrieve the car once they have been released from the police station.

If the car is in a hazardous location, the officers can drive the vehicle to the police station to be retrieved later. According to DUI laws of the District of Columbia, an individual who has been arrested for drunk driving is allowed to recover their car before the actual court date. The car can also be retrieved shortly after the arrest.

After a DUI arrest, the police can impound a person’s car if need be. 

Consequences of an Impoundment

An impoundment leads to an inventory search of a vehicle. The key reason behind the inventory search is to log the contents of a vehicle. An officer has the legal right to seize any illegal items that may be found in the car. If, by any chance, illegal items are found in the vehicle, you can be criminally charged for that. 

To top it off, car impoundment can cost you some extra money once you decide to retrieve your vehicle. However, this does not affect everyone — only those with a higher income who do not get public assistance.

To learn more about some of the consequences of an impoundment, it’s best to consult a knowledgeable DUI attorney who will guide you further.

What to Expect From Police at a DC DUI Stop?

It’s important to know what to expect if you are the subject of a DC DUI stop. This will ensure that you are able to take appropriate steps to protect yourself.

Car Searches

As much as a police officer has the legal right to stop you for a DUI test, they also have the right to search you, and your vehicle if found in a traffic violation.

A traffic officer does not necessarily need a search warrant, as DUI laws across the country permit them to do so. So, do not take it as an unreasonable search and assist them in it without causing any resistance. They purposely do so to gather more evidence that you were drunk driving. They could be looking for drugs, alcohol, or an unregistered firearm that they can use against you in court.

Discovery of Illegal Substances

It is assumed that if you are found driving under the influence, you probably may be carrying controlled substances with you. Since a police officer has the right to search your car, they may choose to do so once they have pulled you over. If you are found with any illegal substances, this may further cost you other additional charges. 

The additional charges will depend on the type of substance that is found in the vehicle. Such additional charges may increase the possible penalties that an individual faces in any DC superior court.

Another instance that can cause you additional charges is when unregistered firearms are retrieved from your car. You will end up being charged for the illegal possession of a firearm in a court of law.

Moreover, if your car is pulled over with suspicions of being in any criminal activity, then even if the criminal activity can not be proven in a criminal case, the DC government has a lower burden of proof to seize and forfeit the personal property.

Do I Need a DUI Lawyer if I Get Pulled Over in Washington, DC?

DUI laws here in Washington, DC, are complex, so having a DUI attorney while facing a DUI charge can help you navigate the proceedings. A DUI attorney could help you explore the possibilities that your vehicle was searched illegally even if you were under the influence. 

An attorney can also help you document the condition of your vehicle in events when your car is at the tow lot. They can also help you retrieve your vehicle if it was impounded and is not needed for further evidence. Additionally, your lawyer can help you understand the nature of your charges, including the differences between DUI and DWI charges.

Reach Out for a Free Consultation

Our lawyers are capable of handling your DUI charges and are here to help you every step of the way. We are aware of the various laws regarding DUI in the District of Columbia, and we are also well-versed in the laws about searches and how various legalities can affect your constitutional rights. 

We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients who may have inquiries for our DUI lawyers. If you are ready to begin moving forward, be sure to contact us today and let our DC/Maryland DUI lawyer get to work on that DUI charge that is troubling you.


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