What Happens To You And Your Vehicle Following A DUI Arrest?

Interviewer: Under what circumstances would your car be impounded?

Court: It is really up to the discretion of the officer. Most of the time, they are going to impound your car.

If you are driving alone when you get the DUI, then they are almost definitely going to impound your car because they are going to probably take you to jail. Then, you obviously can’t leave your car there. If they decide to release you, you are not fit to drive according to them. You have to get home somehow.

So if you are alone, you are probably going to get your car impounded. The times I have seen officers not impound a car is if you have sober passengers that can drive the car home. If the car is registered to somebody else who happens be a passenger, the police usually let that person take the car as long as he or she is not impaired.

Interviewer: Following arrest, under what circumstances do they cite and release you on your own recognizance versus bringing you to the jail to stay overnight?

Court: Again, it is up to the discretion of the officer. A lot of it has to do with whether they have with them an Intoxilyzer machine, which is the breath alcohol test machine.

If the officer does not have one in his car, then he has to arrest you, take you to the jail and have you do the Intoxilyzer there at the jail. Then you will be booked and released, typically.

Sometimes, you get arrested and they have a mobile DUI squad van that has an Intoxilyzer machine somewhere in the back of the car, trunk or van. If you get arrested by one of those officers, then a lot of times they will do the test there and then release you.

Interviewer: Do the police have both preliminary breath test machines and actual Intoxilyzer machines in their cars?

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Court: Yes, they have both. They all have the preliminary breath test machine, which is the little handheld device. That device is used by the officer to try to develop probable cause. The results are actually not admissible in court.

So the officer will decide whether to arrest you or not after they give you the field sobriety test, and they might give you the portable breath test. If they think they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you were driving under the influence, then they will arrest you at that point.

They need to give you the Intoxilyzer because that is the machine in which the results are admissible in court. So sometimes they drive around with that in the back of their car, and sometimes they do not.

Interviewer: What percentage of DUIs do people have to bail out versus just being released on their own recognizance after a period of time in jail?

Court: I would say the vast majority are released on their own recognizance. They might have to be in jail. They might be booked and be in there for maybe a few hours or several hours.

It is kind of rare for somebody to have to bail themselves out. Usually that is a situation where the person has a criminal history that is substantial. Most of the time, you are able to get released on your own recognizance.

Interviewer: Are you just held to make sure you are not a danger to public safety, and then released?

Court: Yes, they make you have somebody come and get you, for safety reasons.

By Court Koehler

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