Bay Area officials say that the number of car impounds has tripled in the last six years to become the city’s top crime, and the story is much the same in Bakersfield and Fresno.
In most cases, the suspensions occurred because the state suspended or revoked the drivers’ licenses due to unpaid traffic tickets. Officials add that a majority of the impounded vehicles are never reclaimed, because the fees may run into the thousands of dollars and it is cheaper to buy another car.
There is no doubt that California’s traffic ticket policies are very hard on the middle class. A recent survey by the Federal Reserve indicated that persons with an income under $40,000 struggle to pay a $400 emergency expense.
License Suspension in California
When drivers miss a court date for a traffic ticket, whether they had a valid excuse or not, the state automatically adds $300 to the amount due on each ticket and suspends their drivers’ licenses. Making matters worse, the drivers may have no idea that the state took this action, because the suspension notices often go to the wrong addresses.
There are basically three different sections of the Vehicle Code that govern license suspension and vehicle impoundment:
- VC 14601 makes driving while license suspended a jailable offense. In some cases, even after the person’s license is reinstated and the case is over, the judge can place additional restrictions on the person’s ability to drive.
- VC 14601.1 lays out some of the reasons for drivers’ license suspension. The two largest categories are a failure to pay traffic tickets and a points-based suspension. Moreover, VC 14601.1 says there is an absolute presumption that the defendant received notice if the DMV mailed it.
- VC 23592 authorizes the state to impound a vehicle for up to six months; in most cases, the period is 30 days for nonpayment of traffic tickets.
Contact a lawyer immediately if your vehicle was impounded, because it may not be too late to save it.
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive lawyers at Bigger and Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.