Surprise Police Programs and Services
Surprise Police Programs and Services


Information about your Impounded Vehicle

If your vehicle was impounded by an officer of the Surprise Police Department please carefully read the information the officer gave the driver of the vehicle at the time of the impound for instructions. This page provides some additional information to frequently asked questions on this topic. We hope this information assists you throughout the process.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why was my vehicle impounded?

Arizona Revised Statue 28-3511 requires law enforcement agencies to impound a motor vehicle when at least one of the following apply:

    - The driver is in an accident, AND has no insurance, AND has a suspended, revoked or cancelled driver
       license for any reason. 
    - The driver’s operating privilege is revoked for any reason. 
    - The driver’s operating privilege is suspended for any reason. 
    - The driver is arrested for either Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI. 
    - The driver is under legal drinking age and has any alcohol in their body.

How long will my vehicle be impounded for?

The law requires that vehicles impounded under these conditions be held for a period of thirty (30) days before being released. In some cases you may be eligible to have the vehicle released sooner, such as if you get your license status reinstated by the Motor Vehicle Division or the courts.

PLEASE NOTE –
(1) If your vehicle was impounded by another law enforcement agency, such as the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office or the Department of Public Safety, you must contact that agency directly for assistance in obtaining the release of your vehicle.
(2) If your vehicle was impounded as evidence of a crime these procedures DO NOT apply to you. Please contact the SPD Investigations Division handling your case for additional information.

How do I get my vehicle back and how much will it cost?

On or after the 30th day of impound OR if you get your license reinstated, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you. To get it back, call 623-222-4333 to request a Post Storage Hearing. At the time of your hearing you must bring with you:

    - A valid driver’s license 
    - Valid vehicle insurance 
    - Valid vehicle registration.

Please note that you may have to go to court or the Motor Vehicle Division first if your license was suspended, revoked or cancelled, and/or if your vehicle registration was expired or cancelled. We cannot release your vehicle to you until these documents are valid and current. NOTE – if your driving privilege cannot be restored by the end of the 30-day impound period (for example, it has been suspended for one year), you may bring a fully licensed driver with you to drive the car upon release. You must still have valid vehicle registration and insurance before the vehicle will be released.

You must pay an administrative fee of $150 to the City of Surprise. Payment must be in the form of cash, money order, cashier’s check or certified check. Upon payment of the fee you will be given 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 money order, certified check or credit card. If you come to the tow yard at other than normal business hours, you may be charged a gate/access fee. You must also present proof of your identity and ownership to the tow company.

If you do not claim your vehicle when it is available for release the towing company will file for abandoned title to the vehicle.

If I am not able to get my vehicle back can I get personal items out of the vehicle?

Yes. For the protection of your property you must show proof that you are the owner of the vehicle before you will be allowed to retrieve any items from the car. The towing company will request proof of ownership where your vehicle is being stored before granting access. You must contact the towing company directly for their policies on what is acceptable proof of ownership.

I was driving and I am the owner of the vehicle. How do I get my vehicle back?

You may apply for a Post-Storage hearing to attempt to have the vehicle released before the 30-day impound period elapses. At that hearing you must explain why you believe the vehicle should be released early. The vehicle will be released before the completion of the 30-day impound period if any of the following are proven by you:

    - Your driver’s license is now valid 
    - Your driver’s license is valid with an Ignition Interlock device restriction AND a certified Ignition Interlock 
      device has been installed in the vehicle
    - The vehicle was stolen at the time of incident AND you provide a copy of a stolen vehicle report from a law
      enforcement agency supporting your claim
    - Your spouse agrees to take possession of the vehicle AND agrees to not let any unauthorized drivers operate
      the vehicle for a period of one year.

After 30 days pass the vehicle will be released to you if you provide proof the vehicle is currently registered AND one of the following:

    - A valid driver’s license 
    - An authorized agent* with a valid driver’s license 
    - Your valid driver’s license with an Ignition Interlock device restriction AND a certified Ignition Interlock device 
      has been installed in the vehicle

*An authorized agent is defined as anyone the owner of the vehicle authorizes to take custody of the vehicle from the impound lot on his/her behalf.

I am the owner of the vehicle but someone else was driving. How do I get my vehicle back?

You may apply for a Post-Storage hearing to attempt to have the vehicle released before the 30-day impound period elapses. At that hearing you must explain why you believe the vehicle should be released early. The vehicle will be released before the completion of the 30-day impound period if any of the following are proven by you:

    - You possess a valid driver’s license 
    - The vehicle was stolen at the time of incident AND you provide a copy of a stolen vehicle report from a law       
      enforcement agency supporting your claim
    - You provide a copy of a stolen vehicle report from a law enforcement agency showing the vehicle was stolen at  the time of this incident.
    - You are in the business of renting motor vehicles without drivers 
    - You agree to not allow any unauthorized driver operate the vehicle for a period of one year

After 30 days pass the vehicle will be released to you if you provide proof the vehicle is currently registered AND one of the following:

    - Valid drivers license 
    - Authorized agent* with valid drivers license to take custody of the vehicle

*An authorized agent is defined as anyone the owner of the vehicle authorizes to take custody of the vehicle from the impound lot on his/her behalf.

I am an owner of the vehicle but another owner of the vehicle was driving. How do I get my vehicle back?

You may apply for a Post Storage hearing to attempt to have the vehicle released before the 30-day impound period elapses. At that hearing you must explain why you believe the vehicle should be released early. The vehicle will be released before the completion of the 30-day impound period if any of the following are proven by you:

    - You possess a valid driver’s license 
    - You possess a Ignition Interlock restricted license AND a certified Ignition Interlock device is installed in the 
       vehicle 
    - You provide a copy of a stolen vehicle report from a law enforcement agency showing the vehicle was stolen at the time of this incident. 
    - You agree to not allow an unauthorized person operate the vehicle for a period of one year

After 30 days pass the vehicle will be released to you if you provide proof the vehicle is currently registered AND one of the following:

    - Valid driver’s license 
    - An authorized agent* with a valid driver’s license 
    - Your valid driver’s license with an Ignition Interlock device restriction AND a certified Ignition Interlock device 
      has been installed in the vehicle

*An authorized agent is defined as anyone the owner of the vehicle authorizes to take custody of the vehicle from the impound lot on his/her behalf.

To whom can the vehicle be returned?

The owner, the owner’s spouse, their agent (such as an attorney or other designee), or a lien holder are the only persons who can have the vehicle released.

What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?

If you do not claim your vehicle when it is eligible for release, the towing company will automatically file a request with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division to assume title of your vehicle. The towing company would then become the legal owner of the vehicle and may salvage or auction it. If you have difficulty in paying for the towing and storage, you should at least contact the towing company if you wish to retain ownership of your vehicle.

How do I request a Post Storage hearing?

Call the Surprise Police Departments Tow Administrator at 623-222-4333. Leave your name and telephone number. Your call will be returned the same business day, Mon.-Thur. between the hours of 7am and 5:30pm.

How long does it take to have a Post Storage hearing scheduled?

As soon as a request for hearing is received one will be scheduled to occur within 5 days.

Is there a charge to have a Post Storage hearing?

No.

Do I need to have a Post Storage hearing?

No.

Do I need an attorney for the hearing?

No.

Can I bring an attorney for the hearing?

Yes.

Can an attorney or other person represent me at the hearing in my absence?

Yes, however, if release of the vehicle is granted only the owner(s) will be listed on the release authorization form. It is up to the towing companies policies on how the owner may delegate another person to physically take custody of the vehicle.

How do I get my vehicle back after the 30 day impound period?

To retrieve your vehicle you must obtain a release authorization form from the Surprise Police Department. Once you receive the authorization form the towing company that is storing your vehicle will release the vehicle after all towing and storage fees are paid.

How do I get a release authorization?

If you have obtained the proper documentation, you may contact the Surprise Police Department Tow Administrator either in writing or by phone at (623) 222-4333. The Towing Administrator must verify documentation so please have it available. Once this process has been completed, an administration fee of $150.00 must be paid. A time will be arranged for the vehicle owner, lien holder or authorized agent to come to the Surprise Police Department to pay the administration fee and pick-up a copy of the authorized release.

The Surprise Police Department will not interfere with policies established by the tow company (i.e. vehicle owner, photo identification, etc.) for release of the vehicle.

It is recommended that you call at least 3 days prior to the expiration of the 30-day impoundment to schedule an appointment to avoid delays in obtaining your vehicle.

Who is responsible for the administration fee?

The owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying the administration fee to the City of Surprise.

How do I pay the administration fee?

The $150.00 administration fee must be paid by cash, money order, cashier’s check, certified check or credit card. Personal checks will not be accepted.

Who is responsible for the towing and storage fees?

The owner must pay all storage and towing fees before the vehicle will be released.

How do I pay the towing and storage fees?

The towing company that towed and stored your vehicle is responsible for setting their policies on acceptable payment methods. You must contact that towing company directly for more information on payment methods.

If I am granted early release at a Post Storage hearing are the fees waived as well?

No. All fees and charges must be paid before the vehicle will be released even if at a Post Storage hearing the vehicle was released to the owner or the agent representing the owner. The only exception to this rule is if the vehicle is proven to have been stolen at the time of incident. In that case the driver of the vehicle is held responsible for all charges and the vehicle will be released to the owner without having to pay the administration fee or towing and storage fees.

I cannot afford to pay the towing and storage fees. Now what?

The towing company is not required to release a vehicle until all towing and storage fees are paid. It is up to you to attempt to make acceptable arrangements with the towing company for payment. The police department has no control over their policies.

If you cannot pay to have the vehicle released the towing company may file a report with the Motor Vehicle Division to obtain title to the vehicle in lieu of payment. If you know you will not be able to pay for the storage it is in your best interests to talk directly with the towing company about this as soon as possible.

If there is a lien on my vehicle and I cannot afford the charges what do I do?

You should immediately speak with the lien holder about this situation. They can request a post storage hearing based on their financial interest in the vehicle and have the vehicle released to their custody. If they pay the fees to have the vehicle released they may hold you responsible for these charges. You should speak with them as soon as possible to avoid additional costs. When you speak with the lien holder advise them to contact the Surprise Police Towing Administrator at (623) 222-4333 as soon as possible.

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

Arizona recognized the legal owner to be the person or persons listed on the title. If the vehicle is not titled in your name you must obtain a title to the vehicle in your name before you are recognized as the legal owner. Without proof of legal ownership the vehicle will not be released to you under any circumstances.


Surprise Police Department                                                                                 
14250 W. Statler Plaza, Suite #103
Surprise, AZ 85374
Phone: 623.532.1085


Official Seal of Surprise, AZ
Defining Vibrant, Southwest Living
16000 N. Civic Center Plaza   Surprise, AZ 85374   City Hall Hours: Monday - Friday; 8am - 5pm
Phone: 623.222.1000  |  TTY: 623.222.1002  |  Phone Directory
Live Support