The cops pulled you over for whatever reason, perhaps, for speeding and found that you have a suspended license and the car is in your name. That also means you probably don’t have active insurance and you are looking to get your car out of impound without license.
Legally, no way the police officer will allow you to continue driving or even permit you to call someone else to drive her car. That’s because it is illegal to drive with a suspended license. Consequently, your vehicle is towed. Unfortunately, the impound lot cannot legally release the car to you unless you provide proof of a valid license and insurance.
How to Get Car Out of Impound Without License
But there is always a walk-around and the specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on your location. Follow these steps to get a car out of impound without license:
1. Restore your suspended driver’s license
Drivers license suspensions particularly for getting too many tickets or violation points typically range between 10 days and 1 year, according to NOLO. usually, the first traffic ticket suspension is at the lower end of that spectrum, typically 10-90 days or thereabout.
After the suspension period, you can request a driver license restoration. In New York, for example, you will pay a $100 re-application fee to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
If it is not possible to wait out the license suspension, you can file a written request for an administrative hearing to contest it. unfortunately, this can take time, and the longer your car seats in the impound lot, the more fees it accumulates. So, what are your alternative options?
Regrettably, there are no quick solutions available in this situation. But here are some suggestions that can help you get car out of impound without license:
- Transfer the car title to the name of your friend or family member and wait for some time (let’s call it X days), and hope that the impound fees do not exceed the value of the car.
- Find another insurance company that would cover the car with the newly listed person’s name as the primary driver and you as the owner.
- Consider abandoning the car and accepting it as a costly lesson learned.
- Search for a local insurance agent who specializes in dealing with high-risk drivers. They may be able to find a solution that allows you to retrieve the car from impound if it’s not insured.
Unfortunately, there are no inexpensive fixes for this situation. Moreover, insurance companies take gaps in coverage very seriously, as people in your circumstances are more likely to file claims and engage in fraudulent activities. This doesn’t imply that you will do either, but you fall into that category.
Moreover, insurance companies consider suspended licenses to be a significant matter. Being caught driving with a suspended license (meaning your license was suspended, and you were caught driving afterward) will immediately disqualify you from most insurance carriers, regardless of the reason for the license suspension. It can also hinder your chances of obtaining many professional driving jobs, irrespective of the cause of your license suspension.
2. Get rid of the police hold
There is likely a police hold on the vehicle. Once the hold expires, you will need to obtain a release from the police, demonstrating that you now have a valid license. With the release in hand, you can then provide it to the impound lot and pay the necessary fees to retrieve your car.
Assuming the issue was solely due to a suspended license, and your vehicle’s registration (and insurance if mandated by your state) is up to date, you should be able to obtain a release from the police, most likely from the officer who impounded your car. As long as a licensed individual is present to pick up the car, the tow yard should release it. Unfortunately, you will be responsible for all impound fees, even if it takes a few days to obtain the release.
If there were any issues with the registration or insurance, and the police removed the license plates, you will need to provide proof that all necessary requirements have been met before the plates can be returned to the vehicle. Make sure to bring any documents related to the tow with you as proof of ownership.
3. Find the lot where your car has been towed
The next step is to locate your vehicle. If it has been towed, it is likely held at a local tow yard for a minimum of 24 hours after receiving a notice. But if it was reported as abandoned, it might have been moved to an impound lot. Are you’re unsure where it is, contact the police or a local tow company to seek assistance in finding your towed vehicle.
4. Contact the impound lot
Once you have identified the location of your car, call the impound lot and inquire about the possibility of retrieving it. Use this opportunity to ask about the requirements for reclaiming your vehicle. Note that if you have been towed before and are familiar with the process, this step may not be necessary.
5. Gather the required paperwork
Typically, the tow company will ask for official documents to prove your ownership of the vehicle. These documents may include:
- Valid driver’s license
- Proof of car ownership
- Proof of car insurance
- Vehicle registration or title
If the title is not in your name, a notarized letter from all owners residing at the same address may be required to authorize the release.
6. Complete the fee payment
The final step before the release of your car is making the necessary payments. This will cover towing fees, storage fees, and any other related services. The tow company should have provided you with this information before towing your vehicle. If you retrieve your car within five days, the tow company will often waive the first 48 hours of storage fees.
Make sure to get your car released as soon as possible to avoid accumulating storage fees that add up to hundreds or even thousands.
Inspect the car for any possible damage or improper towing (though reputable tow yards usually avoid such issues). If any damage is present, you will need to provide evidence that it occurred during the tow or while the car was in their possession, but even then, it can be challenging to establish. Best of luck in retrieving your car.
What if your car is financed?
If you do not hold a valid driver’s license, alternative documents can be used to prove ownership of the vehicle. For example, if you have a car loan, a notarized letter from your bank authorizing the release of the vehicle may be accepted.
If no one else is authorized to act on your behalf, your car can be released if someone with a license who resides at the same address accompanies you and provides all the required documents. In certain states like Colorado, presenting the vehicle’s key may be considered as proof of ownership, but you will need to provide accurate information about the car model, color, and other relevant details as requested by the impound lot.
it is a bad idea to break the law, only to come looking for how to get a car out of impound with a suspended license. Please understand that the intention is not to diminish your situation—I do empathize with your predicament. However, driving without insurance means prioritizing your own needs over the well-being and safety of everyone else on the road.
If you were to have an accident and total someone else’s car, it could leave them without transportation to work. Even worse, they could end up in the hospital with overwhelming medical bills and no means to pay them. The state-required insurance serves to protect others from the consequences of your mistakes and does not directly address your own needs or vehicle repairs.