Chapter 10.72
VEHICLE IMPOUNDMENT

Sections:

10.72.015    Adoption of applicable provisions of Chapter 46.55 RCW.

10.72.025    Statute regarding impoundment of vehicle of person patronizing a prostitute.

10.72.030    Impoundment of vehicle where driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 9.68A.100, 9A.88.110, 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.20.342, 46.20.345, 46.61.502, 46.61.504 – Period of impoundment.

10.72.035    Authority to impound – Additional situations.

10.72.040    Redemption of impounded vehicles.

10.72.050    Post-impoundment hearing procedure.

10.72.015 Adoption of applicable provisions of Chapter 46.55 RCW.

The Washington Model Traffic Ordinance as adopted by the city council of the city of Port Orchard by Ordinance No. 1605, POMC 10.04.010, adopted by reference all applicable provisions of Chapter 46.55 RCW, Towing and Impoundment (WAC 308-330-406). Reference is made to the adopted provisions of Chapter 46.55 RCW as if fully set forth herein. (Ord. 1804 § 1, 2000).

10.72.025 Statute regarding impoundment of vehicle of person patronizing a prostitute.

RCW 9A.88.140 is hereby adopted by reference. (Ord. 1804 § 2, 2000).

10.72.030 Impoundment of vehicle where driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 9.68A.100, 9A.88.110, 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.20.342, 46.20.345, 46.61.502, 46.61.504 – Period of impoundment.

(1) Whenever the driver of a vehicle is arrested or cited for a violation of RCW 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.20.342, 46.20.345, 46.61.502, or 46.61.504, the vehicle is subject to summary impoundment, pursuant to the terms and conditions of this chapter or state agency rule at the direction of a police officer. Upon an arrest for a suspected violation of either RCW 9.68A.100 or 9A.88.110 where a motor vehicle was used in the commission of that crime, if the person has previously been convicted under either statute, the police officer will impound the vehicle.

(2) When an arrest is made for a violation of RCW 46.20.342, if the vehicle is a commercial vehicle and the driver of the vehicle is not the owner, before the summary impoundment directed under subsection (1) of this section the police officer shall attempt in a reasonable and timely manner to contact the owner of the vehicle, and may release the vehicle to the owner if the owner is reasonably available, as long as the owner was not in the vehicle at the time of the stop and arrest and the owner has not received a prior release under this subsection or RCW 46.55.120(a)(ii).

(3) Whenever the driver of a vehicle is arrested or cited for a violation of RCW 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.30.345, 46.61.502, 46.61.504, or 46.20.342(1)(c) and the driver has not been convicted one or more times of a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or similar local ordinance within the past five years, then the vehicle may be released as soon as all the requirements of POMC 10.72.040 are satisfied.

(4) If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(c) and the Washington Department of Licensing’s records show that the driver has been convicted one time of a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or similar local ordinance within the past five years, the vehicle may be impounded for 15 days.

(5) If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(c) and the Washington Department of Licensing’s records show that the driver has been convicted two or more times of a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or similar local ordinance within the past five years, the vehicle may be impounded for 30 days.

(6) If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) and the Washington Department of Licensing’s records show that the driver has not been convicted of a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) or similar local ordinance within the past five years, the vehicle may be impounded for 30 days.

(7) If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) and the Washington Department of Licensing’s records show that the driver has been convicted one time of a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) or similar local ordinance once within the past five years, the vehicle may be impounded for 60 days.

(8) If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) and the Washington Department of Licensing’s records show that the driver has been convicted of a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) or similar local ordinance two or more times within the past five years, the vehicle may be impounded for 90 days.

(9) If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a suspended repeat violation of either RCW 9.68A.100 or 9A.88.110, the vehicle may be impounded for up to 30 days. (Ord. 011-05 § 1; Ord. 1915 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1804 § 3, 2000).

10.72.035 Authority to impound – Additional situations.

In addition to the situations set forth in RCW 9A.88.140 and 46.55.113, a vehicle may be impounded at the discretion of the law enforcement officer, with or without citations and without giving prior notice to its owner, when the vehicle is stopped, standing, or parked in violation of WAC 308-330-439, 308-330-442, 308-330-445, 308-330-457, or POMC 10.60.030. (Ord. 1915 § 2, 2003; Ord. 1804 § 4, 2000).

10.72.040 Redemption of impounded vehicles.

Vehicles impounded by the city shall be redeemed only under the following circumstances:

(1) Only the registered owner, a person authorized by the registered owner, or one who has purchased the vehicle from the registered owner, who produces proof of ownership or authorization and signs a receipt therefor, may redeem an impounded vehicle. A person redeeming a vehicle impounded pursuant to POMC 10.72.030 must, prior to redemption, establish that he or she has a valid driver’s license, is in compliance with RCW 46.30.020 and has paid a $100.00 administrative fee to the Port Orchard municipal court. A vehicle impounded pursuant to POMC 10.72.030(4) through (9) can be released only pursuant to a written order from the court.

(2) Any person so redeeming a vehicle impounded by the city shall pay the towing contractor for costs of impoundment removal, towing and storage prior to redeeming such vehicle, except as provided for by subsection (3) of this section. Such towing contractor shall accept payment as provided in RCW 46.55.120(1)(b) as now or hereafter amended. If the vehicle was impounded pursuant to POMC 10.72.035 and was being operated by the registered owner when it was impounded, it may not be released to any person until all penalties, fines or forfeitures would by the registered owner have been satisfied.

(3) Either the agency that ordered the vehicle impounded or the Port Orchard municipal court is authorized to release a vehicle impounded pursuant to POMC 10.72.030(4) through (8) prior to the expiration of any period of impoundment. However, the agency may only order early release upon the basis of the following:

(a) A petition of the spouse of the driver based on economic or personal hardship to such spouse resulting from the unavailability of the vehicle and after consideration of the threat to public safety that may result from release of the vehicle including, but not limited to, the driver’s criminal history, driving record, license is authorized; or

(b) The owner of the vehicle was not the driver, the owner did not know that the driver’s license was suspended or revoked, and the owner has not received a prior release under this subsection or POMC 10.72.030(2).

Other than for the reasons for release set forth in subsections (3)(a) and (3)(b) of this subsection, the agency shall deny release in all other circumstances without discretion. The person redeeming the vehicle still must satisfy the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) of this section. The court may waive any or all of the administrative fee.

(4) Any person seeking to redeem a vehicle impounded as a result of a parking or traffic citation has a right to a municipal court hearing to contest the validity of an impoundment or the amount of removal, towing, and storage charges if such request for hearing is in writing, in a form approved by the Port Orchard municipal court and signed by such person, and is received by the Port Orchard municipal court within 10 days (including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) of the date the notice was given to such person by the registered tow truck operator pursuant to RCW 46.55.120(2) (a). Such hearing shall be provided as follows:

(a) If all of the requirements to redeem the vehicle, including expiration of any period of impoundment under POMC 10.72.030, have been satisfied, then the impounded vehicle shall be released immediately and a hearing as provided in POMC 10.72.050 shall be held within 90 days of the written request for hearing.

(b) If not all of the requirements to redeem the vehicle, including expiration of any period of impoundment under POMC 10.72.030, have been satisfied, then the impounded vehicle shall not be released until after the hearing provided pursuant to POMC 10.72.050, which shall be held within five business days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) of the written request to the court for hearing.

(c) Any person seeking a hearing who has failed to request such hearing within the time specified in subsection (4) of this section may petition the Port Orchard municipal court for an extension of time to file a request for hearing. Such extension shall only be granted upon the demonstration of good cause as to the reason(s) the request for hearing was not timely filed. For purposes of this section, good cause shall be defined as circumstances beyond the control of the person seeking the hearing that prevented such person from filing a timely request for hearing. In the event such extension is granted, the person receiving such extension shall be granted a hearing in accordance with this chapter.

(d) If a person fails to file a timely request for hearing and no extension to file such a request has been granted, the right to a hearing is waived, the impoundment and the associated costs of impoundment are deemed to be proper, and the city shall not be liable for removal, towing, and storage charges arising from the impoundment. (Ord. 1915 § 3, 2003; Ord. 1804 § 5, 2000).

10.72.050 Post-impoundment hearing procedure.

Hearings requested pursuant to POMC 10.72.040 shall be held in the Port Orchard municipal court, which court shall determine whether the impoundment was proper and whether the associated removal, towing, and/or storage fees were proper.

(1) At the hearing, an abstract of the driver’s driving record is admissible without further evidentiary foundation and is prima facie evidence of the status of the driver’s license, permit, or privilege to drive and that the driver was convicted of each offense shown on the abstract. In addition, a certified vehicle registration of the impounded vehicle is admissible without further evidentiary foundation and is prima facie evidence of the identity of the registered owner of the vehicle.

(2) If the impoundment is found to be proper, the court shall enter an order so stating. In the event that the cost of impoundment, removal, towing, and storage have not been paid or any other applicable requirements of POMC 10.72.040(1) and (2) have not been satisfied or any period of impoundment under POMC 10.72.030 has not expired, the court’s order shall also provide that the impounded vehicle shall be released only after payment to the city of any fines imposed on any underlying traffic or parking infraction and satisfaction of any other applicable requirements of POMC 10.72.040(1) and (2).

(3) If the impoundment is found to be improper, the court shall enter an order so stating and order the immediate release of the vehicle. If the costs of impoundment have already been paid, the court shall enter judgment against the city and in favor of the person who has paid the costs of impoundment in the amount of the costs of impoundment.    

(4) In the event that the court finds that the impound was proper, but that the removal, towing, storage, fees charged for the impoundment were improper, the court shall determine the correct fees to be charged. If the costs of impoundment have been paid, the court shall enter a judgment against the city and in favor of the person who has paid the costs of impoundment for the amount of the overpayment.

(5) No determination of facts made at a hearing under this section shall have any collateral estoppel effect on a subsequent criminal prosecution and such determination shall not preclude litigation of those same facts in a subsequent criminal prosecution.

(6) As to any impoundment arising from an alleged violation of RCW 46.20.342 or 46.20.420, if it is determined to be improper, then the law enforcement officer directing the impoundment and the government employing the officer are not liable for damages if the officer relied in good faith and without gross negligence on the records of the department in ascertaining that the operator of the vehicle had a suspended or revoked driver’s license. (Ord. 1804 § 6, 2000).