Why was my car impounded?
There are a number of reasons that a vehicle may be impounded. Denver Revised Municipal Code (DRMC) Ordinance 54-811 lists 19 reasons for impoundment. Your vehicle may be an obstruction to traffic flow or access to public or private property. Abandoned Vehicle - The vehicle must be moved at least 100 feet once every 72 hours or it may be considered abandoned and subject to towing. Driving without a license, DUI, driver arrested, stolen vehicle recovered, traffic accident, used in a crime or taken as evidence in a crime are some of the reasons. A junker vehicle, one that can not be safely operated on the public right-of-way (no motor, flat tires, broken windshield, damaged in an accident) will be towed as a danger to the public. Vehicles with expired license plates, missing or incorrect license plate tabs, plates that are on the wrong vehicle, expired temp tags, altered tags or license plates are all subject to impoundment. Many of these violations also carry a parking ticket fine. Excess parking tickets may subject your vehicle to being “booted” for 72 hours and then impounded if the boot and ticket fines are not paid.
My car was stolen. Do I have to pay fees to get my car back?
City Ordinance 54-813 states that a vehicle that was registered in Denver at the time of theft may be recovered without fees. The guidance is that after the Denver Police contact the owner by phone or in person, the vehicle must be picked up within the first 48 hours after it is recovered and impounded. If we can not contact the owner directly, a certified letter is sent to the owner’s address of record. They will then have 5 days to recover their vehicle from the date of the mailing with no fees charged. After these grace periods end, all normal fees will be charged to recover the vehicle.
If your vehicle is registered outside the City of Denver, even if it is recovered in Denver, you will be charged the full tow fee and daily storage fees. The citizens of Denver pay taxes that cover the recovery of their stolen vehicles for the stated times above. However, non-residents do not pay for the police and sheriff services and therefore the City must charge fees to recover the costs of recovering the stolen vehicle. Check with your insurance company to see if you have a stolen vehicle reimbursement clause.
What is a “Hold”? Why can’t I see or recover my car? Why can’t I get my property?
Some vehicles are impounded in connection with a crime. The vehicle may be held for evidence – fingerprints, drug paraphernalia, blood or other DNA evidence, etc. The vehicle may have been involved in a hit and run, was in a fatal accident or other activity requiring forensic processing, is a stolen vehicle or needs to be held for a court proceeding. The vehicle may have been involved in a public nuisance violation – driven by a habitual traffic offender, involved in a prostitution case, drugs (selling, buying or transporting), a drive by shooting, etc. In these cases, the police department will place a “HOLD” on the vehicle until they are done with the car for their court case. While the car is on hold, only the case detective will have access to the vehicle. All inquiries regarding access to the vehicle to get property or items from the car will be directed to the case detective. Once the case detective drops their hold and no other holds are on the vehicle, the owner may recover their vehicle by paying all the accumulated fees. Fees do accumulate will the vehicle is being held for investigation. Some fees may be waived if they meet the requirements listed in Ordinance 54-813.
How do I report an abandoned vehicle?
The Sheriff Department provides an abandoned vehicle detail of two deputies to handle complaints for the entire city. You may call the abandoned vehicle hotline at 303-295-4367. Please provide the address that the vehicle is located in front of, the make, model, color, license plate (if available), VIN number (located in the front driver side windshield on the dash board if possible) and why you believe the vehicle is abandoned. The deputies will respond to the complaint as quickly as they can. If you need immediate assistance, contact your local Denver Police station for a precinct car to respond. Once the deputies receive the complaint, they will respond and mark the car tires and place a warning notice on the vehicle. The notice gives the owner 72 hours to move the vehicle or contact the Sheriff Department to demonstrate that the vehicle is not abandoned. If, after 72 hours, the vehicle is not moved, the vehicle will be impounded as abandoned. If you have filed a complaint, please be patient as it may take the deputies 3 – 6 days to get to your location as they service all 6 city police districts on a rotational basis.
I need to pick up property that belongs to me or someone I know that was in jail.
The Denver Sheriff Department operates a property bureau located at 5160 York Street. You can call 303-295-4050 or 4052 to inquire whether any property was sent there from the jails or police department. When you call, please make an appointment time to pick up the property. You will need a government issued ID card (driver license, state ID card, passport, etc) and proof that you are the owner or agent of the owner to pick up the property. A notarized letter giving the agent permission to act on behalf of the owner is needed by the agent to recover property.