You Messed Up & Now Your Car’s Impounded…

…so what’s the next step for you? Getting familiar with the process of impoundment!

Impoundment Time Frames

When your vehicle was taken away, the police made sure you knew exactly why. Refer to the table below to find out how long you’re going to be without your car:

*please note that the times are subject to change, depending on police discretion.
Infraction Type 1st Infraction 2nd Infraction 3rd (and up) Infraction
Unsafe Driving
(excessive speeding, stunt driving, etc.)
7 Days 30 Days 60 Days
Impaired Driving
(Blood Alcohol Content less than 0.08)
3 Days 7 Days 30 Days
Impaired Driving
(Blood Alcohol Content over 0.08)
30 Days 30 Days 30 Days

So We Have Your Car – Follow This Checklist Before You Call

We understand that you’re in a bit of a bind. To ensure the process is as smooth as possible, we need you to have all of the following information on hand before you call us about your impounded vehicle:

  • What’s the make, model, and colour of your vehicle?
  • Where were you when you were pulled over?
  • What time was it taken away?
  • Why was your car impounded (refer to the list above)?
  • What’s the VIN and license plate (coded on your invoice? ticket?)?

It’s Time To Get Your Vehicle Back. But How?

If your car is with us for less than 30 days, reclaiming is very easy. Simply make sure we have all of the information we need (as stated in the Pre-Call Checklist above), proof of ownership of the vehicle, and payment for the towing and storage fees.

You can’t reclaim your vehicle until you’re paid up and have given us all of the correct information.

If your impoundment time is 30 days or more, you also have to fill out a Vehicle Release form (you can get one at any driver licensing office).

You have 30 days after the last day of your impoundment term to reclaim your vehicle. If you fail to pick it up in time, your car will, unfortunately, be crushed.

Is There A Possibility Of An Early Release?

You can request an early release of your impounded vehicle if:

  • Compassionate Grounds – your car’s required for medical treatment, school, or work and there’s no other transportation available (only someone else in your household can request this)
  • Theft – your car was stolen and used illegally, which resulted in the impoundment.
  • Economic Hardship – You own a business and face financial downfall without your vehicle.
  • License Retrieval – if your vehicle was impounded due to the driver being unlicensed, you can request an early release once the driver receives their license.

It costs $100 to apply for an early release, and you must apply within 15 days of your initial impoundment date.

For Compassionate Grounds Requests, someone in your household with a valid driver’s license must apply with you. If your application is approved, you have to pay $100 + storage and towing fees to reclaim your vehicle.

If your Economic Hardship Request is approved, you have to pay $450 + storage and towing fees to reclaim your vehicle.

For Theft Requests, you must fill out a Stolen Vehicle Report with the police before it can be released early. You’re still responsible for the storage and towing fees.

Impoundment FAQs

How are my towing costs calculated?
When you’re towed by the RCMP, towing costs are set by ICBC. The rates are annually adjusted.

If you’re towed by The City for parking or bylaw infraction, the towing costs are pre-determined by The City.

Can someone other than me pick up my impounded vehicle?
Yes, but they must have all of the necessary information, a valid driver’s license, and the funds to pay all outstanding fees. They must also have a filled out Owner’s Authorization form (which is available from any driver licensing office).

Can I get my personal items from my impounded vehicle?
Yes, if you’ve given us all the information we need (as stated in the Pre-Call Checklist), and all fees are paid.

Can I get my car released early?
There’s a chance. Refer to the section here.

Can I get a lower storage and towing fee?
Unfortunately, that’s not possible. The fees are pre-determined by ICBC or The City, depending on how your vehicle came to us.

Vehicle Impound Form