Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. If an individual is cited for DWOL, is the car always impounded? The posted report doesn't always say that, and I'm wondering if everyone is getting the same treatment or if some are cited and allowed to drive away. Thanks for taking time to respond.
Dear Juneau Resident,
When a driver is cited for driving without a license the vehicle is impounded unless one of the exceptions under city ordinance applies. Why is it that these things are never simple? Below are the impoundment exceptions in the area of city driving offense where vehicle impoundments are one of the consequences. State law offenses have a whole other set of rules. This is why police officers have laptops and field manuals.
72.23.101 - Presumptions; vehicle impoundment.
It shall be presumed that a vehicle operated by or driven by or in the actual physical control of an individual arrested for or charged with an impoundment driving offense has been so operated by the registered owners thereof or has been operated by another person with the knowledge and consent of the registered owners.
A vehicle used in the alleged impoundment driving offense shall be impounded through a seizure of the vehicle incident to an arrest or citation subject to subsection (d).
A police officer shall not stop a vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether the driver is properly licensed.
Confirmation and mitigation.
If a driver is unable to produce a valid driver's license on the demand of a police officer, the vehicle shall be impounded regardless of ownership, unless the police officer is reasonably able, by other means, to verify that the driver is properly licensed. Prior to impounding a vehicle, a police officer shall attempt to verify the license status of a driver who claims to be properly licensed but is unable to produce the license on demand of the police officer.
A police officer shall not impound a vehicle based on expiration of the driver's license if the license expired within the preceding 90 days and the driver would otherwise have been properly licensed.
A police officer may waive impoundment of the vehicle if the driver is an employee driving a vehicle registered to the employer in the course of employment. A police officer may also waive impoundment if the driver is the employee of a bona fide business establishment or is a person otherwise controlled by such an establishment and it reasonably appears that an owner of the vehicle, or an agent of the owner, relinquished possession of the vehicle to the business establishment solely for servicing or parking of the vehicle or other reasonably similar situations, and where the vehicle was not to be driven except as directly necessary to accomplish that business purpose. In this event, if the vehicle can be returned to or be retrieved by the business establishment or registered owner, the police officer may release and not impound the vehicle.
A police officer may waive impoundment in other circumstances clearly establishing that the owner of the vehicle had no cause to believe or reasonable opportunity to inquire whether the driver would commit an impoundment driving offense. Impoundment may not be waived under this subsection (4) if the owner and the driver are married, members of the same household, or both in the vehicle at the time of the stop.