If a Pima County Sheriff’s deputy required your vehicle to be towed, this webpage will provide answers to some frequently asked questions and important information on how to get your vehicle released.
If your vehicle was impounded as evidence of a crime, these procedures do not apply to you. Please contact the Pima County Sheriff’s detective who is handling your case for additional information. If you do not know who is handling your case, contact the Department’s Records Maintenance Unit at (520) 351-4650.
If your vehicle was towed for a reason other than evidence, you must contact the Department’s Vehicle Impound Unit to obtain a release prior to contacting the tow company. The Vehicle Impound Unit is located at 1650 E. Benson Highway, Suite B, Tucson, Arizona 85714, phone number (520) 351-6105.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your vehicle was impounded or towed by another law enforcement agency, such as the Tucson Police Department or the Arizona Department of Public Safety, you must contact that agency for assistance in obtaining the release of your vehicle.
Arizona Revised Statute § 28-3511 requires that law enforcement agencies immobilize (tow) a motor vehicle when the driver is in violation of one of the following provisions:
- The driver has been in an accident, AND is in violation of Arizona's insurance law, AND has a suspended, revoked, or canceled driver's license for any reason, or is unlicensed in any State.
- The driver has never been issued a driver's license or permit in Arizona and is not licensed in any other jurisdiction.
- The driver’s operating privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason.
- The driver is arrested for either Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI.
- The driver is under the legal drinking age of 21 and has any alcohol in their body.
- The driver is subject to the requirement of an interlock device and is operating a vehicle without a functioning interlock device.
- The driver is transporting or moving or attempting to move an illegal alien in a vehicle.
- A person is concealing, harboring, or shielding from detection an illegal alien in a vehicle.
How Do I Get My Vehicle Back?
After the 20th day of immobilization, OR if your driver’s license is reinstated earlier, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department must authorize the release of your vehicle.
Follow these steps to get your vehicle:
You must come to the following location during normal business hours to start the process.
Pima County Sheriff’s Department
Vehicle Impound Unit
1650 E. Benson Highway, Suite B
Tucson, Arizona 85714
Business Hours (excluding holidays):
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
You must bring a valid driver’s license (motorcycle endorsement required if vehicle is a motorcycle), proof of insurance (VIN must match the vehicle being released), and ownership documents including valid registration and title. It may be necessary for you to go to court and / or the Motor Vehicle Division to obtain the necessary documentation. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department cannot release your vehicle until these documents are valid and current. Documentation required for lienholders, rental companies, insurance companies or for company owned vehicles may be different. Please contact the Vehicle Impound Unit at 520-351-6105 if you have questions.
If your driving privilege cannot be restored by the end of the 20-day immobilization period (i.e., license has been suspended for one year), you may authorize a fully licensed driver to obtain the vehicle on your behalf. After the 20-day immobilization, the driver must provide a notarized third-party agent release form, available from the vehicle impound unit, giving permission to obtain the vehicle. Valid vehicle registration and proof of insurance are still required.
You are responsible for paying all towing and storage fees; and, an administrative fee of $150.00. This fee does not apply to stored vehicles. Payment shall be made to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. You may be charged an additional fee if the release is made after normal business hours. Payment may be made using any of the following options:
- Credit or debit cards
- Cashier's checks
- Money orders
Sheriff’s personnel will provide release paperwork to you. You must present proof of your identity and release paperwork to the tow company to obtain the vehicle.
If you do not claim your vehicle within 20 days after the available release date, the tow company may file for an abandoned title to the vehicle.
Is Early Release Possible?
Under certain circumstances, you may be able to have the vehicle released to you prior to the expiration of the 20-day period.
You may be eligible to have your vehicle released early if the vehicle has not been previously immobilized within the past year and you meet one (1) of the following conditions or circumstances:
- If the owner presents satisfactory proof that the owner’s driving privilege has been reinstated.
- If the owner is married and can produce a valid marriage license.
- If the vehicle was reported stolen before the vehicle was impounded.
- If the vehicle is subject to bailment and was driven by an employee of a business establishment, including a parking service or repair garage, who is subject to A.R.S. § 28- 3511-A or B.
- If ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLIES:
- The owner, spouse, or owner’s agent was not the person driving in violation at the time of the immobilization; AND
- The owner or the owner’s agent is in the business of renting motor vehicles without drivers; AND
- The vehicle is registered pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-2166.
In certain situations, a vehicle may be released to another person, but only if they are listed on the title and registration at the time of impound. A spouse or co-owner may enter into an agreement with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in that they will not allow an individual who has been arrested for Extreme or Aggravated DUI, or a minor who has been arrested for operating a vehicle with spirituous liquor in their system, to drive the vehicle within one (1) year from the date of impound. Should the agreement be violated, there is no relief available from the 20-day impound period if the vehicle is impounded in the future.
You Need to Know...
- The minimum cost for a 20-day immobilization is $738, which must be paid before your vehicle will be released.
- Only the Pima County Sheriff’s Department can authorize the release of your vehicle. The tow company cannot release the vehicle without proper authorization from the Sheriff’s Department.
- In some cases you may be able to get your vehicle back prior to the end of the 20 days. However, you are still required to pay all fees and charges prior to the release of the vehicle.
- Vehicle Impound Information Line, 351-6105
- Mobile Maintenance and Towing, (520)293-1988
2014 W. Gardner Lane, Tucson, AZ 85705
- Del-Sur Towing / NAPA, 520-387-6962
2050 N. Arizona Highway 85, Ajo, AZ 85321
Frequently Asked Questions
What if someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle when it was impounded?
The owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying all fees and charges associated with the immobilization prior to having the vehicle released. The owner may seek civil action against the driver for any expenses incurred as a result of the immobilization.
What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?
Under Arizona law, the tow company may file for an abandoned title and seek ownership of the vehicle if it is left at the tow yard unclaimed for more than 20 days after the available release date. If you have difficulty in paying the required fees, you should contact the Pima County Sheriff’s Department if you wish to retain ownership of your vehicle.
At the end of the 20 days can I just go to the tow company and claim my vehicle?
No. The tow company cannot release an immobilized vehicle without paperwork from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department authorizing the release.
May I request a hearing about the immobilization of my vehicle?
Yes. You have up to 10 days after the immobilization to request a hearing. Hearings are generally only needed if you are challenging the validity of the immobilization. If you are now in compliance with the law and are eligible to get your vehicle back, you do not need a hearing—simply contact the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to make the necessary arrangements. You may request a hearing by writing or calling the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Vehicle Impound Unit.
How much will it cost to have my vehicle released?
A 20-day impound would cost not less than $738.00 plus mileage.
Administrative fee: $150.00
Tow charges: $63.00 plus $3.50 per mile
Storage charges: $25.00 per day
All fees must be paid to Pima County at the Sheriff’s Department’s Vehicle Impound Unit.
This does not include any fees that are associated with the Motor Vehicle Division, the courts, or installation of an interlock device.