Towing and Impound FAQs

FAQ Information

NOTE: In addition to the more specific FAQs answered here you may also wish to visit these pages to understand "Why was my vehicle towed?"  and "How do I retrieve my vehicle?" These questions have longer and more involved answers than most of the questions below.

Who is eligible for a hearing?

If your vehicle was towed for 28-872: The registered owner or lien holder is eligible to have a hearing, but you must request a hearing within 10 days from the date of the tow by calling (520) 432-9513 or (520) 432-9514. It is not necessary to have a hearing to retrieve your vehicle, but you may request a hearing to dispute the reason your vehicle was towed. You may get your vehicle out of the tow lot any time without a hearing. If your vehicle was towed for 28-3511. Visit the Impounded Vehicle Information page for information on who is eligible for a hearing.

Who can have the vehicle returned?

Under the law the owner, the owner's spouse, their agent (such as an attorney) or a lien holder are the only persons who can have the vehicle released. If you are the vehicle's owner and your license is still not valid at the end of the 30-day period, you can bring someone with you who has a valid license in order to get your vehicle back.

Where do I get the vehicle release?

A Vehicle Release Form can only be obtained at the Cochie County Sheriff’s Office at 205 Judd Drive, Bisbee, AZ 85603. No other Cochise County Office facility can process the release.

My car was involved in a collision, and due to damage it is not driveable. Does it still have to have a valid registration before the police can release it?

Yes. A current vehicle registration or a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title is required by law. Contact the motor vehicle division for more information

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 in order to have the vehicle released. If someone else was driving, you may have to seek civil action against the driver for any expenses you incur as a result of the impound.

What if I own the vehicle but have not yet transferred the title into my name? Can I still get the vehicle back?

No, you must first completely meet all legal title and registration requirements before the vehicle can be returned to you. This can be done through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. If the vehicle is registered out of state you must either register the vehicle in Arizona or deal with the state in which it is currently registered. If you sell, transfer title or add a new person on the registration after your vehicle is impounded or towed, they are not authorized to have a hearing.

What will happen if I cannot claim my vehicle?

Under Arizona law the towing 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 ten (10) days. If you have difficulty in paying for the towing and storage, you should at least contact the towing company if you wish to retain ownership of your vehicle.

If the owner had a suspended license, can they get it back prior to the 30-day period if their license is restored to a valid status?

Yes. The owner would have to prove that this had been corrected and their driving privileges re-instated, at which time we will release the vehicle upon payment of Administrative Towing Fees and towing and storage charges. You must bring:

  1. A valid driver license issued by this state or by the owner's or owner's agent's state of domicile.
  2. A current vehicle registration or a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title.
  3. Evidence that the vehicle is in compliance with the financial responsibility requirements of chapter 9, article 4 of this title (Proof of current insurance, unless presenting proof that the vehicle has a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title).
  4. If the person is required by the department to install a certified ignition interlock device on the vehicle, proof of installation of a functioning certified ignition interlock device in the vehicle. The impounding agency, storage yard, facility, person or agency having physical possession of the vehicle shall allow access during normal business hours to the impounded vehicle for the purpose of installing a certified ignition interlock device. The impounding agency, storage yard, facility, person or agency having physical possession of the vehicle shall not charge any fee or require compensation for providing access to the vehicle or for the installation of the certified ignition interlock device.

It is after the 30th day and my driver's license is still suspended. Is there a way I can get my vehicle out of impound even if I can't drive it?

Yes, provided you meet the below requirements and use an agent.

  1. If the owner is present, the owner must present photo identification.
  2. If the owner is not present the agent must have notarized power of attorney.
  3. The agent (who may be anyone, including a tow truck driver) must have a valid driver license and must not be suspended in this state (Arizona) even if there is a valid license in another state.
  4. A current vehicle registration or a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title.
  5. Evidence that the vehicle is in compliance with the financial responsibility requirements of chapter 9, article 4 of this title (Proof of current insurance, unless presenting proof that the vehicle has a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title).
  6. If the person is required by the department to install a certified ignition interlock device on the vehicle, proof of installation of a functioning certified ignition interlock device in the vehicle. The impounding agency, storage yard, facility, person or agency having physical possession of the vehicle shall allow access during normal business hours to the impounded vehicle for the purpose of installing a certified ignition interlock device. The impounding agency, storage yard, facility, person or agency having physical possession of the vehicle shall not charge any fee or require compensation for providing access to the vehicle or for the installation of the certified ignition interlock device

What if I only have a driver's license from another country?

Your license will be accepted provided it is valid in your country of domicile AND your privilege to drive in Arizona has not been suspended. Presentation of a fraudulent license is a crime.

Would I still have to pay fees and charges if the vehicle is released early to me?

Yes, the owner is still liable for the Administrative Towing Fees and all towing and storage fees up to the actual date of release.

At the end of the 30-days, can I just go to the towing company and get my vehicle?

No, the towing company is not allowed to release an impounded vehicle without the “Vehicle Release Form” from the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office. You must follow the claim process outlined on the “How Do I Retrieve My Vehicle” page of this website.

If I am found "not guilty" on my criminal or traffic charges will that affect the impound of my vehicle?

No. As long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to the law and our procedures, the outcome of the trial does not matter.

Can I have a hearing about this impound if my vehicle was simply imponded for being illegally parked, the driver or I was arrested, or it was involved in a collison?

Hearings are not needed, unless you believe your vehicle was unjustly towed. You may request a hearing in this case. There is no reason to contact the Sheriff’s Office if your vehicle was towed for this reason. You may pick your vehicle up immediately by paying the tow and impound fees at the tow yard.

Do I need to have a hearing?

No, you do not. Most people who do not meet one of the exemptions will not request or need a hearing. In many cases, you must simply wait until after the 30th day of the tow or impound. But, in all cases your vehicle registration must be valid in all aspects or you must present a salvage or dismantle certificate of title.

How long do I have to request a hearing?

We must receive your request for a hearing not later than ten (10) days from the date of the vehicle impoundment. If your request is received after the ten day time period, we will not grant you a hearing on this matter.

How is the hearing conducted?

The hearings for impounds are conducted by a Hearing Officer of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office. Post Storage Hearings are held in person at the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office located at 205 North Judd Drive, Bisbee, Arizona 85603. Post Storage Hearings can be requested by calling (520) 432-9513 or (520) 432-9514.

What will I have to prove in the hearing?

In order to have your vehicle released prior to the 30 days required by law, you must be able to prove that certain special circumstances exist. See the question above regarding how a vehicle may be released early.

Is there a charge to have a hearing?

There is an Administrative Towing Fee of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00) that must be paid in cash at the time of the hearing. Other charges are for towing and storage fees. These fees are not paid to the Sheriff’s Office. If you do not have the proper paperwork such as driver’s license, proof of vehicle registration or a valid salvage or dismantle certificate.

Do I need an attorney for the hearing?

No, an attorney is not needed. The hearing process is informal and very brief.

What documentation must I bring with me to the Sheriff's Office for the hearing to get the vehicle released?

  1. A valid driver license issued by this state or by the owner's or owner's agent's state of domicile.
  2. A current vehicle registration or a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title.
  3. Evidence that the vehicle is in compliance with the financial responsibility requirements of chapter 9, article 4 of this title (Proof of current insurance, unless the presenting proof that the vehicle has a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title).
  4. If the person is required by the department to install a certified ignition interlock device on the vehicle, proof of installation of a functioning certified ignition interlock device in the vehicle. The impounding agency, storage yard, facility, person or agency having physical possession of the vehicle shall allow access during normal business hours to the impounded vehicle for the purpose of installing a certified ignition interlock device. The impounding agency, storage yard, facility, person or agency having physical possession of the vehicle shall not charge any fee or require compensation for providing access to the vehicle or for the installation of the certified ignition interlock device.

What if I am selling the car, can the new owner or lien holder get a hearing?

No. Only the person/s or lien holders on the registration at the time the vehicle was towed/impounded are eligible for a hearing for an early release.

My car was impounded. If I transfer ownership or add a new person or company onto the registration, can they have a hearing and get the car out early?

No. Only the person/s or lien holders on the registration at the time the vehicle was towed/impounded are eligible for a hearing for an early release.

What are the impound yard hours?

Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday 8:00am to NOON. (NOTE: "After hours" gate fees apply on Saturdays.) On some holidays they are not open and it would be considered "after hours" and additional fees would apply - call the tow company to confirm.

Is there an "after hours" or "gate fee"?

Yes, if you come "after hours" you may have to wait a considerable time for a tow truck driver to be dispatched to the impound yard to open it for you. It could be an hour or more. Please call the "After Hours" telephone number posted on the sign at the storage facility. (NOTE: An additional "after hours" fee will apply.)

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