Motor Vehicle Impoundment
Your vehicle may be taken from you and stored for a period of time (impounded) if you are charged and/or convicted of certain motor vehicle offences or short term driver license suspensions. If your vehicle is impounded, all costs and charges for the care or storage of the vehicle are considered a lien on the vehicle.
How long is a vehicle impounded?
The number of days a vehicle is impounded is based on the offence and the driver’s conviction record. Your motor vehicle may be impounded for driving offences as follows:
Driving with Blood Alcohol Count (BAC)
If you receive a short-term suspension for BAC readings from .05 to .09 or failing a roadside sobriety test for drugs, your vehicle will be impounded as follows:
- 1st offence: three-day vehicle impoundment
- 2nd offence within three years: seven-day vehicle impoundment
- 3rd and subsequent offence within three years: 30-day vehicle impoundment
- Any graduated driver violating the zero BAC or drug restriction: 30-day vehicle impoundment
Driving while impaired
If you are charged for impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada for first or second offence within 10 years: 30-day vehicle impoundment
Driving while suspended or prohibited
If you are charged for driving while your license is suspended under the Highway Traffic Act or prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada:
- 2nd offence within two years: 30-day vehicle impoundment
- 3rd or subsequent time within two years (Highway Traffic Act): 60-day vehicle impoundment
- 3rd or subsequent time within ten years (Criminal Code of Canada): six-month vehicle impoundment
Offence causing serious injury or death
Under the Criminal Code of Canada a vehicle is impounded for six months for an offence:
- involving a motor vehicle where there is death or serious injury;
- for impaired driving with a previous conviction in the past 10 years for death or serious injury; or
- for impaired or prohibited driving with two or more similar convictions in the past 10 years.
Is it possible to have an impounded vehicle released before the deadline?
If your motor vehicle is impounded for 30 days or more, you may apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for a review of the impoundment. Fees are applied to impoundment reviews and vehicle releases. Please note, filing of an application for review does not guarantee your vehicle will be released.
Complete and submit to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles the Application for Review of Impoundment.
For more information, please read the Administrative Driving Prohibition and Vehicle Impoundment Regulations and the Highway Traffic Act.