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Sirens & Gavels

12-hour car impound for DUI arrests

(AP) OLYMPIA -- As of Friday, Washington motorists arrested for DUI will also have their vehicle impounded.

The new state law requires a 12-hour hold be placed on cars driven by suspected drunk drivers.

One of the major reasons behind the law is that many jails don't have the room to hold DUI suspects overnight, and are often forced to release them while they are still intoxicated.

"This is about making sure that impaired drivers don't return to their cars and drive again before they've sobered up," said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. "This isn't about trying to punish someone for driving drunk. If they're found guilty that will become the court's job."

The three exceptions to the DUI impound law are:

* If the vehicle is owned by someone other than the arrested person, such as a business owner, the owner may reclaim the car at the tow lot.

* A registered co-owner may go to the tow company and redeem the vehicle.

* Commercial or farm transport vehicles reclaimed by a legal owner who is not the arrested subject. Commercial and farm transport vehicles are the only types that can be released at the site of the arrest.

Drivers who don't meet these exceptions will be allowed to retrieve their vehicle from impound 12 hours after their arrest.

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