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Impounded Vehicle Hearing

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Purpose of a Hearing
As a vehicle owner or other person entitled to possession of an impounded vehicle, you have the right to a hearing if you believe your vehicle should not have been impounded.  The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there was probable cause to impound the vehicle--that is, whether the impounding officer was legally authorized to remove your vehicle.


How to Request a Hearing

If the Police Department impounded the vehicle you were driving for a period of thirty days pursuant to California Vehicle Code 14602.6CVC, the vehicle was impounded for one of the following reasons:

  • Suspended or Revoked Driver’s License 14601 CVC, 14601.1 CVC, 14601.2 CVC, 14601.3 CVC, 14601.4 CVC, or 14601.5 CVC
  • Unlicensed Driver 12500(a) CVC
The legal or registered owner of the vehicle has a right to a hearing regarding this matter if a request is received or postmarked within ten days of the impoundment. After the request is received, a hearing will be conducted within two days. Hearings will be conducted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays by appointment. To obtain a hearing the legal or registered owner may:
  • Contact the Costa Mesa Police Department Traffic Bureau in writing at P.O.Box 1200, Costa Mesa, California 92628-1200, Attention: Traffic Bureau 30 Day Hearing Request.
  • By calling the Costa Mesa Police Department Traffic Bureau at (714) 754-5263, Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
If the storing of your vehicle is held to be lawful, you will be held responsible for all fees and charges relating to the storage. These include towing charges, daily storage charges, and a fee paid to the City of Costa Mesa for the eventual release of the vehicle. Do not contact the two service for the release of your vehicle until after you obtain a release form from the Costa Mesa Police Department. Your vehicle will not be released without written authorization from the Costa Mesa Police Department.
After completion of the thirty day impound, a vehicle will be released only after the legal or registered owner or his/her agent furnishes a valid driver’s license and proof of current registration to the Costa Mesa Police Department. The driver’s license and vehicle registration status will be verified before the vehicle is released.
Impounded Vehicle (Not 30 Day Impounds)
If your vehicle was impounded pursuant to a California Vehicle Code that is not listed above, the registered owner may obtain a release for the vehicle at the front desk of the Costa Mesa Police Department after showing a valid driver’s license and registration for the impounded vehicle.

Conduct of the Hearing

The hearing will consist of a meeting with a hearing officer at the police department.  The hearing officer has the responsibility to review all reports and/or documents concerning your vehicle's impound.  You may present any witnesses or any other evidence you believe will show that your vehicle should not have been impounded.  The hearing officer may interview the officer who impounded the vehicle if more information is necessary or there are any inconsistencies in the report.  You must also establish that you are the legal and/or registered owner of the vehicle or have some other right to possession.

If the hearing officer determines your vehicle should not have been impounded, it will be released to you without charge.  You will be directed to the Front Desk to obtain an impound release form prior to leaving the station.  This form must be presented to the assigned towing agency before they will release the vehicle.

If the hearing officer determines your vehicle was properly impounded, you must pay all impound and storage charges to the assigned towing agency.  If the vehicle has been placed on a 30-day hold and the hearing officer determines that the vehicle will be held for the entire 30-day period, the hearing officer will provide you with a date when you can return to the station and pick up the impound release form.  If you neglect to make arrangements for picking up your vehicle, the assigned towing agency will reserve the right to place a lien on the vehicle, and eventually a lien sale may occur where you will forfeit title to your vehicle.