Hearing Rights and Procedures
The district court has jurisdiction to determine the issues involving all impoundments including those authorized by the state or its agents.
The tow truck operator shall give written notice of the right of redemption of the vehicle or item of personal property and opportunity for a hearing, accompanied by a form for requesting a hearing, and a copy of the towing and storage invoice.
If the hearing request is not received by the court within the ten (10) day period and less than five (5) days before the auction, the right to a hearing is waived and the registered owner is liable for any towing, storage, or other impoundment charges.
Where a timely request has been made for a court hearing and where the vehicle owner has failed to redeem the vehicle, the sale of the vehicle at public auction shall not take place until after the court has disposed of the hearing request.
- the tow truck operator
- the person requesting the hearing if not the owner
- the registered and legal owners of the vehicle or other item of personal property registered or titled with the department
- the person or agency authorizing the impound
If the impoundment is found proper, the impoundment, towing, and storage fees, together with court costs, shall be assessed against the person or persons requesting the hearing, unless the operator did not have a signed and valid impoundment authorization from a private property owner or an authorized agent.
If the impoundment is determined to be improper, then the registered and legal owners of the vehicle or other item of personal property registered or titled with the department shall bear no impoundment, towing, storage fees, and any security shall be returned or discharged as appropriate. The person or agency who authorized the impoundment shall be liable for any towing, storage, or other impoundment fees permitted under Chapter 46.55 RCW.
The court shall enter judgment in favor of the registered tow truck operator against the person or agency authorizing the impound for the impoundment, towing, and storage fees paid.
- The first situation occurs when your license is suspended in the Third Degree and have unpaid traffic tickets that have suspended your driving privilege. All Failure to Appear (FTA) cases will need to be paid in order for you to gain a release of your vehicle. Once your citations are paid in full you may obtain a release letter from the court to provide to the towing company.
- The second situation of impoundment can require a 30 day mandatory hold in impoundment if your driving status is suspended in the Third Degree and you have prior Driving While License Suspended Third Degree violations on your record.
- And finally, the third situation of impoundment can occur if your driving status is Driving While License Suspended in the First or Second Degree. This status may result in a 60 day mandatory impoundment hold placed on your vehicle.
If you feel the impoundment was improper you may file an impound hearing with Okanogan County District Court as described above within 10 days. Should you wish to have a hearing to discuss a hardship situation that will result for you or your family due to the vehicle impoundment, you will need to file that request with the law enforcement agency that authorized the towing. This type of hearing is a hardship hearing.