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Posted: 4/21/2010 10:53:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/21/2010 11:31:17 AM EDT by usp4u]
Gotta quick question for you LEO's.
Here's the short version:

A guy gets into a traffic accident(not his fault), brings vehicle to me for the repair. He is the claimant, gets into a rental car paid by the at fault party's insurance company.

Two days later, in the middle of the afternoon, the rental car is found along the road demolished. PSP Trooper finds the rental contract in car, goes to the guy's residence and hooks him up for DUI and I would assume, leaving the scene, etc. The rental conract has my company listed as the pick-up location. Trooper stops in, we verify the car, the guy who picked it up, dates, etc.

Before leaving, the Trooper asks when the guy's (original repair, from the initial accident which has nothing to do with the DUI) repair will be completed. We tell him 3-4 days. Trooper responds that we ARE NOT to release that vehicle to him.

Today the repair was completed, and we phoned the barracks and got the OK to release the vehicle back to it's owner. So basically, it "worked out".


My issue is this: Yeah, the guy is an idiot for totalling a rental while DUI, but thats beside the point to me. What right do I have holding this guy's vehicle hostage given that he is able to walk in here sober, willing to sign the paperwork I need him to sign. I have no reason to deny him return of his vehicle and furthermore, as a business person, he CHOSE to come patronize my business and I dont just overlook that.

Granted, it didn't end up working out that way, but I have a problem facilitating an impound of one of my customers when they dont owe me anything. We're always happy to help the police out around here and do, but I feel like I was put in a bad spot.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 10:56:37 AM EDT
All verbal, I'm wondering if you'd asked for something written if they would have either given it to you or cited the law. Doubtful if they were really able to stop a business transaction.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 10:57:14 AM EDT
There could be several reasons.

You state law may mandate the impound of vehicles driven by suspended drivers. The police may have wanted to test the streering wheel, gear shift and door handles fro DNA to later prove at trial he was actually driving the vehicle.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:01:15 AM EDT
Does Pennsylvania do temporary suspensions for driver licenses of people arrested for DWI? Maybe they didn't want you to release the car to someone who has a suspended license.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:04:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AR15fan:
There could be several reasons.

You state law may mandate the impound of vehicles driven by suspended drivers. The police may have wanted to test the streering wheel, gear shift and door handles fro DNA to later prove at trial he was actually driving the vehicle.


I think you may have misunderstood me ?
The vehicle we were in possesion of was his own vehicle, involved in an accident two weeks ago that was not his fault, not the rental car which he destroyed while DUI last week. He had a valid DL at that time to get in the rental.

Just knowing how DUI is processed around here I'm sure he still has his DL right now, at least until he is sentenced. I mean they dont just yank your liscence when you're being booked, ya know ?
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:05:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Texaspyro21:
Does Pennsylvania do temporary suspensions for driver licenses of people arrested for DWI? Maybe they didn't want you to release the car to someone who has a suspended license.


yes they do, but not until you are sentenced. The suspension is administered by PennDOT and at the EARLIEST you can turn your liscence in to the Clerk of Courts on the day of your sentencing. I am 99.9% positive this guy still has a valid DL right now.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:07:12 AM EDT
I'm guessing that the officer didn't want the car to disappear before he was able to check it out again if it needed to happen. We generally tell the tow guys to not release the car back to the owner/ operator only when that person is not legal to operate the car.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:11:45 AM EDT
for the second time, guys: we are not talking about the demolished rental car here. We are talking about impounding his personal vehicle after repair completion which was here for an unrelated incident that happened two weeks beforehand.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:12:12 AM EDT
My BIL worked loss control at Enterprise. The insurance co. paid for that rental, but he's the one on the contract. If he didn't get the damage waiver, he's gonna be on the hook for the value of that car.

The scariest story I heard: a lady in MD had her vehicle damaged, and SOP at that dealership was for customers to drop off the keys to the rentals, go home in their repaired cars, and the dealership would take care of getting it back to Enterprise. She did this, and the car was never seen again. My BIL hated to, but he was required to go after her for that car because she didn't return it to Enterprise.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:12:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/21/2010 11:13:04 AM EDT by Garand_Shooter]
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:14:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/21/2010 11:15:44 AM EDT by SgtSwat]
I don't know the whole story, but I can read. If they wanted the car, the P.D./S.O. or whoever

needs to have it towed and held with them. You are under no obligation if they were given

a reasonable time to do so and did not. Ymmv by state.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:15:13 AM EDT
I don't know, but it sounds like an invalid request. I would doubt that a simple verbal request would indeed be lawful, I would imagine that it would have to be a written request. As a business owner I would certainly investigate the validity/legality of the request as it impacts your business - he'll bitch about it, and you'll get a bad ding spreading by word of mouth.

FWIW The dude is a complete jackass with the DWI wrecked rental.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:16:29 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Could be legit, but regardless I wouldn't do anything based on a verbal request on the phone. You don't even have proof this guy is who he claimed to be.

If they want the vehicle held, they had best come up with proper paperwork and documentation for you to cover your own ass. The officer asking you to hold someone elses property and not return it to them without giving you any sort opf court order or supporting documentation to cover your ass is setting you up for possible trouble.....[/quote]

Blue: I dont know what you mean here. He provides DL upon picking up the rental, which we verify is legit. Only thing done over the phone was calling the Trooper to ask if we may release the owners personal vehicle back to him now that the repair is completed.

Red: This is kinda what I was thinking. The officers request made me uncomfortable.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:18:36 AM EDT
If they just found a wrecked rental car abandoned on the side of the road, how can they actually put him in the car and charge him with DWI?
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:19:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SgtSwat:
I don't know the whole story, but I can read. If they wanted the car, the P.D./S.O. or whoever

needs to have it towed and held with them. You are under no obligation if they were given

a reasonable time to do so and did not. Ymmv by state.


That's been my take on it as well. State-to-State notwithstanding, it was a strange request in my opinion.
Thanks for taking the time to read and understand.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:19:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/21/2010 11:20:46 AM EDT by usp4u]
Originally Posted By ChuckD05:
If they just found a wrecked rental car abandoned on the side of the road, how can they actually put him in the car and charge him with DWI?


Its my understanding that he was a bit busted up as well. When they got to his house he was all fucked up. So, I would assume they took his BAC and measured it against the time of the accident.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:20:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:23:37 AM EDT
If they found the rental on the road abandoned, how did the cop know they guy was drunk at the time ?
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:24:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Originally Posted By usp4u:
Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Could be legit, but regardless I wouldn't do anything based on a verbal request on the phone. You don't even have proof this guy is who he claimed to be.

If they want the vehicle held, they had best come up with proper paperwork and documentation for you to cover your own ass. The officer asking you to hold someone elses property and not return it to them without giving you any sort opf court order or supporting documentation to cover your ass is setting you up for possible trouble.....[/quote]

Blue: I dont know what you mean here. He provides DL upon picking up the rental, which we verify is legit. Only thing done over the phone was calling the Trooper to ask if we may release the owners personal vehicle back to him now that the repair is completed.

Red: This is kinda what I was thinking. The officers request made me uncomfortable.


I mean you don't have proof the guy you talked to was in fact a cop.

What he asked you to do was to hold someone elses property based on the word of a random voice on the phone.


Well, the Trooper was standing in my office, with a marked cruiser in the parking lot, telling me not release it. Fast-forward to today and we call the local PSP barracks and waited on hold until the dispatcher contacted him on the radio and confirmed that we may release the vehicle.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:25:13 AM EDT
There is no telling what else is going on in that case. The vehicle may have been connected to another case. Just never know.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:26:13 AM EDT
Originally Posted By CopDr:
There is no telling what else is going on in that case. The vehicle may have been connected to another case. Just never know.


possible.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:26:40 AM EDT
We can hold a vehicle per investigation. I have kind of the same situation right now.

Stupid smacks a unoccupied-parked car, gets out & looks at the damage, gets back in & takes off. Witnesses give me a plate & driver description. I look up the vehicle & owner info. Turns out the car belongs to his mother. I got a cell # to the guy, call him up an hour after the fact. He admits to being in the area driving the car, ID matches up. Then he started playing games in the phone, tryin to back track & refused to come into the station with the vehicle.

This is what the list of charges he has now. Besides the fact the vehicle will be seized when it's found. Both him & his mom will not be able to get it released until end of investigation.

1) Fail to report accident
2) Leaving the scene
3) Driving while license suspended second offense
4) IF he tries to fix the damage; Tampering with evidence
5) Mother knows he suspended, she gets "Allowing unlicensed person to operate"

Play stupid games...
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:27:36 AM EDT
There is nothing in the PA DUI laws that require vehicles to be impounded at least that I could find. In NJ, I am almost positive a DWI/DUI arrest will result in the vehicle being impounded.

PA DUI Law
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:28:41 AM EDT
Just STFU and obey you recalcitrant civilian!


Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:32:22 AM EDT
OP edited to hopefully stop the replies that are totally bass-ackwards.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:33:36 AM EDT
Why not call him and ask him to explain what was going on?
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:34:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:39:37 AM EDT
Originally Posted By RyJones:
Why not call him and ask him to explain what was going on?


Because it's none of my business now....It worked out that I didn't have to hold on to it, but if they would've said today that I do have to hold it hostage...I definatly would be asking some questions.

Not to mention, in my line of work, I sometimes have to deal with LEO's and I want them to care when my alarm is going off and respond quickly...so I try not to be a dick.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:40:31 AM EDT
REVENUE? Just a thought.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:40:48 AM EDT

juss gimme my fluckin car back



Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:43:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Mattl:
REVENUE? Just a thought.


I have no idea what that is suppose to mean in this context. Only thing it could possibly do is generate revenue for me if I chose to charge storage.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 11:48:38 AM EDT
Originally Posted By hellbound:
There is nothing in the PA DUI laws that require vehicles to be impounded at least that I could find. In NJ, I am almost positive a DWI/DUI arrest will result in the vehicle being impounded.

PA DUI Law



I'm going to read the link now, but does that hold true even for a vehicle that wasnt being driven? Like if I have 3 cars, they'll come tow my other 2?
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 12:40:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By usp4u:
Originally Posted By RyJones:
Why not call him and ask him to explain what was going on?


Because it's none of my business now....It worked out that I didn't have to hold on to it, but if they would've said today that I do have to hold it hostage...I definatly would be asking some questions.

Not to mention, in my line of work, I sometimes have to deal with LEO's and I want them to care when my alarm is going off and respond quickly...so I try not to be a dick.


I didn't say to be a dick. I didn't say be unprofessional.

"Hi, could I have officer So-and-so call me? It's in regards to the car involved in case such-and-such - I was wondering why he may have wanted it held. Thanks!"

"Hi, officer So-and-so? About that car - why would you have wanted me to hold it?"

don't be confrontational, just ask politely. No need to be adversarial.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 12:52:04 PM EDT
The cops certainly have the right to seize property or hold property for evidence under certain circumstances. When I owned a towing company with a police tow contract we held vehicles for them all the time, and did not release them without police consent.

That being said they sure as shit do NOT have the right to make YOU seize or hold property for them. We chose that role when we signed the contract, you didn't. If they want the property seized or held they need to do their own dirty work. Not saying to tell the cop to stick it. In that situation I would be real diplomatic about it, but explain that I am not a city/county/state/whatever contracted impound yard and I can't be responsible for the liability of keeping people's property at police request. It's not like it would be very hard to get a warrant and tow the vehicle if the request was legit.
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