» Arizona Statutes, Government Rants » Is the Town of Gilbert in the Business of Stealing Cars?

Is the Town of Gilbert in the Business of Stealing Cars?

If you are caught driving and have a revoked or suspended driver’s license, Gilbert will impound your car. The same is true if you never had a driver’s license, if you are arrested for Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI, if you are under the legal drinking age and have any alcohol in your body, or if you are operating a vehicle without a certified ignition interlock device and you’re supposed to have one.

Gilbert’s policy isn’t uncommon in Arizona. What is uncommon, at least as far as I can tell, is what Gilbert does after it takes your car. Take a second and read this. To me, it sounds like all you have to do to get your car back is show up on the 30th day, pay the town their fee, get the release form, pay the tow company, and present your paperwork to them. Doesn’t it make it sound like you only need a hearing if you want your vehicle back before the 30 days are up? This also makes me think you only need a hearing if you want your vehicle back in less than 30 days. However, that page also adds the interesting twist that you must request your hearing during the first 10 days after your vehicle is impounded if you want a hearing at all.

The pamphlet the Gilbert Police give you when they impound your vehicle also indicates that the only reason you would need a hearing is to get your car back early. The only difference I can find between the pamphlet and the website is that the website says the towing company has 10 days after the 30 days are up before they can file for an abandoned title to your vehicle, whereas the pamphlet says they can do that right after the first 30 days are up.

Here’s what amazes me: you cannot get your vehicle back from the Gilbert Police Department unless you have a hearing. That’s right, they don’t tell you that you must request a hearing, but if you show up on the 30th day looking for your car, they will make you call the “hearing hotline” and schedule a hearing. It may take you a couple of weeks to get a hearing, and one person I spoke with confirmed that you won’t get a hearing at all if you don’t request it within the first 10 days. On top of that, I know of one instance where either the town or the towing company had filed for a lien by the 32nd day of impound, though the police were nice enough to give that person a hearing date despite the fact she did not request it in the first 10 days.

Basically, the town takes your car for 30 days and doesn’t tell you that you must request a hearing to get it back. When you show up on the 30th day, you are ready to pay the fee but can’t get your car because you didn’t request the hearing they didn’t tell you about. There may already be a lien on your car, and you may never get a hearing at all because you didn’t ask for it in the first 10 days, though you didn’t know you had to ask for it. If they do give you a hearing, it will probably not be until after they have filed for a lien. On top of that, if they really are weeks behind scheduling these things, you might not get a hearing by the 30th day even if you do request it in the first 10 days.

The final kicker is that, when I spoke with someone from the “hearing hotline,” they informed me that the hearings are held in front a Town of Gilbert police officer and happen every 30 minutes on weekdays. Not a judge, not a commissioner, and not even an admin law judge. A cop. Does anyone else, like me, wonder if the Town of Gilbert is in the business of stealing cars?

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9 Responses to "Is the Town of Gilbert in the Business of Stealing Cars?"

  1. jc holmes says:

    It loos as though no one comes in here much anymore, but just in case, I am going to share a couple things I learned. This is not legal advice, just sharing learned information.
    First, laws change often, so what is relavent today as far as case law, may differ dramatically next month. Case law seems to be applied on a very narrow set of guidelines that I am constently learning. Be sure to look all facts and opinions up yourself. Never take anyone’s word for it.
    Second, The Due Process portion of a vehicle has been argued several times, and as of now, and the continued point of view is that it doesn’t violate due process, either by not getting a timely hearing/being heard in a meaningful time and meaningful manner. Nor by claiming that the impound was to punish for some crime he allegedly committed.
    Third, The question of whether or not a right was clearly established at the time, seems to be the more difficult hurdle to get over. Depending on the situation, here are any number of items that a judge can apply to it, so see if it holds muster,ie: The Cady Doctrine, The Public Service Doctrine, Qualified Immunity Doctrine, Void-For-Vagueness Doctrine, Consent once Removed Doctrine, Standing to Sue Doctrine, and there are so many more. But, my personal favorites. One introducing me to the other, and what I tell people to begin using as their jumping off point is the case of,”Miranda vs The City of Cornelius”, and the,”Community Caretaking Doctrine”.
    Fourth, Even if all that goes down the crapper, and I mean everyone, every cop, prosecutor, etc. recieves immunity in one form or another, I contend it is not even being close to a loss yet. For now, I want to end it on this : Respondeat Superior. Give that a read.
    So, it sucks, yes. Is it right, no. When things get out of sorts, it is our duty to bring it back, and reign it in. Make sure your local representatives are aware. People say I can’t change law, or enact some change to our statutes. And I agree with you. You can’t. Not alone. And nothing happens due to our inactions on this, or any other subject.

    *****THE BEST, FREE LEGAL RESEARCH APP I HAVE FOUND THAT IS AVAILABLE FOR BOTH THE ANDROID, AND PC PLATFORMS, IS CALLED,”FASTCASE”. YOU WONT BE DISAPPOINTED .

  2. WhoCares? says:

    @The Vindicator,

    I’m so sorry that you have to live in a world afflicted with stupidity. It’s too bad that you too would have your car impounded if you allowed someone you know and love to drive it, someone you trust and who doesn’t have any of the “things listed above” on their record to either their or your knowledge. Then – BOOM!! – well, now that person has a suspended license for some reason neither you nor that person knows about. Too bad that there will be nothing you can do to avoid the Gilbert Police dept’s policy of legally stealing your car and making you pay an extraordinarily ridiculous price to get it back. And that price DOES NOT include whatever the tow company decides to charge.
    Maybe you should go live on the planet of the geniuses. I think you should change your name from The Vindicator to The Troll, Mr. Troll-olol-oll, he who only wishes to piss off people on the internet because. like every other 9 year old idiot, he thinks it’s funny.
    What goes around comes around. You will get yours whether it be good or bad. I hope, for your sake, that it be good.

  3. BeenBurntbythis says:

    I was wrong above about it being on $100 that i had to pay at the so called hearing – i looked on receipt given and it was the same as yours $150. Anyway – you can complain to someone about this – i know the cops dont want to hear it and say that they dont know who you can complain to- but i did a lot of homework on this before the elections last year and found out that Andy Biggs is your man to call about this!!Here is a link with the info – it should go to a article I wrote before the election and shortly after my experience with this !!http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/OneHotAzN/34399

  4. Karen says:

    Well, I also just experienced this crazy law personally. I had my son drive the car I had just purchased home. Because it is hard to drive two cars at one time! Unbeknown to myself or my son his license was revoked for unpaid photo ticket. The police stopped him for speeding and they impounded my car, wrote my son a ticket that is totally unreadable.(I can’t read what the offence was or the date, time, of a court hearing nor can I read EITHER officers names or badge numbers!!) So when I call the Gilbert Police to find out what to do, I was told to schedule a hearing, which I did do for the next day at 830 AM. I went to the Gilbert court house, but imagine my surprise, my hearing was at the Police station. There a young woman took, my fee for the hearing $150. cash only, my license., insurance, title and returned 30 some minutes later with a piece of paper stating I could pick up my vehicle! WAIT, where’s my hearing??Isn’t this America??? where do I get to put in my thoughts and comments?? on this ridiculous law??? No where!! this is it. She did not identify herself as a police officer. She stated that this was her job!! The tow company… Oh please let me name them ACE Towing in Mesa, charged us $156, to tow and store for ONE DAY! Calling on the side pretending to get my car towed 10 miles and stored for a day it would have cost $50-60, so can you tell my why the impound fee for the same thing is $156.???? Ace Towing explained the fee is set by the Gilbert Police Dept!! (Oh so they get a KICK BACK???hmm??)
    Oh yeah I had to sign a form basically stating that I had use my one get your car out of tow/Impound lot early card! Well that most of the story!

  5. LongTermArizonaResident says:

    Wow, thank you for actually making this point somewhat public. It’s about time people started realizing some things about our local law enforcement and its corruption.

    In addition to what you have said, they will sometimes schedule your court date after the 10 day limit for a hearing request is up, so not only is one unaware of the supposed necessity for the hearing but also never had a chance to schedule within the 10 days. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever hear. No figure of authority at a so-called “Hearing” where you are forced to pay in CASH ONLY?

    What’s the deal!?

  6. BeenBurntbythis says:

    Oh yeah this law only applies to individuals – that means if
    it is a rental car the person is driving or a work vehicle
    they wont tow it at all !!! Probably cause they have the money
    to really fight this injustice.

  7. BeenBurntbythis says:

    I experienced this myself- only I do have a valid drivers license
    no tickets with current insurance. But I let my boyfriend drive
    my car only to get gas for me one Sunday evening. They gave him
    a ticket for his license that had just gotten suspended due to a
    unpaid ticket and one for not using his signal. Then they towed
    my car – kept it and I couldnt get it back for 10 days, after
    which I had to pay them $100 at this so called hearing which is
    just you meeting a cop in the lobby of PD station- signed a form
    saying only I will drive my car the rest of this year. Then had to go to tow yard in Mesa – and pay roughly $400 for my car. What if you didnt know like me that the person didnt have valid license ? This is a ridiculous law – signed by Andy Biggs which does entitled the police to steal and hold your car when you are
    a law abiding citizen!!!

  8. The Vindicator says:

    If you are stupid enough to do any of those things you list above, you deserve to have your car impounded. Think before you act, and don’t be stupid. If you follow that simple rule, you won’t have the problem.

    1. Dustin says:

      @The Vindicator

      That’s okay, one of these days you or someone you know will be affected by this law. I know your post is 4 years old, but please see the comment about having an unknown photo radar ticket and a suspended license because of it.

      “Freedom ain’t free.” Yeah, no shit.

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