Chapter 10.16   IMPOUNDING AND STORAGE OF VEHICLES

Sections:


10.16.010   Incorporation of state law by reference.

Chapter 46.55 RCW of the 1985 Legislative Session, and amendments thereto, are incorporated by reference.

(Ord. 344 § 2, 1987)

10.16.020   Copies available for inspection.

The city clerk-treasurer of the city shall have available for the public inspection during regular working hours a copy of RCW Chapter 46.55 for inspection by the public.

(Ord. 344 § 3, 1987)

10.16.030   Authority to impound— Additional situations.

In accordance with Section 46.55.240 RCW the city adopts other situations in which an impound is authorized as follows:

A.

If a vehicle is left unattended upon any bridge, viaduct or causeway, where such vehicle constitutes an obstruction of traffic.

B.

When a vehicle upon a highway (including bridges and approaches) is so disabled as to constitute an obstruction to traffic, or when the person in charge of the vehicle is physically injured or intoxicated.

C.

When a vehicle is parked illegally, is left unattended and constitutes a hazard or obstruction in normal movement of traffic, or a hazard to public safety.

D.

When a vehicle is left unattended on public property without movement for a period of over twenty-four hours.

E.

When an officer of the police department has reason to believe that a vehicle is stolen or that a vehicle is needed for evidence in a criminal prosecution.

F.

When in the judgment of an officer of the police department, an occupied or unattended vehicle is in danger of being stripped, stolen or vandalized, or where there is reason to believe the vehicle has been abandoned.

G.

When a wrecked and unattended vehicle has been left on public property.

H.

When an unattended vehicle is parked on public property or right-of-way and does not display current license plates.

(Ord. 344 § 4, 1987)

10.16.040   Impoundment of vehicle where driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.20.342, 46.20.420, 46.61.502, 46.61.504—Period of impoundment.

A.

Whenever the driver of a vehicle is arrested or cited for a violation of RCW 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.20.342, 46.20.420, 46.61.502, 46.61.504, the vehicle is subject to impoundment at the direction of a police officer.

B.

Whenever the driver of a vehicle is arrested or cited for a violation of RCW 46.20.005, 46.20.015, 46.20.420, 46.61.502, 46.61.504, or 46.20.342(1)(c) and the driver has not been convicted one or more times of a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or similar local ordinance within the past five years, then the vehicle may be released as soon as all the requirements of Section 10.16.050A are satisfied.

C.

If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(c) and the Washington Department of Licensing's records show that the driver has been convicted one time of a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or similar local ordinance within the past five years, the vehicle shall be impounded for fifteen days.

D.

If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(c) and the Washington Department of Licensing's records show that the driver has been convicted two or more times of a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or similar local ordinance within the past five years, the vehicle shall be impounded for thirty days.

E.

If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) and the Washington Department of Licensing's records show that the driver has not been convicted of a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) or similar local ordinance within the past five years, the vehicle shall be impounded for thirty days.

F.

If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) and the Washington Department of Licensing's records show that the driver has been convicted one time of a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) or similar local ordinance once within the past five years, the vehicle shall be impounded for sixty days.

G.

If a vehicle is impounded because the driver is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) and the Washington Department of Licensing's records show that the driver has been convicted of a violation of RCW 46.20.342(1)(a) or (b) or similar local ordinance two or more times within the past five years, the vehicle shall be impounded for ninety days.

(Ord. 663 § 1, 1999)

10.16.050   Redemption of impounded vehicles.

Vehicles impounded by the city shall be redeemed only under the following circumstances:

A.

Only the registered owner, a person authorized by the registered owner, or one who has purchased the vehicle from the registered owner, who produces proof of ownership or authorization and signs a receipt therefor, may redeem an impounded vehicle. A person redeeming a vehicle impounded pursuant to Section 10.16.040 must prior to redemption establish that he or she has a valid driver's license and is in compliance with RCW 46.30.020. A vehicle impounded pursuant to subsections C to G of Section 10.16.040 can be released only pursuant to a written order from the court.

B.

Any person so redeeming a vehicle impounded by the city shall pay the towing contractor for costs of impoundment removal, towing and storage prior to redeeming such vehicle, except as provided for by subsection C of this section. Such towing contractor shall accept payment as provided in RCW 46.55.120(1)(b) as now or hereafter amended. If the vehicle was impounded pursuant to Section 10.16.040 and was being operated by the registered owner when it was impounded, it may not be released to any person until all penalties, fines or forfeitures owed by the registered owner have been satisfied.

C.

The Black Diamond Municipal Court is authorized to release a vehicle impounded pursuant to Section 10.16.040(C) to (G) prior to the expiration of any period of impoundment upon petition of the spouse of the driver based on economic or personal hardship to such spouse resulting from the unavailability of the vehicle and after consideration of the threat to public safety that may result from release of the vehicle including, but not limited to, the driver's criminal history, driving record, license status, and access to the vehicle. If such release is authorized, the person redeeming the vehicle still must satisfy the requirements of subsections A and B of this section.

D.

Any person seeking to redeem a vehicle impounded as a result of a parking or traffic citation has a right to a municipal court hearing to contest the validity of an impoundment or the amount of removal, towing, and storage charges if such request for hearing is in writing, in a form approved by the Black Diamond municipal court and signed by such person, and is received by the Black Diamond municipal court within ten days (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of the date the notice was given to such person by the registered tow truck operator pursuant to RCW 46.55.120(2)(a). Such hearing shall be provided as follows:

1.

If all of the requirements to redeem the vehicle, including expiration of any period of impoundment under Section 10.16.040, have been satisfied, then the impounded vehicle shall be released immediately and a hearing as provided for in Section 10.16.060 shall be held within ninety days of the written request for hearing.

2.

If not all of the requirements to redeem the vehicle, including expiration of any period of impoundment under Section 10.16.040, have been satisfied, then the impounded vehicle shall not be released until after the hearing provided pursuant to Section 10.16.060, which shall be held within ten days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), but no later than the next available court date, from the written request to the court for hearing.

3.

Any person seeking a hearing who has failed to request such hearing within the time specified in subsection D of this section may petition the Black Diamond municipal court for an extension of time to file a request for hearing. Such extension shall only be granted upon the demonstration of good cause as to the reason(s) the request for hearing was not timely filed. For the purposes of this section, good cause shall be defined as circumstances beyond the control of the person seeking the hearing that prevented such person from filing a timely request for hearing. In the event such extension is granted, the person receiving such extension shall be granted a hearing in accordance with this chapter.

4.

If a person fails to file a timely request for hearing and no extension to file such a request has been granted, the right to a hearing is waived, the impoundment and the associated costs of impoundment are deemed to be proper, and the city shall not be liable for removal, towing, and storage charges arising from the impoundment.

(Ord. 663 § 2, 1999)

(Ord. No. 1014, § 1, 11-7-2013)

10.16.060   Post-impoundment hearing procedure.

Hearings requested pursuant to Section 10.16.050 shall be held in the Black Diamond municipal court, which court shall determine whether the impoundment was proper and whether the associated removal, towing, and/or storage fees were proper.

A.

At the hearing, an abstract of the driver's driving record is admissible without further evidentiary foundation and is prima facie evidence of the status of the driver's license, permit, or privilege to drive and that the driver was convicted of each offense shown on the abstract. In addition, a certified vehicle registration of the impounded vehicle is admissible without further evidentiary foundation and is prima facie evidence of the identity of the registered owner of the vehicle.

B.

If the impoundment is found to be proper, the court shall enter an order so stating. In the event that the costs of impoundment, removal, towing, and storage have not been paid or any other applicable requirements of Section 10.16.050A and B have not been satisfied or any period of impoundment under Section 10.16.040 has not expired, the court's order shall also provide that the impounded vehicle shall be released only after payment to the city of any fines imposed on any underlying traffic or parking infraction and satisfaction of any other applicable requirements of Section 10.16.050A and B.

C.

If the impoundment is found to be improper, the court shall enter an order so stating and order the immediate release of the vehicle. If the costs of impoundment have already been paid, the court shall enter judgment against the city and in favor of the person who has paid the costs of impoundment in the amount of the costs of the impoundment.

D.

In the event that the court finds that the impound was proper, but that the removal, towing, storage fees charged for the impoundment were improper, the court shall determine the correct fees to be charged. If the costs of impoundment have been paid, the court shall enter a judgment against the city and in favor of the person who has paid the costs of impoundment for the amount of the overpayment.

E.

No determination of facts made at a hearing under this section shall have any collateral estoppel effect on a subsequent criminal prosecution and such determination shall not preclude litigation of those same facts in a subsequent criminal prosecution.

F.

As to any impoundment arising from an alleged violation of RCW 46.20.342 or 46.20.420, if it is determined to be improper, then the law enforcement officer directing the impoundment and the government employing the officer are not liable for damages if the officer relied in good faith and without gross negligence on the records of the department in ascertaining that the operator of the vehicle had a suspended or revoked driver's license.

(Ord. 663 § 3, 1999)