Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–2421.07. Impoundment of vehicles, notice to owners and lienholders.

(a) The Director is authorized to impound any vehicle removed from public space or private property pursuant to any District law or regulation. A vehicle subject to impoundment shall be taken to a District government impoundment facility, or a storage lot owned or operated by a towing company, as shall be determined by the Department.

(b) Except for vehicles disposed of pursuant to § 50-2421.06, the Department shall send an impoundment notice, by first class mail, to the last known address of the owners of record of the vehicle, and any lienholders of record, as that information is indicated in the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles or in the records of the appropriate agency of the jurisdiction where the vehicle is registered. If the vehicle was seized from private property, notice shall also be sent, by first class mail, to the owner of that property, as indicated in the records of the Office of Tax and Revenue.

(c) The impoundment notice required by subsection (b) of this section shall be mailed no later than 5 days after the vehicle is received at an impoundment or storage facility and shall:

(1) Describe the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of each vehicle;

(2) Indicate the reason why the vehicle was impounded;

(3) If impounded for violating § 50-2421.03, indicate the nature of the violation;

(4) Advise the owner and lienholders of the procedures for reclaiming the vehicle and the applicable reclamation period for doing so; and

(5) Warn the owner and lienholders that the vehicle will be sold, or otherwise disposed of, if those procedures are not completed by the expiration of the reclamation period.

(d) If the address of the owner or lienholders cannot be determined, the Department shall publish an impoundment notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the District within 10 days after a vehicle is received at an impoundment or storage facility. If the mailed notice is returned as undeliverable within 14 days after mailing, an impoundment notice shall also be published. The published notice may contain a listing of more than one vehicle and shall:

(1) Describe the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle;

(2) Provide a telephone number or website address that will inform the owner or lienholders of the vehicle reclamation procedures; and

(3) Indicate the date by which the vehicle must be reclaimed.

(e) For the purposes of § 50-2302.05, the mailing of the impoundment notice shall constitute service of the notice of infraction for violations of this subchapter. The notice of infraction shall be considered issued, within the meaning of § 50-2302.05, on the 5th day after the impoundment notice is mailed.

(f) The Director shall determine whether each impounded vehicle has been reported to law enforcement agencies as stolen, and shall record the vehicle identification number for each impounded vehicle in a database format that can be accessed by law enforcement personnel. The database shall be established by fiscal year 2005 at the latest.