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Vehicle Impound

According to Ordinance No. 01-393 and Ordinance No. 03-456 (amending Ordinance No. 01-393) of the City of Federal Way, whenever a driver of a vehicle is arrested for violation of DWLS 1, DWLS 2 OR DWLS 3, NVOL, or for violation of RCW 46.20.345, the vehicle is subject to impoundment at the discretion of an officer of the Federal Way Police Department, by an authorized agent of the department or by a registered tow truck operator acting at the request of an officer or authorized agent of the department.

There may be a mandatory period of impoundment as determined by Federal Way Municipal Court. The length of such period depends on the driver’s driving record (number of prior convictions that the driver may have had in the last five years) and the current charge.

  • Number of convictions for DWLS 3 / NVOL in the past five years:
    • 0 - No mandatory hold
    • 2 or more - 30 days mandatory hold
  • Number of convictions for DWLS 1 / DWLS 2 in the past five years:
    • 0 - 30 days mandatory hold
    • 1 - 60 days mandatory hold
    • 2 or more - 90 days mandatory hold

Hardship Hearings
When a vehicle has a mandatory hold due to prior convictions or current charges, the vehicle cannot be released to the interested party before the mandatory hold is up, and the party must request a hardship hearing in order to get the release. The following persons can petition the court to release the vehicle:

  • The legal or registered owner of the vehicle that has been impounded 
  • The spouse of the driver or the registered owner based on economic or personal hardship 
  • Those who feel that impound is improper because of court or DOL action and do not have valid proof

The registered owner can request another person redeem the car, but both must appear at the hardship hearing. The vehicle may also be released upon petition of the driver where the driver has obtained a valid driver’s license and the driver was the registered owner or has the permission of the registered owner to redeem the vehicle.