STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
ISSUED __________ EFFECTIVE_____________
S.O.P. 13-2 VEHICLE INVENTORY / IMPOUND
When the driver/owner of a vehicle is arrested, and if the vehicle
is subject to a lawful impound, the arresting officer will make an
inventory of the vehicle for valuables.
ATTENTION CEO: The location of the Agency's impound lot and the
officer responsible for controlling access to the lot and property
maintained therein, should be included in this Standard Operating
- According to state law, law enforcement officers may
impound a motor vehicle under the following circumstances:
- An officer may impound and remove a vehicle from a
public highway when the motor vehicle poses a threat to the
public health or safety;
- An officer may impound a motor vehicle that has been left
unattended on a public street, road or highway, or other public
property for at least five days if it appears to the officer
that the individual who left the vehicle unattended does not
intend to return and remove the motor vehicle;
- All motor vehicles required to be registered in Georgia
must display a current license plate and revalidation sticker.
Any motor vehicle that fails to comply with this requirement
may be impounded and stored at the owner's expense;
- If the driver of a motor vehicle has been arrested, the
vehicle may be impounded when:
- There is no one present who is authorized and
capable of removing the vehicle;
- The driver has made no specific request about the
disposition of the vehicle;
- The driver has made no request to use a specific towing
- The driver of a vehicle has made a specific request for
the disposition of the vehicle or has requested a specific
towing service and the law enforcement officer has made a
reasonable, but unsuccessful effort to comply with this
- The driver of a vehicle has been removed from the scene
and is either physically or mentally unable to make a
request for the disposition of his/her vehicle. An officer
may impound a vehicle for the protection of the vehicle and
its contents under the provisions above.
- If the driver of a vehicle is arrested on private property,
and the driver either owns, has control of, or permission from the
owner of the property to be there, the vehicle should not be
impounded except upon the request of the driver.
- When inventorying a vehicle before impoundment, the officer
and Agency are protecting three distinct needs. These needs
- Protection of the owner's property while it
remains in Agency custody;
- The protection of the Agency from potential danger; and
- The protection of the Agency against false claims of stolen
or lost property.
- If the officer is questioned concerning reasons for
inventorying a vehicle which is being lawfully im-pounded, the
officer should state that the vehicle is being inven-toried for
the above three reasons. The jus-tifica-tion for an inventory of
an impounded vehicle is based on the validity of the impound-ment,
not the arrest of the driver. If the impound-ment was improper,
any items seized during an inventory will not be admis-sible as
evidence in court.
- On the inventory form, the officer shall list
all personal property and vehicle accessories such as radios, tape
/ CD players and telephones. Further, the inventory form
shall contain a description of the vehicle's condition.
- Upon completion, the inventory form will be signed the
- The original copy of the vehicle inventory form and
impound slip will be turned in with the incident
report. The duplicate copy will be given to the wrecker
ATTENTION CEO: Agencies may want to require the wrecker
driver to sign the impound slip, acknowledging the condition of
the vehicle at the time of impound.
- In all cases where an impound is made, there will be an
incident report completed except when a traffic accident
report is made.
RELEASE OF VEHICLE
Once a vehicle is impounded, it will be necessary for the owner or
authori-zed operator to secure a release slip at the Agency.
No releases will be made at the wrecker yard without first processing
the release slip through the Agency.