A vehicle may be immobilized and impounded in Paris as soon as its driver drives in violation of the Highway Code (drunk driving, lack of a driver’s license), or if its parking is considered dangerous or irregular. The procedures for recovering it are rigorously controlled.
Cases of impoundment of a vehicle in Paris
As stipulated in articles L325-1 to L325-1-2 of the Highway Code, the police have the right to stop a vehicle and impound it when its traffic or parking contravenes the regulations. Thus, any vehicle can be impounded in Paris when its parking is considered disruptive, or when its traffic does not meet the required safety standards.
In addition, several representatives of the authorities are authorized to impound a vehicle after verifying that it has not been stolen, namely the mayor, the judicial police officer, the deputy judicial police officer, the chief of the municipal police, the public prosecutor, the prefect representing the State in the department.
If your vehicle has been removed by the Paris impound lot, go to vehicule-en-pourière.fr for more details.
Is it possible to pick up the vehicle before it is picked up?
Although the impound lot has been ordered to block the vehicle, its owner, if present during the removal, may stop its towing provided that the vehicle still has its 4 wheels in contact with the ground, as stipulated in articles R. 325-12-III, R. 325-17 and R. 325-38 of the Highway Code. In this case, the owner only has to pay the fine on the spot and undertake to immediately release the public road. It must also pay the impoundment costs known as the preliminary transaction costs. Material capital costs will be added to the total amount to be paid when the vehicle has been fitted with a hoof.
On the other hand, if the two wheels of the vehicle have already left the ground, the owner can still recover his vehicle, but by paying the collection costs (or undertaking in writing to pay them), and then freeing the public road.
Attention! If the owner tries to obstruct the impoundment of his vehicle, he risks being fined €3,750 and imprisoned for 3 months. The owner can therefore only contest the removal of his vehicle when the procedure is considered abusive.
How to recover a vehicle already at the Paris impound lot?
When the owner no longer finds his vehicle where he has parked it, his first reflex is to immediately contact the police station or the gendarmerie to find out if his vehicle has been removed by the Paris impound lot. If the vehicle is indeed present in one of the Parisian pounds, its impoundment must normally be notified, within 5 working days, by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. This letter is accompanied by a copy of the description sheet that was prepared before the impound lot was ordered to take the vehicle on board.
It is therefore recommended that recovery procedures be initiated as soon as possible. If he claims his vehicle within 3 days of impoundment, the vehicle may be returned to him without expertise. On the other hand, if the vehicle is only claimed after this 3-day period, it will be appraised at the owner’s expense.
In addition, when the vehicle is declared in good condition, the owner may take it back within 30 days of receipt of the impoundment letter. On the other hand, if the vehicle is out of service, the owner must undertake to repair it before it is put into service. The costs generated by this repair are of course the responsibility of the owner. An exit permit will thus be issued.
If the 30 days pass without the owner still not having taken back his vehicle, it will systematically be considered abandoned. In the case of a vehicle that is not considered in roadworthy condition, this period is reduced to 10 days. After this period, the vehicle may be destroyed.
The essential elements for the recovery of a vehicle
To recover an impounded vehicle, the owner must provide proof of an insurance certificate, a driving licence and possibly a registration certificate if it has also been seized. If repairs have been imposed on him so that his vehicle is in a condition to operate under normal safety conditions, the owner is required to prove that they have indeed been considered. The claim must have been made within 3 days of the vehicle being removed. After this period, the owner must still pay the impoundment fees.