How To Get Your Car Back After NYC DWI Arrest

If you are arrested in NY for Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”), Driving While Ability Is Impaired (“DWAI”), or any other NY drunk driving charge it is possible that you car will be taken by the New York Police Department  for forfeiture, arrest evidence or for safekeeping. If you want to retrieve your car after your NYC DWI arrest, you will need to know the various city agencies involved and whether your car is being held for arrest evidence, forfeiture or safekeeping.

If you car is taken for arrest evidence, then it is solely being kept as evidence of the crime. Shortly after your arrest, you will receive in the mail a (2) two page letter from the New York City Police Department, Property Clerk Division One Police Plaza, Room 208 New York, NY 10038. The letter will state that in order to retrieve your car you need the following:

  • Certificate of Title or Salvage Certificate MV907A for Junk/Salvage vehicle. The title must have the owners information imprinted by the state of issuance. Signed over titles will not be accepted. You will need an original.
  • Photo identification. This can include Drivers License, Passport, Government Issued Identification.
  • Proof of Insurance (Only if the vehicle is to be driven)
  • Notarized letter from titled owner authorizing the representative to retrieve if the car if the owner is not present to claim the vehicle/motorcycle.
  • If a lien holder is claiming the vehicle  (1) a notarized letter from the lien-holder describing the details of the default, and (2) a notarized copy of a conditional sales contract or agreement
  • If an insurance company is claiming the vehicle then a certificate of title or salvage certificate MV907 A is required. If this is not available, then a receipt for release of the vehicle (167-E) is required.
  • Representative of a deceased owner claiming the vehicle/motorcycle will need an original surrogate court letter or administration, and the original death certificate
  • Dealers, lien holders, and insurance companies are recommended to call prior to coming to the facility to ensure that all the necessary documents are acceptable to claim a vehicle/motorcycle

What Happens If the Vehicle is Inoperable or Will Not Start?

A motorist must provide his or her own tow truck if the vehicle does not start or is inoperable. If you are retrieving a motorcycle you may either tow it or retrieve it with a van or truck in which the motorcycle can be stored. Motorcycles can not be driven out of the storage facility due to safety concerns.

What Happens if the Vehicle is Being Held as Forfeiture Evidence?

If the vehicle is being held as forfeiture evidence, you will want to notify the auto pound in which your car is being held and the New York Police Department Civil Enforcement Unit 2 Lafayette Street, 5th Floor New York, NY . (917) 454-1111.

Where are the NYPD Auto Pounds?

Erie Basin Auto Pound

700 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231

(718) 553-9555

(718) 553-9556

By Train:

Take the F train to the 4th Avenue Station. Transfer to the B77 bus (Westbound) to Columbia Street & Lorraine Street. Walk four blocks (south) on Columbia Street to its end – the Pound is on the pier at the waterfront. OR

Take the R train to the Prospect Avenue Station. Transfer to the B77 bus (Westbound) to Columbia Street & Lorraine Street. Walk four blocks (south) on Columbia Street to its end – the Pound is on the pier at the waterfront.

By Car:

From North Brooklyn, Queens & Long Island:
Take the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (West) to the Atlantic Avenue Exit. At the exit ramp, make a left onto Columbia Street (Southbound). Follow Columbia Street to its end, turn right and bear left around the back of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance and then turn right onto Columbia Street. The Pound is on the pier at the waterfront.

From South Brooklyn & Staten Island:
Take the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (Gowanus Expressway) (East) toward the Battery Tunnel. Get off at the Hamilton Avenue exit. Proceed straight past the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Bear left and go around the back of the tunnel entrance. Then turn right onto Columbia Street. Follow Columbia Street to its end – the Pound is on the pier at the waterfront.

Springfield Gardens Auto Pound

174-20 North Boundary Road
Springfield Gardens, NY 11430

(718) 553-9555

What Happens if the Vehicle is Bring Held as Arrest Evidence?

If the vehicle is being held as arrest evidence then you will need your NY criminal defense lawyer to reach out to the Assigned District Attorney and request a District Attorney Release. A District Attorney Release is a letter that states that the vehicle is no longer needed as arrest evidence and the NYPD can release the vehicle.  The Assistant District Attorney will draft a letter and submit to the Property Release Unit of the District Attorneys Office in the County in which your case is being prosecuted. Your criminal lawyer will be able to retrieve the letter on your behalf.

District Attorney Property Release Units:

Manhattan District Attorney Property Release

1 Hogan Place, Room 732

New York, NY 10013

(212) 335-9863

Bronx District Attorney Property Release

215 East 161st Street

Bronx, NY 10451

(718) 838-6615

Brooklyn District Attorney Property Release

120 Schermerhorn Street, Room 205B

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Queens District Attorneys Property Release

125-01 Queens Boulevard

Queens, NY 11415

Staten Island District Attorneys Property Release

67 Targee Street

Staten Island, NY 10304

District Attorneys Release

New York County District Attorney Release by Spodek Law Group P.C.

NYPD Legal Bureau
Civil Enforcement Unit
2 Lafayette Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: (917) 454-1100
Fax: (817) 454-1187

The attorneys at the Civil Enforcement Unit have the legal authority to forfeit any car that was used in a DWI or DWAI. Generally, only  if facts of a particular case are so extreme or if you are a repeat offender will the NYPD pursue litigation. Generally, the NYPD attorney will be amenable to a forfeiture settlement agreement which involves evaluation of the offender for alcohol abuse by an independent state-certified counselor and the completion of any recommended treatment prior to the release of the vehicle.


Once we are retained on a Drunk Driving case in which the vehicle was taken for forfeiture we sent a letter of representation to the NYPD legal bureau letting them know that we represent you in relation to the forfeiture of your car. In the event the NYPD legal bureau screens your case and decides to propose a settlement, your attorney will receive a settlement package by fax or mail.

The proposed settlement will include the following:

  1. An alcohol/substance abuse assessment of your client must be performed by a state certified office of alcoholism and substance abuse services (OASIS) counselor. In the event that the OASIS counselor recommends any particular course of treatment, your client will be required to participate successfully in the treatment program. Proof of completion must be sent directly to the NYPD legal bureau. Generally, all terms of the settlement offer must be completed within 6 (six) month’s. However, you can request an extension for cause and it will likely be granted.
  2. You accept and sign the Settlement Agreement, you fill out the Consent to Disclose Form and the Hold Harmless Agreement. All three (3) of these documents must be signed, notarized and the originals returned to the NYPD legal bureau. Once signed and notarized, it is worth it to fax over copies this way you can get the process moving.
  3. There will be an administrative fee of holding the vehicle. The minimum fee is $100.00 and the maximum fee is $500.00. It is charged at $5.00.00 per day. This fee should only be submitted after the other terms of the settlement have been completed. The fee is payable by attorneys escrow check, bank money order, or certified bank funds. All checks should be made payable to the Property Clerk of the NYPD legal bureau. The NYPD generally will refuse any checks that are dated more then 30 (thirty) days