City Ordinance Section 20-122
What happens after your motor vehicle is impounded by an officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department pursuant to Section 20-122 of the St. Petersburg City Code?
Section 20-122 prohibits a person from using a motor vehicle to facilitate the commission of any of the following offenses:
- driving under the influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances in violation of F.S. 316.193;
- drug charges for possession of marijuana;
- prostitution or sex-related offenses.
After an arrest for one of these offenses, the vehicle will not be released until you pay a civil administrative penalty of $500.00, plus towing and storage charges.
But you can pay an extra $50 to demand a formal hearing. At the formal hearing, you can fight for the return of the $500 administrative penalty.
Attorney for Vehicle Seizures by the St. Petersburg Police Department
Don’t let them take your vehicle without a fight. If your vehicle was impounded by the City of St. Petersburg Police Department pursuant to City Ordinance Section 20-122, then contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm to demand the return of the money you paid.
We help clients fight charges for DUI, possession of marijuana, prostitution, or any sex-related offense by officers with the St. Petersburg Police Department. When you hire us to fight your criminal charges, we can also fight the city ordinance violation.
In these cases, we will appear for you at the final hearing to contest any allegation that you violated St. Petersburg Ordinance Section 20-122. At the final hearing, the attorney for the City of St. Petersburg has the heavy burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that you violated the city ordinance Section 20-122.
Your attorney can show all of the reasons why the violation didn’t occur or can’t be proven at trial. If you are charged with committing a crime using the vehicle, then your attorney can gather valuable evidence that can be used to defend your case in the criminal court at this final hearing.
To discuss your case, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Our office is located at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820.
What Happens at the Final Hearing?
After you demand the final hearing, you will receive a notice of hearing from an attorney with the City of St. Petersburg. The notice provides:
YOU WILL PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a hearing on Petitioner’s Request for an Impound Appeal Hearing pursuant to St. Petersburg City Ordinance Section 20-122 has been scheduled in this cause for [date at time], before a hearing master at the St. Petersburg City Hall, Community Resource Room, 175 5th Street North, St. Petersburg, Fl 33701.
At the final hearing, the hearing officer will determine whether the City of St. Petersburg can establish by clear and convincing evidence that City Ordinance Section 20-122 was violated.
If the hearing master determines the City of St. Petersburg has not established its case by clear and convincing evidence, or that an exception as provided in the Ordinance exists, the vehicle shall be released and any cash bond posted shall be returned to the vehicle owner.
Requesting the Formal Hearing for the City Ordinance Violation
To contest the alleged violation, you must request a final hearing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the Notice of Vehicle Impoundment.
You will also be served with form SPPD 04-048 (rev 10/05/2017) entitled “instructions for retrieving impounded vehicles and requesting a hearing.”
As explained in the instructions, to be considered timely, the request for the final hearing must actually be received by the St. Petersburg Police Department during that fifteen (15) day deadline. If your request is not received within that fifteen (15) day period, then the request will be denied as untimely.
Additionally, you must pay a hearing fee in the amount of $50.00 at the time the final hearing is requested. The $50.00 hearing fee must be paid in cash or with a certified check or money order payable to the “City of St. Petersburg.”
After the request is received, the attorney with the St. Petersburg Police Department must schedule the hearing to be held within fifteen (15) days of a timely request. You will be notified of the time, date, and location of the hearing by hand delivery or certified mail.
The request for the final hearing must be made via mail or hand delivery to the address in the notice.St. Petersburg Police Department
1300 First Avenue North
Attn: Legal Department
St. Petersburg, Florida 33705
What Happens at a Preliminary Hearing?
At the preliminary hearing, the hearing officer will only determine whether probable cause existed for the impoundment of the vehicle.
If the hearing master determines there was probable cause for the vehicle impoundment, then the hearing master will order the continued impoundment of the vehicle pending the payment of the $500.00, along with towing and storage charges.
If no probable cause is found, the vehicle shall be released to the owner without the imposition of fees. If such fees have been paid, they shall be promptly refunded to the owner.
What Happens if You Don’t Demand a Preliminary or Final Hearing
If you don’t demand either a preliminary hearing or a final hearing, then you can still reclaim your vehicle, but you must still pay an administrative fee of $500.00 to the St. Petersburg Police Department Information Desk.
After you make the $500 payment, you will receive written documentation that is required for the release of the vehicle at the impound lot. You must then pay the towing and storage charges to the towing company.
If you pay the administrative fee and the towing and storage charges without requesting either the preliminary hearing or the final hearing, then you waive any hearing on the matter.
This article was last updated on Friday, June 17, 2022.