Release of Vehicles

All impounded vehicles, stored vehicles, and recovered stolen vehicles require a vehicle release form.

Vehicle information will not be released over the telephone, if you wish to asks questions regarding a stored vehicle you will have to appear in person and establish that you are the registered owner of the vehicle. This will require valid identification with a picture on the card, military identification, passport.

Vehicles impounded will only be released to the registered owner. If you are not the registered owner, you will need to obtain a notarized letter authorizing release of the vehicle to you. The registered owner will need to identify you and the vehicle in the notarized letter. The letter must include your driver’s license number, description of the car (make, model, year) and either the vehicle license plate number or vehicle identification (VIN) number.

The registered owner or authorized person picking up the car must have a valid driver’s license or identification card issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles. If you only have an identification card you must be accompanied by a person with a valid driver’s license.

The Atwater Police Department will not charge a fee to those persons retrieving a vehicle that has been stolen and recovered. There is a $259.00 release fee required for all impounded vehicles and due to the Atwater Police Department. All towing and storage fees are due to the towing company storing your vehicle. All registration fees on impounded vehicles must be current prior to release. Impound/stored vehicles will only be released during normal business hours – Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Property release forms can be obtained free of charge in order to retrieve personal property from the vehicle. If the person requesting the property release form IS NOT the registered owner, he/she can only retrieve property from the vehicle that has his/her name on it.

The owner of an impounded vehicle has the right to a Post Storage Hearing. Please contact the Atwater Police Department, Records Bureau at 209-357-6384 hearings are conducted Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 1 PM.

Recovered Stolen Vehicle release forms can be obtained at any time.

Impounded Vehicle release forms can be obtained during normal business hours (Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding weekends and holidays).

For further assistance or questions regarding the release of impounded vehicles or recovered stolen vehicles, please contact the Atwater Police Department Records Section.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get my impounded vehicle out prior to the 30 day impound period?
There may be extenuating circumstances to the 30 day impound rule. The owner of the vehicle may request a Post Storage Hearing in order to present these facts to the Atwater Police Department hearing officer.

What is a Post Storage Hearing?
A Post Storage Hearing is an interview conducted by the Officer in charge of Impounds at the request of the registered owner of the vehicle. This interview determines whether the vehicle in question can be released prior to the 30 days impound period.

Why do you charge $259 for a vehicle release?
The $259 release fee is an administrative fee applied to the release of an impounded vehicle as authorized by local city ordinance and 22850.5 of the California Vehicle Code.

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