Of all the offenses typified in the National Traffic Code, a considerable number empowers the traffic officers to immobilize their vehicle. You have to be astute, to know which ones involve this measure, and which ones don't. In this way we avoid abuse of power by traffic officers, and at the same time protect our heritage.

The National Traffic Code defines the immobilization of a vehicle in this way:

ARTICLE 125. IMMOBILIZATION. Immobilization, in the cases referred to in this code, consists of temporarily suspending the movement of the vehicle on public or private roads open to the public. For this purpose, the vehicle will be driven to authorized parking lots determined by the competent authority, until the cause that gave rise to it is remedied or ceased, unless it is remedied at the site where the violation was detected.

There are cases in which it is possible to stop the action of the crane if the driver of the vehicle arrives before it is transferred. This happens when the car is parked in prohibited areas. It is the duty of the tow truck officers to stop the immobilization if the driver appears. Prohibited places to park are determined by the National Traffic Code in its Art 76, and are the following: 

Article 76. Forbidden places to park.

It is forbidden to park vehicles in the following places:

  • On platforms, green areas or on public space intended for pedestrians, recreation or conservation.
  • On roads, arteries, highways, security zones, or within an intersection.
  • On main roads and collector roads in which the prohibition or restriction is expressly indicated in relation to schedules or types of vehicles.
  • In bridges, viaducts, tunnels, underpasses, elevated structures or in any of the accesses to these.
  • En zonas expresamente destinadas para estacionamiento o parada de cierto tipo de vehículos, incluyendo las paradas de vehículos de servicio público, o para limitados físicos.
  • In lanes dedicated to mass transportation without authorization.
  • At a distance greater than thirty (30) centimeters from the sidewalk.
  • In double file of parked vehicles, or in front of fire hydrants and garage entrances.
  • In curves.
  • Where it interferes with the exit of parked vehicles.
  • Where transit authorities prohibit it.
  • In the security and protection zone of the railway, on the main road, secondary roads, sidings, stations and railway annexes.

If at the time of the offense it is possible to correct the fault that led to the immobilization, it can be avoided. For example, if the conduct is not to carry the driving pass, the driver has a term of 30 or 45 minutes for someone else to bring it to him. If the vehicle needs one or two plates, the same thing happens. 

It is the agent's duty to inform the driver of the address of the yard to which the vehicle will be sent. If it is a public service car, call it taxi or bus, it is the driver's obligation to return the price paid for the ticket. Speaking of cranes, they must belong to a company legally contracted by the transit agency. 

Una vez retirado el vehículo de los patios, y encontramos que hace falta algo, el administrador o dueño del patio será multado con 20 salarios mínimo más el pago del daño que haya sufrido el vehículo. Por esta razón en el inventario se debe discriminar la marca y referencia de los rines, llantas, equipo de sonido y demás. Así mismo plasmar el kilometraje del vehículo al momento de la detención. Nunca entregue las llaves. Por otro lado, el administrador o dueño del parqueadero deberá pagar multa de 50 salarios mínimos si deja salir el carro si aún no están satisfechos los requisitos para hacerlo. La salida de los patios de los automóviles no estará condicionada al pago de la multa. En el caso de las motocicletas sí.

Having made these clarifications, the infractions that according to the National Traffic Code entail immobilization of the car:

  • B.1. Driving a vehicle without carrying a driver's license.
  • B.2. Driving a vehicle with an expired driver's license.
  • B.3. Without plates, or without the valid permit issued by the transit authority.
  • B.4. With adulterated plates.
  • B.5. With a single license plate, or without the current permit issued by the transit authority.
  • B.6. With fake plates.
  • B.7. Failure to inform the competent traffic authority of the change of engine or color of a vehicle.
  • C.1. Present an adulterated or foreign driver's license.
  • C.14 Transit through restricted sites or at times prohibited by the competent authority. 
  • C.16 Driving a school vehicle without the respective permit or regulatory badges.
  • C.35 Failure to carry out the technical-mechanical review within the established legal term or when the vehicle is not in adequate technical-mechanical or polluting emission conditions, even when it carries the corresponding certificates.
  • C.27 Driving a vehicle whose cargo or passengers obstruct the driver's visibility to the front, rear or sides, or impede control over the steering, braking or safety system. 
  • C.39 Parking the vehicle disregarding the following rule: On highways and rural areas, vehicles may only park outside the road by placing reflective danger signs during the day, and at night, parking lights and warning lights.
  • D.1. Driving a vehicle without having obtained the corresponding driving license. The vehicle will be immobilized at the scene of the events, until it is removed by a person authorized by the offender with a driving license.
  • D.2. Driving without carrying the insurance required by law. 
  • D.8. Driving a vehicle without lights or without the position, directional or brake light devices, or with any of them damaged, at the times or circumstances required by this code. The vehicle will be immobilized when two (2) or more of these lights do not work.
  • D.12. Driving a vehicle that, without the proper authorization, is used for a different service from the one for which you have a traffic license. The vehicle will be immobilized for the first time, for a term of five days, for the second time twenty days and for the third time forty days.
  • D.14. Vehicles that use unregulated fuels such as propane gas or others that endanger the lives of users or pedestrians for their transportation
  • E.3. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of hallucinogenic substances.
  • E.4. Transport in the same vehicle and at the same time people and dangerous substances such as explosives, toxic, radioactive, unauthorized fuels, etc.