Why was it impounded? The reason it was impounded can make all the difference as to when it might be released (if the driver was suspended or had never been licensed, then it might be held for 30 days and be subject to lien sale after that).
Contact the police department and demand a hearing citing CVC 22852(c):
The day we received the notice we called the police department and requested a hearing. It has been four business days and we have yet to hear back about our hearing request. (Its been many more days due to the holidays.)
(c) The poststorage hearing shall be conducted within 48 hours of
the request, excluding weekends and holidays. The public agency may
authorize its own officer or employee to conduct the hearing if the
hearing officer is not the same person who directed the storage of
The problem you might have is that it is the registered and legal owners that have the right to a hearing, you may not. You might want to call back in the morning and explain the situation. Have a death certificate if one is available, or maybe an obituary if the death certificate of the owner is still pending.
The police can tell you. Heck, the tow company can probably tell you as they will have the paperwork (most often a CHP-180 form) that will indicate the storage authority. If the authority for the impound was CVC 22651(p)/CVC 14602.6 then he was suspended or never had been licensed and the vehicle subject to a possible 30 day hold.
The driver has been uncooperative with us so I cannot check to see if he had a valid license (i.e. not suspended or revoked). I also do not have knowledge as to whether my father knew about the driver's license problem.
Call and explain the situation as I outlined above.
So my questions are:
1. How do we get the truck released? We don't even have a death certificate yet because it takes time to have it processed.
That will depend on the rates of the contracts down there. I am not in your neck of the woods, but out here in the rural part of the stae this would cost you about $300 for the tow, and $55 per day for the storage. The more urban areas often have higher rates and fees, not to mention release fees from the agency of being more than $100. You could pay close to $2,500 or so at the end of 30 days.
2. What are the maximum fees a company can charge per day (Hayward)?
Talk to the agency. Speak to someone besides the clerk that answers the phone. Ask to speak to someone of rank - a lieutenant or higher would be my suggestion. A personal visit would be better than a phone call. They SHOULD be understanding. But, if they choose to be obstinate, they can be. I suspect they will not be, but you will have to talk to someone who can make a decision. I am the hearing officer for my agency and in your circumstances, I would likely release the vehicle to you and waive the department fee ... the tow company would still have to be paid, however.
3. Must my family do something or can we forget about the truck? (only my father is the registered owner).