A pound is a place where the authorities detain stray animals, or store abandoned vehicles that are causing an obstacle, or vehicles seized in the event of an offence. Impounding rules vary from country to country. In mainland France, the vehicle's owner is required to pay all impounding costs, and the vehicle is held in the pound until the relevant authority has issued its decision. There are many reasons why a vehicle may be impounded in France. A vehicle may be impounded for breaking a speed limit, where the driver is found to be over the drink-driving limit or does not have a valid insurance certificate, where a breach of the peace occurs, or where a minor offence is committed.
The order to impound the vehicle may be made by a police offer or a deputy police officer. The official who issues the order must also complete a document describing the condition of the vehicle prior to impounding, in the presence of an official from the pound. This is designed to avoid any future claims by the vehicle owner concerning its condition. The owner must then pay a fee to recover his/her vehicle, and may be required to make repairs to the vehicle where the expert deems this necessary.