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What Civilians Can Do When Police Tow Their Car

July 05, 2017 |

It’s not uncommon for police to have a vehicle towed. In some cases, a driver is not validly licensed, does not have proof of insurance or is being arrested. When this happens, the police tow the vehicle either for safekeeping or to conduct a thorough search. In other cases, a car may be abandoned or parked illegally, also leading to the vehicle being towed.

While it isn’t uncommon for vehicles to be towed, many police agencies are not familiar with the laws regarding towing. In most cases, the police have contracted a private towing and storage company, which is often easier and less expensive than using their own equipment and storage. However, this means the lots won’t release a car until they have full payment for their time and are also often unfamiliar with the car towing law.

Crimes Involving Vehicles such as a DUI

car towWhen the driver of the vehicle is charged with a DUI, the vehicle could be forfeited to the state by a court order. In other serious crimes where the vehicle was used to commit the crime, such as drug crimes, there is a high likelihood a court order will forfeit the vehicle. However, in most cases, the police don’t have the authority to hold the vehicle if a properly authorized and licensed driver, such as a relative or spouse, comes to the lot and asks for the vehicle to be released.

Ask for Release of the Vehicle As Soon As Possible

Even when police have the right to tow a vehicle, the release of the vehicle should be requested as soon as possible. It’s important to know that the right to tow a vehicle is not the same as the right to keep a vehicle. However, when the owner does not immediately ask for its release, this is legally the same as leaving it voluntarily or abandoning the vehicle. This will lead to storage fees.

When asking for the vehicle to be released, it is required it be released to a licensed driver with proof of liability insurance. In some cases, the owner of the vehicle does not have proof of insurance. If this is the case, the owner must be present when the vehicle is retrieved.

Other Complications During Release

Other complications may arise during the release of the vehicle. For one, in some cases, the vehicle may not have valid plates. If this is the case, valid plates must be brought in order to drive it off the lot. If this is not possible, it must be towed off the lot. If the lot refuses to return the vehicle, you may need a court order. If the vehicle is subject to impoundment due to a police agency telling the lot owner not to return it, they are responsible for the storage fees.

If you are having issues getting your car back, contact us today. At Malamut & Associates, we understand the intricacies of getting a vehicle returned after being pulled over for criminal activity.