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There are 2 types. A private impound is a towing from private property. A tow company can tow your car immediately if one of these is true: You illegally left it on private property where someone lives.
You illegally left it on private non-residential property with a posted warning sign. You illegally left it on private non-residential property with no posted notice. It has been more than 24 hours. A public impound is a towing from public property. Examples: You left your car on the street or the side of it in a dangerous way.
You illegally parked on the street or in a parking space for people with disabilities without a proper license plate, card, or decal. You left your car on a highway. It has been tagged for 24 hours. Your registration is expired. You parked on a public street. The police can take your car for other reasons. Talk to a lawyer. Can they tow my car from public property without first tagging it and giving me a chance to move it?
It depends on what law they say you have violated. If you left your car within a highway right-of-way, law enforcement must tag your car with a sticker giving you 24 hours to remove it. RCW Other laws let them tow right away, especially if your car is an obstruction or a danger.
Can they tow my car if they pull me over and arrest me? Without a license. With a suspended or revoked license. The police may have to consider "reasonable alternatives" to impounding your car. For example, they could leave it safely with a passenger. State of Washington v. Villela , No. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the towing and any defenses you may have to the impound.
When they tow you for driving with a suspended or revoked license, the agency ordering the impoundment can order your car held for up to 30 days. If you already have one or more convictions for this, they can hold it longer. You must pay all removal, towing, and storage fees to get your car back. You can still appeal the impoundment.
What happens after they tow my car? Within 24 hours of the impoundment: The tow company must mail notice of the towing to The legal or registered owner The owners of any campers, snowmobiles, jet skis, or other cars attached to or on the towed vehicle This notice says: The tow company's name and address, and a 24 hour phone number to contact them.
Who authorized the tow. How to get the car back and challenge the towing in court. Ask the towing company for the hearing request form. If the DoL does not have your current address, you may not get this notice. This is not a defense to owing towing expenses. When you move, always let the DoL know your address!
Can I get my car back? The tow yard must keep normal weekday business hours for you. Holidays do not count. You must bring valid ID to get the car back. You should also bring any other proof that you are the owner.
Can I write a check to get my car back? If your check bounces, you may owe over twice as much. What if the towing was improper or if I think they charged too much for towing and storage? District Court hears private impound cases and public impounds authorized by the state's agents, such as the State Patrol.
Municipal Court hears public impounds carried out by the local police. Act fast to ask for a hearing. If you do not ask for a hearing in writing within ten days of getting the towing notice, you have waived given up the right to a hearing. Use the form the towing company gave you. You cannot usually challenge a fee amount that is the same as the posted rates. What if my vehicle is my home? Tell the judge what your monthly income and living expenses are and that you have no money to pay the costs.
Say the amount is excessive under the Constitution. If it was a public impound, the judicial officer at your impound hearing must consider your ability to pay the fees storage, impound fee, fine, the whole thing and must lower the costs according to your ability to pay.
If you live in your vehicle as your primary home, it cannot be auctioned off. But you might have to go to court to stop a sale. Tell the judge at your impound hearing if you have gotten a notice from the towing company that your vehicle will be sold. Tell the judge your vehicle is your homestead and what collection actions have been undertaken. If you still don't get a hearing after that, and the vehicle you live in is about to be sold, get legal help right away.
See contact info below. You may also want to write to the towing company that your vehicle is your homestead and it cannot be auctioned off for the impound costs. Will I have to pay to go to court? If you cannot afford to pay it, you can ask the court to waive excuse you from paying it. I missed the day deadline to ask for a hearing. Can I file late? You might be able to argue that you have good cause for asking late. You can try adding a written statement to your hearing request explaining why you are filing late.
How do I get ready for my court date? At the hearing, you and any witnesses can give evidence that the towing was improper. Read Getting Ready for a Hearing or Trial. Before your hearing date, you may be able to ask for "discovery" about the impound. This means you can ask the police department for copies of their records and photos relating to the impound. The court clerk might have a discovery form. Procedures vary. Ask the clerk. What happens if I win?
What happens if I lose? They must return all fees you already paid. Whoever authorized the impoundment will owe you for filing fees and damages from loss of use of the car. If law enforcement authorized the impoundment, talk to a lawyer. If the court decides the towing was proper, you must pay towing, storage, and court costs. Some courts might enter a monthly payment plan if you cannot pay the costs off all at once. I lost in court. What if I do not pay what the judge said I owe?
The reverse is true if you win and the judge ordered the tow company to pay you back for the fees. If you think the court's decision was wrong, you might be able to appeal it again. What if I do not redeem my car or belongings or I do not fight the towing in court? After it has your vehicle for hours, the tow company must give DoL an abandoned vehicle report. Within 72 hours of getting that report, DoL must give the tow company your contact info.
Within 24 hours of getting your contact info, not counting weekends or holidays, the towing company must mail you a notice of custody and sale. It must get proof of mailing from the post office. If 15 days or more have passed since mailing the notice of custody and sale, and you have not gotten your car back or challenged the towing, the towing company will sell the car and registered or titled property at public auction.
Any time before the auction, you can buy back the property by paying towing and storage fees. You can try to buy your things back at the auction. You may owe more if law enforcement authorized the impoundment.
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About Us How We Help Businesses Cost Certainty We offer our clients a range of pricing options to suit their needs and provide transparency around legal costs. Our LVConnect Pro membership offers unlimited legal services for a low weekly fee. Responsive Timeframes We understand that timing is critical, particularly for businesses that have a large number of legal projects.
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LegalVision is committed to delivering our services within short timeframes that fit the commercial needs of our clients. Specialist Lawyers LegalVision caters to a full range of commercial law needs. Our lawyers are specialists, who bring extensive experience from working at leading law firms in Australia, New Zealand and across the world. Custom Technology We built our tech stack from the ground up.
Our team of developers build technology to help increase the efficiency of our lawyers and improve the client experience for our members.
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