car is towed

What are my rights if my car is towed?

The rage after an unexpected towing is unlike other forms of anger in that it continues to build, as each realization hits you.  You’ve not got a vehicle.  There are going to be charges.  Where’s your wallet?  Of course, it’s in the glove compartment.  There’s nothing worse.  But there are ways to avoid a spiraling disaster that leaves you jobless, destitute and on the streets.  You need to know your rights, of course, but you also need to know theirs.  Why has your vehicle been towed?  Sometimes, a car is towed mistakenly, and with the correct evidence, you can successfully fight the fines and walk away with your car and your wallet intact.  But a lot of the time, motorists have forgotten a roadside rule, missed or ignored a sign, or slipped up some other way and ended up falling foul of the law.

Reasons for getting towed

Probably the most common reason for vehicles being towed away without an owner’s permission, illegal or unsafe parking is one of the banes of modern society.  Can’t find a space real close to your destination?  You have to deal with it.  You have to hold back from the temptation to park somewhere which will cause obstruction or danger.  If you can do this, you can avoid being towed for illegal or unsafe parking.  It’s fairly simple. 

Reason number two would be incorrect registration details.  As technology improves exponentially, traffic police are able to identify motorists without insurance, tax or the correct certification for their vehicles, using cameras which recognize your registration plate and compare it to a live database. 

Another reason for having your vehicle towed is that it is deemed unfit or unsafe for use by a police officer.  If you park on private property without permission, the owners have the right to have your car removed, and if you use a false or non-licenced registration plate then you also risk being towed.  Registration plates should always be to the required standards.  If you’re sure you haven’t broken any of these rules, but you still don’t see your car where you left it, then there’s a chance you are the victim of theft.  Either way, your next step is to call the police.

Next steps

You will need to know for certain whether or not your car has been towed, or if it has been stolen.  Call the police precinct for the area in which your car was parked, and you will be able to find out where your vehicle is.  The longer your car is impounded, the higher your fee will be to release it.  The sooner you contact the police, the sooner you can start making steps to locating the vehicle.  The police will tell you its location, and you can usually get a telephone number or an email address from them too.  That’s your next step. 

Remember that no matter what happens, the chances are that you are going to have to pay.  If you pay sooner, you will pay less.  You’ll need to bring proof of all your documentation (for yourself, and the vehicle) to the impound, and be prepared to part with a substantial amount of cash – especially if it’s a weekend or out of hours.  Ensure that your vehicle is in the condition that you left it in before you sign any documentation.