Cars are towed for many different reasons. Below you will find the most common reasons, along with their corresponding vehicle codes.
THE DRIVER IS UNLICENSED or HAS A SUSPENDED LICENSE: Vehicles cannot be driven by any unlicensed driver or those who commit a license violation. Vehicles can be towed even if the driver is not the vehicle owner or if there is a licensed passenger in the car. The police department and officers cannot assume the risk or liability for allowing unlicensed drivers to drive away once stopped or contacted. Officers will not leave the vehicle where stopped, call the vehicle’s owner or wait for a licensed driver to arrive. Vehicles are towed immediately, per 22651 (p) CVC or if suspended or never issued a drivers license, impounded for 30 days per 14602.6 CVC.
DRIVER or OCCUPANT ARRESTED: Vehicles cannot be left on roadways following an arrest of the driver or person in control of the vehicle. The police department or officers cannot assume the risk or liability for leaving a vehicle parked on the roadway or private property following the driver or occupant’s arrest for any alleged crime. Vehicles can be towed immediately, per 22651 (h)(1) CVC or if driving under the influence under 21, per 22651 (h)(2) CVC.
LEFT PARKED BLOCKING ROADWAY, SIDEWALK OR DRIVEWAY: Vehicles cannot block a street, lane of traffic, driveway, sidewalk, any other vehicle or any public right-of-way. Obstructing vehicles can be towed immediately as a safety hazard, per 22651 (a), (b), (d), (r) CVC.
REGISTRATION EXPIRED OVER 6 (SIX) MONTHS: Any vehicle, registered in any state, found or operated on any roadway, public lands, or parking lot with registration expired in excess of six months before it is found or operated on the highway. The vehicle can be released to the owner only after the owner brings proof of current registration, per 22651 (o) CVC.
ILLEGALLY PARKED VEHICLES: If parked illegally or unsafely or with no proof of registration, vehicles can be removed immediately. Vehicles can be towed if parked blocking any marked or signed No Parking Any Time, Construction zone, Fire Lane, Fire Hydrant, Bus Zone, Handicapped parking space, red zone or other no parking areas, per 22651 (n),(l),(j) CVC and 22652 CVC . Vehicles can also be towed or removed for a car alarm sounding over a 20 minute period, per 22651.5 CVC.
DISABLED / DISMANTLED VEHICLES: If not in safe running condition, or able to be driven or moved by their own power (i.e.; missing any wheels, windshield, engine, other parts), they can be towed away by officers immediately, any time without notice, per 22669 (d) CVC.
ABANDONED OR ABATED VEHICLES:Any vehicles seen or reported as parked motionless or left abandoned on any public street may be marked by officers as possibly abandoned. Owners then have 72 hours ( 3 days ) from the time marked to remove the vehicle before it is towed away, per 22551 (k) CVC., 22660 CVC.
EVIDENCE OR USED IN A CRIME: Officers will impound and immediately tow and store any vehicle used in, or containing evidence of a crime under several sections of the vehicle code, including section 22655.5 CVC.
EXCESSIVE PARKING VIOLATIONS: Vehicles that have received 5 (five) or more unpaid parking tickets from any government agency, can be towed at any time. Once the parking citations are paid, the vehicle can be released to the owner. Vehicles can be towed, per 22651 (i) CVC.
PARKED UNAUTHORIZED, UNATTENDED OR BLOCKING PRIVATE PROPERTY: Vehicles cannot park in private property parking lots, driveways, or other spaces unless authorized (like tenants or customers) or without the permission of the property owner. Private property must have specific signs at property entrances and vehicles must be parked in violation, according to the vehicle code. Police officers may also remove vehicles from private property in some circumstances. Vehicle towed or removed must be reported to police. Property owners can call private tow companies and tow vehicles immediately, per 22658 (a) CVC.