We are very familiar with cars being towed off major government roads by the police for breaking traffic rules or simply for just being parked and limiting the use of the road for more than twenty-four hours.
This is completely normal, as it is stated in the rules and regulations of respective states and their several departments in charge of road and transportation.
How about the police towing your car off private property? Are they authorized to do that? Since it’s not a road or property owned by the state, is it within the authority of the police to tow a vehicle from private property? Can the police tow your car from private property?
The police can tow your car from private property if you have authorized the police to do so by signing off to have the car towed, or if the car was involved in any crime such as a police chase. The police can tow the car even if it is parked on your private property until the crime is solved.
Can Police Tow Your Car from Private Property?
If the owner of the private property authorizes the police by signing off to have the car towed, then yes, the police can tow your car from private property.
Private property here includes residential driveways, right out the front of someone else’s house or driveway, a private home’s parking lot (an unmarked private parking lot), commercial parking lots that specifically have ‘No Parking’ signs, and any other real estate that is privately owned.
Sometimes, a private property owner might have granted general authorization to the police to have illegally parked cars towed off their properties, so they don’t even have to be at home, or present to sign off or call the police to have their car towed from their property.
This means that checking and making sure a private owner isn’t around or has gone out of town just so you can have your car parked illegally in his parking lot doesn’t guarantee your car’s safety from getting towed by the police.
It is essential to note at this point that your car can only be towed from private property, or from anywhere at all if you have parked illegally.
Moreover, the rate at which car owners park their cars irresponsibly causes them to face issues like the police towing their vehicles.
On average, more than a hundred cars get towed every day in the United States, and this begs the question, don’t car owners know where they are meant to park their cars and where to stay away from?
Haven’t they been educated about rules of car engagement, parking, and other road-related or car-related rules and regulations? Why do they still fall victim to getting their cars towed?
What Can Make the Police Tow Your Car from Private Property?
Here are the general things that can make the police tow your car from private property.
1. The Car was Involved in a Crime
If the car was involved in a crime and was later parked at home, the police can tow the car from your private property for the sake of the crime.
However, the police cannot do much without first informing you. The police can impound the car as long as the crime is solved.
2. You Parked in Someone Else’s Parking Lot without Permission
Many car owners simply take the liberty of helping themselves to dinners they weren’t invited to by parking in the parking lot of someone else’s property without seeking the appropriate permission.
Car owners have the bad habit of thinking that every free space they see close to their destination is available to them, even when there’s a bold sign saying otherwise.
Property owners are at full liberty of calling the police to tow your intruding vehicle off their property, the same way you throw an uninvited, unwelcome guest out of your house.
3. You Have Blocked an Entrance
Surely, if just anybody could lift your car and swing it around, they would pick it up and fling it out of sight if you park your car blocking an entrance or an exit, and you wouldn’t even fault them.
If you block the entrance of someone else’s property, they will certainly phone the police and have your car towed.
4. You Have Parked Close to a Fire Hydrant
People often claim not to see the fire hydrant when they were parking, but it doesn’t make a difference. The fire hydrant was there! Come on, you didn’t see something so conspicuous?
It’s the law that you should not park within fifteen feet of a fire hydrant, or park in a fire lane. If you do that, private property or not, it is illegal parking, and your car will get towed by the police.
Disadvantages of Police Towing Your Car from Private Property
Here are the disadvantages of getting your car towed by the police:
- Difficulty Locating Your Car: This is unavoidable. Once you find out that your car has been towed by the police, it’d take a mountain of stress and energy to search for it and successfully find it. It can be anywhere. Either at a private parking lot or the city impounds lot.
- Expensive Fees to Get Your Car Released: It is usually very expensive to get your car back, especially if it has been towed for a long period. This is because car impound lots usually charge hourly, and you might be paying close to one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) for every hour your car spends at the impound lot.
What to Do When Police Tow Your Car from Private Property
As soon as you find out your car has been towed by the police from private property, the first thing you should do, as swiftly as possible, is to locate where your car is.
You should do this by calling the state police that has had your car towed and asking for your car back immediately. Leaving it for a while will see you incurring avoidable costs and the police have no problems holding on to it.
In asking for your car back, ensure that you are a licensed driver and you have proof of liability insurance. This is the only way you can be eligible for getting the car back.
If you, as the owner, do not have any of these documents, you should ask someone who does to accompany you, or you can simply have an endorsed power of attorney signed by the owner of the documents. Now you know it has to be someone you trust.
There are times that, after leaving your car in the impound lot for a long, the lot might refuse to return it to you. This is where you involve the judicial system by getting a court order to get it released.
To avoid getting your car towed by the police from private property, ensure you don’t park your car in someone else’s private parking lot, read the signs carefully, don’t block the entrance to someone else’s property, and don’t park close to a fire hydrant in front of the private property.
If you cannot avoid parking on private property, you should first get the required permission to do so from the owners of the property. That way, you become a guest, and you will have no trouble whatsoever with the police towing your car and whatnot.