Three California Towing Laws that You Should Know

January 27, 2012

Towing laws are good to pay attention to, because they can help to make the difference in many cases between having your car towed and it remaining free. Because California towing laws are unique compared with many other states, it is a good idea to review these laws in particular if you plan to drive in the state. This can help to save a good amount of money, not to mention your time and effort as well. Read on for a brief overview of tow truck laws for the state of California.

Number 1 -- Private Property Laws

In the state of California, it is legal for a private property owner to have a vehicle towed on his or her property without asking for permission from the state or police. This means that your vehicle parked on someone else's property can be towed at any point in time and without any warning. This is not the case, however, with vehicles that are not properly functioning. If a car is resting on someone else's private property and has no engine, motor, wheels or other crucial parts that are required to operate it, the owner must wait for 24 hours before informing the police of his or her intent to tow the car away.

Number 2 -- Posting Laws

In public areas, signs must be posted in order for towing companies to legally tow your car away. These signs must be visible and measure at least 17 by 22 inches. If the sign is not visible clearly or smaller than that minimum size, it is likely that the towing company is committing an action known as "predatory towing", which involves attempting to illegally tow vehicles for a profit. This is an illegal activity and should be reported to the police.

Number 3 -- Fee Restrictions

California state law also prohibits towing companies from charging more than one day's worth of storage costs for a vehicle, provided that the vehicle is reclaimed within 24 hours of the initial towing. This is also put in place to help ensure that you don't have to pay more to reclaim your vehicle from a towing company than you should. If you find that you're being charged more than one day's storage for a car that you pick up within this time frame, you should report the company to the local police.

Number 4 -- Holiday Parking Restrictions

Certain holidays and other times of day are generally allowed for parking, while others are not. This means that a zone can be a tow-away zone at certain times and not at others. You'll therefore need to read the posted signs carefully in order to avoid getting a parking ticket or, in some cases, being towed. The same thing can be said of certain areas within the city as well.

For more information about how the California towing laws can affect your driving and parking experience within the state, visit a local California DMV with any additional questions you may have.

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