Having your car towed can be a huge nuisance and very costly. Fortunately, there are rules and remedies to protect you from being wrongfully towed. This guide will briefly walk you through the towing protection laws that are common in most states.

When Can a Car Be Towed?

The owner of private property may have a vehicle removed from their property in any of the following circumstances:

  • If there is a sign in plain view that prohibits parking and contains contact information for the company responsible for towing.
  • If the car has been issued a notice of parking violation within 96 hours.
  • If the car lacks doors, wheels, windshield or other major equipment necessary for highway use and the private owner has notified public authorities 24 hours prior.

Property owners must give written authorization to the tow truck company before they are allowed to tow the car.

What If a Car Is Wrongfully Towed?

If the person who had the car towed failed to comply with the towing rules, then they may be liable for twice the towing fees.

If a towing company fails to comply with the towing rules, then they owe the car owner four times the amount charged, and are subject to a misdemeanor.

Where Can My Car Be Towed?

A car may not be towed to a location more than 10 miles from where it was parked.

What If My Car Is Damaged?

If your car is intentionally or negligently damaged as result of the towing, you can recover the cost to fix the car.

When Is a Tow Truck Fee Excessive?

Both Cities and the California Transportation Commission regulate the maximum amounts that can be charged by a tow truck company. Check first with the city where your car was towed to determine the maximum amounts permitted to be charged for towing and storage?

What If I Catch Them before They Tow My Car?

If you catch your vehicle being towed once it has been hitched but before it has been removed, the tow truck company cannot charge more than half the towing fee. However, once the car has been removed, the full towing fee may be charged.

What If I Retrieve My Car Immediately?

Not more than one days storage charge may be charged for a vehicle released within 24 hours of when it was stored.

Can I Pay with a Credit Card?

Tow truck companies must accept credit cards as a form of payment.

Seeking Legal Help

If the towing company causes damage your our vehicle, they may be liable for the damage. You may also have a legal claim if your vehicle was wrongfully towed and you are unable to avoid paying the fines.