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  1. #1
    sarahputney is offline Junior Member
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    Car impounded/questions to the requirements I was told in order to get my car out.

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?California A ex friend of mine was pulled over by the cops on September 4th for supposebly having a brake light out in my car. I was not in the car at the time, nor did I know my ex friend had my car. I recieved a phone call from my ex friend telling me that my car was getting impounded because he was driving on a suspended license. I am on disability for my Bi Polar. When in stressful situations, I tend to overreact which makes things worse for myself. As soon as I head my car was going to get impounded I had my friend take me to where my ex friend was pulled over at. When I got to where my car was, I approached the police and told them who I was. The police interpreted what I said as me saying that I knew my ex friend was driving my car. It was clear to me that if I was going to try and argue what they had just said, I probably would go to jail for my attitude. The police told me that it was an automatic 30 day hold before I could get my car out. That being said, with current registration, current insurance and me having a valid drivers license. My ex friends suspended license was for back child support. There was no alcohol/drugs found in car. I was given a number to call to request a impound hearing in order for me to try and get my car out before 30 days. I went to the police station after several attempts calling the number and leaving messages. I talked directly to the person about requesting a hearing, instead I was told that I could pick my car up in 30 days with $1700 for storage fees. This was after I told the officer at the number that I was a single mom to a 6 yr old son who is Autistic and has ADD. And that both my son and I collected disability and that I simply could not afford the storage fees. His responded with he didnt care one way or the other. After that failed attempt of requesting a impound hearing, I sent registered letter to the police station requesting a impound hearing. A officer called and left a message in reply to my letter saying that if I wanted to get my car out before the 30 days, that the only person who could get it out was my ex friend who got it impounded. Not me, the registered owner, with a valid drivers license. My dad and I went to internal affairs to file a complaint. After a week went by with my dad leaving several messages, the detective finally called back saying that they wouldnt do anything because it said in the police report that I admitted to saying that I knew my friend was driving my car. I never said that, I did say to the police that impounded my car as well as every other officer I spoke with, had I hung up the phone and reacted on impulse, I would have called the police and filed a missing/stolen report on my car. It has been 30 days and I have probably lost it. I was sent a notice for lien of sale on my car. Is there anything I can do to make a complaint or acknowledgment for being what I feel unfairly treated?


    Sarah[/FONT]
    Last edited by sarahputney; 10-05-2009 at 02:21 AM.
  2. #2
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Looks like you have to pay the fee or lose the auto.


    The owner of the vehicle will be responsible for the towing, storage, and release fees. If you are unable to pay, your vehicle will be sold to cover the fees.

    Who has the receipt ?

    [url=http://www.chp.ca.gov/html/impound.html]Most Common Equipment Violations[/url]
  3. #3
    outonbail is offline Senior Member
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    You were not treated unfairly, you were treated just like anyone else who finds themselves in the same situation.

    I don't know what you could have said to the officers which had them believing that your friend had permission to be driving your car aside from "Yes".

    Your post is a little confusing in so far as how everything went down. It is usually the police who will attempt to contact the registered owner of a vehicle, which has been stopped with an unlicensed driver behind the wheel.
    It is often a dispatcher who makes the call at the request of the officer who made the stop. They will ask you if you are aware that so and so is driving your vehicle. This question requires either a yes or no answer. If you answer yes, the vehicle is impounded for 30 days. If the answer is no, they will ask you if you want to come get your vehicle or let you know it has been towed. The driver may also be arrested for taking a vehicle without the owners permission.

    But you are claiming that your friend called you to let you know that the police were impounding your vehicle. Was this call made while the police were in the process of pulling him over?
    If you arrived on the scene without the police contacting you, they would certainly question how you got there if you didn't know your friend had your vehicle.

    The police may also ask you how he got the keys to the vehicle without your permission, so how did he? Was the vehicle and the keys left where he has
    easy access to them? Has he ever taken your vehicle without your permission before? Has he taken it with your permission?
    Did you ask them to arrest him for stealing your vehicle?

    As far as the towing company goes. If you can show that you are the registered owner and your identification is the same as the person who is showing on the registration paperwork, they will let you in during their regular business hours to recover any personal property which may be in the vehicle.

    When you received the notification of lien sale paperwork, if there were some sort of circumstances which you felt should prevent the tow company from liening the vehicle, you could have filled out the form on the back of the lien notice and stopped the sale from taking place. You would still be responsible for all the fees generated in the towing as well as daily storage fees for your vehicle, but they wouldn't be able to sell the vehicle without a court hearing and judge's order allowing them to proceed with the sale.

    In order for the tow company to lien sale your vehicle in 30 days, the vehicle must be valued at $4,00.00 or less. If it is worth more than four thousand, they must file a long lien, which takes at least six months if I'm not mistaken.

    However in today's tough economy, not many used vehicles will be valued at over 4K.

    You should also be aware that if the total towing and storage charges amount to lets say $1,500.00 and your vehicle only sells for $500.00, you can and probably will still be held responsible to pay the remaining $1,000.00 left on the tow bill. Most towing companies sell these outstanding debts to collection agencies who will hound you to death to pay the balance.

    Now, if the tow company has not sold your vehicle yet but the lien sale date has passed, then you can go to the tow yard and try to negotiate the best deal you can, to buy your vehicle back. You can do this after the lien sale date has passed and possibly get your vehicle back for as little as three hundred dollars, depending on the make, model, age and condition of your vehicle.

    In order to get your vehicle back before the lien sale date, you must pay the police department for a release which you have to pay for after showing them the current registration, your valid drivers license and prove you have insurance on the vehicle. Then you bring the release to the towing company and pay the total fees due the towing company up until that date.

    So you can often get your vehicle back for a thousand less subsequent to the lien sale date because the towing company now owns the vehicle and doesn't need a release from the police to sell it. However there is no guarantee that you will be the one the tow company chooses to sell the vehicle to.

    As far as filing a complaint, I think you're directing your anger in the wrong direction. It was your friend who caused this situation, not the police or tow yard. He is the one you should take to court for the cost you suffered for losing this vehicle.
  4. #4
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahputney View Post
    A ex friend of mine was pulled over by the cops on September 4th for supposebly having a brake light out in my car.
    That's a Vehicle Code violation that can be charged under at least two different sections. A valid stop.

    I was not in the car at the time, nor did I know my ex friend had my car.
    So ... your friend STOLE the car? That's what it is when someone takes your car without permission. How did the ex friend get the car started? Did they "hot wire" it?

    When I got to where my car was, I approached the police and told them who I was. The police interpreted what I said as me saying that I knew my ex friend was driving my car.
    There is really only two options ... he had your permission/acquiescence, or he stole the car. You should have insisted on making an arrest for auto theft if he stole the car.

    The police told me that it was an automatic 30 day hold before I could get my car out.
    Yep. CVC 22651(p) and CVC 14602.6 authorize such an impound.

    A officer called and left a message in reply to my letter saying that if I wanted to get my car out before the 30 days, that the only person who could get it out was my ex friend who got it impounded. Not me, the registered owner, with a valid drivers license.
    Whoever told you that was wrong, wrong, wrong. As the registered owner you have a right to a hearing ... you do NOT have a right to have the car returned, however. So, while you should have gotten the hearing, I don't see that it would have resulted in an early release unless your friend stole the car.

    Perhaps you can explain how the friend got the car and started it up.

    It has been 30 days and I have probably lost it. I was sent a notice for lien of sale on my car. Is there anything I can do to make a complaint or acknowledgment for being what I feel unfairly treated?
    Contact the tow company, find out what it will cost to get it out of impound and if a release from the agency is required. Then, go the agency, pay the release fee, take the release document to the tow company, pay the towing and storage fees, and take the car. you can then consider a small claims action against the police department if you feel that the car was improperly impounded. Better yet, sue the ex friend!

    As for the personnel issues, you will have to speak to internal affairs for any complaint about the people involved.

    If you can relate to me how the ex friend got the car, I can tell you whether you have any ground to stand on and could have prevailed at an impound hearing. I can also provide you with the law on the matter.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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