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  1. #1
    minje Guest

    Question Expired registration on parked car

    What is the name of your state? MAssachusetts

    Do the police have the right to tow my car if it had an expired registration sticker(expired July 31, towed August 7) if the car is parked? My car was towed and the plates seized. Thank you.
  2. #2
    racer72 is offline Senior Member
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    Why yes they do or do you suppose they wouldn't have towed your vehicle?
    If you feel my answer is rude, mean, snarky or in anyway not to your liking, I did my job. You don't need to tell me.

    No private messages, I do not reply to them.
  3. #3
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by minje
    What is the name of your state? MAssachusetts

    Do the police have the right to tow my car if it had an expired registration sticker(expired July 31, towed August 7) if the car is parked? My car was towed and the plates seized. Thank you.

    **A: you're kidding right?
  4. #4
    minje Guest

    Angry geez

    just wondering. didnt know if because no one was driving it if they could just tow it without me knowing. i thought no qeustion was a stupid question but i guess i was wrong to ask here.
  5. #5
    minje Guest

    Unhappy sorry

    sorry i spelled "question" incorrectly,i wouldn't want you to be upset about that too...
  6. #6
    Abd
    Abd is offline Junior Member
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    Issues around tow for expired registration

    Quote Originally Posted by minje
    What is the name of your state? MAssachusetts
    Do the police have the right to tow my car if it had an expired registration sticker(expired July 31, towed August 7) if the car is parked? My car was towed and the plates seized. Thank you.
    I'm in Massachusetts, and I've been researching this. So far, I've found no authority for the police to tow a vehicle merely because it has an expired sticker. However, it is clear that they routinely do it.

    In some towns, there are explicit local ordinances governing the towing of abandoned vehicles. If a vehicle is parked in a public way, and it has an expired sticker, it may be considered abandoned. However, with what I've seen so far, the police must place a sticker on the car warning that it will be towed if not moved within a certain period, two or three days I think. Only if the car is parked in such a manner as to constitute a hazard can it be towed immediately. And that is true whether or not the registration is expired.

    In the situation that aroused my interest, my wife was driving to pre-school with two small children (ages 2 and 4). She was stopped on the next business day after the tags expired. Indeed, I'd intended to get the tags the previous week, but we just adopted one of these children and the family is ... making adjustments. Bottom line, even though I only had to go downstairs to renew the registration, with two screaming children and a wife who was pretty much losing it, a few things did not get done that week. Had we not lived upstairs from the RMV, I would have, in fact, mailed it in and there would have been no problem.

    So she was stopped, and she parked the car at the side of the road in a place where there was no hazard and no apparent parking regulation. The officer told her that he was going to tow the car, so take the children out. He was apparently ready to leave her and the children by the side of the road, with traffic whizzing by. Two children, both ready to run in any direction at the drop of a hat. However, she had a cell phone and called me and I arrived. We removed the car seats from her car and put them in mine, and proceeded to take the children to school. Of course, they did go ahead and tow the car. Now, the question is, why? They issued her a $100 citation, which is the statutory fine for the violation of driving with no registration. The law is unclear on the point of whether or not expired tags are "no registration," but obviously it is being considered that way. (Expired registration is not identical to no registration, on the face of it.)

    If she had stopped the car in a place where there was a hazard, it is clear that Mass law would allow the officer to direct her to move it according to his instructions.

    Now, she was violating the law by driving the car. It is also a violation of the law for the car to be parked in the public way. However, routinely, and by regulation in at least some towns, cars parked in the public way with expired tags are not immediately towed. In other words, the "violation" is allowed to continue for a certain period of time, allowing for notice and correction. It would appear that towing a car in the circumstances described would be a punitive action. Or, more darkly, corrupt. Towing generates local revenue.

    In most states, driving with an expired sticker is not a moving violation, and it appears that most states do not tow for this reason alone. Indeed, most states seem to routinely give warnings that turn into real citations, with fines, if the violation is not corrected. That's what I expected would be the case here. Had I not expected this, instead of rushing to the scene to help her, I'd have gone downstairs and registered the car and would have taken the plates to the scene, so the car being towed would have had current registration on it; in fact, I'd have gotten there before the tow truck. In most jurisdictions, if the tow truck were called legitimately, this would be half-charge. Further, the officer confiscated the plates. That created a whole extra difficulty, since the officer, even though only minutes away from the station, did not return the plates to the station so we could pick them up for three or four hours.... And the police at the station complained that they had too few officers for the work load.

    Of course, they *created* the work load, this particular part of it. It took two officers about thirty minutes to finally get the children into the second car and see the tow truck off.... (The arresting officer called for backup, I suspect, when I arrived. I'm sure I was not smiling at him when he confirmed that, no matter how much trouble this was causing, he "had" to tow the car.)

    In any case, we will contest the citation and we are informed by an attorney -- as well as my own experience before magistrates and judges in Massachusetts, that the probable outcome on the citation is that it will be dismissed, when we show the registration and the timing of it. We still had to pay $110 for the towing and minimum storage to get the car back. And, unless I can find authority in the law for the police to tow the car under the circumstances, I'll be filing a claim against the town for reimbursement for costs. My attorney friend, an ex-cop actually, tells me that I could go for more than that. The children were pretty upset!

    So people in some forums have asked about this situation and how it might affect their insurance rates. Massachusetts is unlike most other states. This is considered a minor violation, but it *can* affect rates. Essentially, a major violation, like speeding or going through a red light, is five points. Expired tags is two points. If I'm correct, the average cost in insurance of simply going ahead and paying the citation is about $400 over the period before it becomes moot.
  7. #7
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    See #21: [url]http://www.mass.gov/rmv/forms/21330.pdf[/url]
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  8. #8
    DRTDEVL is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by You Are Guilty


    See #21: [url]http://www.mass.gov/rmv/forms/21330.pdf[/url]
    Misapplication.

    This .pdf file covers different types of plates, and their uses. #21 covers "repair" plates, and why they are required. All it states is that a repair facility can tow an unregistered car for their customers, but they have to have a "repair" plate on the tow truck. Having no repair plate requires the vehicle to be fully registered before they tow it.
  9. #9
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRTDEVL
    Misapplication.

    This .pdf file covers different types of plates, and their uses. #21 covers "repair" plates, and why they are required. All it states is that a repair facility can tow an unregistered car for their customers, but they have to have a "repair" plate on the tow truck. Having no repair plate requires the vehicle to be fully registered before they tow it.
    You're missing the point. What does it say you can do to unregistered vehicles when there is a repair plate on the tow truck?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  10. #10
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt581
    Why are you guys still kicking around a two year old thread?

    Never mind... carry on...

    apparently Abd was performing extensive research concerning the matter and just recently arrived at a conclusion.
  11. #11
    DRTDEVL is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by You Are Guilty
    You're missing the point. What does it say you can do to unregistered vehicles when there is a repair plate on the tow truck?
    Exactly what it says you can do to a registered vehicle when there is not a repair plate on the truck.
  12. #12
    rmvappeal.com Guest

    Unregistered Motor Vehicle

    It is illegal to allow an unregistered motor vehicle remain on a public way in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. See. G.L. c. 90 Sec. 9..."No person shall operate, push, draw or tow any motor vehicle or trailer, and the owner or custodian of such a vehicle shall not permit the same to be operated, pushed, drawn or towed upon or to remain upon any way except as authorized by section three, unless such vehicle is registered in accordance with this chapter and carries its register number displayed as provided in section six...."
    Last edited by m martin; 04-20-2007 at 09:58 AM.

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