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When it "Impounds" it pours!

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New member
What is the name of your state? CA

My car was towed about 3 weeks ago for
22651L 22651L - SIGN VIOL S REPAIR SDMC 91 09-A3

notified over a week later, it was impounded by the police, and I could elect to have a post-storage hearing to contest the validity of the tow and storage by calling a number that went to voice mail. Several messages went unreturned. I tried during the lunch hour, and someone picked me up. A traffic cop, and I told him of my wish to opt in and set a hearing. He asked if I'd called before. He said I only had ten days to request a hearing. Then he very informally began a father-son dialogue, and before I knew it, I was in the midst of the shortest and most informal hearing, I think.

I asked what the violation was, as it wasn't clear. I initially figured it had to do with a very old 30-minute parking sign that isn't readable anymore, and the curb had returned to its natural shade of concrete. It was for violating a temporary no-parking sign. An electrical contractor called in at 10:47 a.m. to do some work. I asked when the signs were displayed and if they needed to be displayed beforehand. He told me they needed to be displayed 24 hours prior to towing. He then told me he could see in the picture that the temporary signs were in place that morning next to my car on 10/12 and were marked no parking from 10/05 to 10/13.

I explained that this couldn't be accurate as I parked this car in the exact same spot where my wife's car had been the previous 6 days. I also stated I had swapped these cars out at approximately midnight on 10/12. I had not fully backed into the spot because a homeless person was camped at the curb directly behind the car. I left plenty of space to be safe and stepped behind the car to confirm this. On the curb, I noticed an electricity box cocked over with phone cables running out of and into the homeless shelter/tarp. At this time, I took a picture just in case I found the car vandalized or burned to the ground the next day.

I asked if I could see the picture with the sign near the car. Yes, it was nearly behind the rear door. No, I could not see the picture.

I wasn't prepared for the sudden hearing. Especially having just found out what the violation was for. So I asked if I could send him a picture I took that night. It was dark, but it clearly showed the area behind my car, and there was no sign. No was his answer. I was at a loss, so I explained that I couldn't afford the storage fees and towing and would need to arrange payments. He scoffed and said he knew I saw the signs, and if they really weren't posted, he advised me to call the contractor employee. I expressed my doubt that he would change his story, but if he did, what then? I don't know, he said. I once again explained that I had suffered some serious setbacks recently and couldn't afford to get the car out of impound as the fees had climbed too high during this time. Surely, there must be another option. Before he hung up, he advised me to ask the tow yard.

Today, it is not clear to me if that was actually the post-tow hearing. It was so strange; I called back all afternoon and the next but could only get voicemail. It was as if I caught Willy Wonka behind the scenes or the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, and all formalities were tossed, and I had a hearing with a traffic cop or a fleet mechanic who decided I should be separated from my property without ever saying it was valid or invalid.

I got a notice of a ticket from the police three days later, and on the website, it directed me to photos of my car parked. Displayed in them, my car parked a healthy margin from the curb without sticking out in traffic. This provided the workers, also pictured (who appeared almost posed), plenty of space to access the box on the sidewalk with their truck parked beside them. Behind my car, it looked like a bicycle swap meet exploded on the sidewalk. complete with tarps, blankets, and rags spread everywhere and even a broken shopping cart. Additionally, next to my rear wheel was a black and white temporary no-parking sign with handwritten dates. It didn't look like a no-parking sign; it wasn't designed like one or colored red, as is typical.

I'm stuck in a hard place. I recently recovered this car from my son's base in South Carolina, who had been killed last year. It is all I have left of him, other than a flag and fancy letter he never touched This was the car we planned to restore this winter when he rotated back stateside. Instead, I drove home 3000 of the darkest miles of my life last summer.

I don't like the thought of paying a business that makes its money mostly from snatching cars with the help of the police and making the most from the people who can't afford it and stand to lose the most.

Is my next move a writ of mandate? I have very little time, and while I know it will probably come down to my word against a contractor, I've been on a stretch of bad luck for the last three years, and its time to turn it around. I'll start here or get knocked back down, but I'll get back up that much faster.
I appreciate your time.


Senior Member
You're not gong to like this but the only way you might get your car back is to hire a lawyer who knows how to navigate the system.


New member
I'm not against lawyers, and in my previous lives and business, I've learned the value of a good attorney is priceless in the money, time, and peace of mind they saved me countless times.

Unfortunately, the right attorney deserves whatever they ask, and if I had the money, after learning what I have, I would gladly pay double what the yard is asking in hopes of a win, which might draw some attention to the issue.

As it is, my current financial picture isn't the brightest, and I figure a lawyer is going to cost me north of $1000. I'm pretty embarrassed to say this, but I don't have that much at the moment. and the time in which to save the car from lien... has been mostly consumed in this admin maze that seems designed to make a "random" tow operator lots of easy money in a captive market.

This really is frustrating; it requires so much of my time and mind with no clear path ahead.

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