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What is the law for impounding cars?
The laws regarding impounding a vehicle in Arizona are very clear. Both towing and impounding are regulated by the state and local city codes. If your vehicle was impounded it was probably due to your vehicle being abandoned, or you parked in an unauthorized parking area. The following will describe each case.
- An officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a vehicle has been lost, stolen, abandoned or otherwise unclaimed may remove or cause the removal of the vehicle from any street or highway or on any other public, federal, state trust, national forest, state park or bureau of land management land or private property. (A.R.S. § 28-4834)
- The owner or agent of the owner of the private property shall be deemed to have given consent to unrestricted parking by the general public in any parking area of the private property unless such parking area is posted with signs as prescribed by this subsection which are clearly visible and readable from any point within the parking area and at each entrance. Such signs shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
1. Restrictions on parking.
2. Disposition of vehicles found in violation of the parking restrictions.
3. Maximum cost to the violator, including storage fees and any other charges that could result from the disposition of a vehicle parked in violation of parking restrictions.
4. Telephone number and address where the violator can locate the violator's vehicle (A.R.S. § 9-499.05)
This means that if you park in an area of unauthorized parking, your vehicle can be towed, impounded, and you will have to pay all of the costs associated. As regards to what can be charged when your vehicle is towed and impounded, A.R.S. § 9-499.05 notes that a private towing carrier is subject to the maximum rate and charge regulation prescribed by the city or town for all such towing, transporting or impounding services if the vehicle being towed or transported is towed from private property located within the boundaries of the city or town.
If a private towing company removes a vehicle without the permission of the owner of the property then the towing company is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.