Alabama Abandoned Vehicle Towing Law

Here is a copy of the Alabama State Code regarding towing abandoned vehicles.

Section 32-13-1
“Abandoned motor vehicle” defined; posted notice.
THIS SECTION WAS AMENDED IN THE 2003 REGULAR SESSION EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 2003. TO SEE VERSION AS AMENDED, SEE PENDING VERSION.

For the purposes of this chapter, an “abandoned motor vehicle” shall mean a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 32-1-1.1:

(1) Which has been left by the owner, or some person acting for the owner, with an automobile dealer, repairman or wrecker service for repair or for some other reason and has not been called for by the owner or other person within a period of 60 days after the time agreed upon and within 60 days after the vehicle is turned over to a dealer, repairman or wrecker service when no time is agreed upon, or within 60 days after the completion of necessary repairs.

(2) Which is left unattended on a public street, road, or highway or other public property for a period of at least seven days; or left unattended continuously for at least seven days in a business district or a residence district; or if left unattended in a business district that has at least one posted notice in an open and conspicuous place indicating that there is a time limitation on the length of time a motor vehicle may remain parked in the district and the motor vehicle remains unattended for a period of time in excess of that posted on the notice; or left unattended in a business district or residence district that has at least one posted notice indicating that only authorized motor vehicles may park in that district and the owner of the motor vehicle or his or her agent has not received the required authority prior to leaving the motor vehicle unattended; or left unattended on a private road or driveway without the express or implied permission of the owner or lessee of the driveway or their agent. A posted notice when required by this chapter shall meet the following specifications:

(a) The notice shall be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within five feet from the public right-of-way line. If there are no curbs or access barriers, the signs must be posted not less than one sign each 25 feet of lot frontage.

(b) The notice shall clearly indicate, in not less than two inch high light-reflective letters on a contrasting background, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. The words “tow away zone” shall be included on the sign in not less than four inch high letters.

(c) The notice shall also provide the name and current telephone number of the person or firm towing or removing the vehicles, if the property owner, lessor, or person in control of the property has a written contract with a wrecker service.

(d) The sign structure containing the required notices shall be permanently installed with the bottom of the sign not less than four feet above ground level, and be continuously maintained on the property for not less than 24 hours prior to the towing or removal of any vehicles.

(3) Which has been lawfully towed onto the property of another at the written request of a law-enforcement officer and left there for a period of not less than 60 days without anyone having made claim thereto.

(4) Which has been abandoned, has an expired tag, or is inoperable in a parking area on private property maintained by the property owner or his or her agent for use by his or her tenants, residents, or their guests. A vehicle shall be defined as abandoned or inoperable under this subdivision if it has an expired tag or has remained in the same parking lot for a period of 30 days or more. To bring a vehicle within the provisions of this subdivision, the property owner or his or her agent shall post a dated notice in a conspicuous place on the vehicle in question stating:

a. That the vehicle has been determined to be abandoned or inoperable and will be removed at the direction of the property owner or his or her agent upon the expiration of seven days from the date of the notice.

b. The name and address of the last registered owner of the vehicle in question and the name and address of the property owner or his or her agent and a daytime phone number for the person giving the notice.

A copy of the notice shall be mailed by regular mail to the last known address of the registered owner, if ascertainable, on the date of posting or not later than the next business day. Calculation of the seven-day notice period shall commence on the date of posting of the notice on the vehicle.

(Acts 1971, No. 1154, p. 1999, §1; Acts 1989, No. 89-758, p. 1534, §1; Act 98-609, p. 1339, §1.)

http://www.legislature.state.al.us/codeofalabama/1975%2009feb2004/32-13-1.htm

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5 Responses to Alabama Abandoned Vehicle Towing Law

  1. towing dude on October 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Looks like that’s pretty comprehensive. That’s great. At least it wont leave much to the imagination.

  2. CRIS BASSENGER on June 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

    My 18 wheeler commercial truck and trailer ( car hauler ) was unlawfully
    and / or illegally towed away from a local truck stop where i had parked it in
    the truck parking area in a designated parking spot surrounded by many other
    commercial trucks and trailers. To make a long story short the following are
    just a few important key factors about my case that occurred. My truck and
    trailer was only parked in this parking lot for approximately 20 days when it
    was towed away by a local towing company. I had permission from the store /
    property manager from the very first day i parked it there allowing me to leave
    it there until i was scheduled to come and pick it back up within the 20 to 25
    day window that i returned to this location to get my truck and trailer only to
    find out it had been towed away a few days earlier by a towing company. I have
    the names of the managers of this property that i talked to on several different
    days and times concerning my truck and trailer and the time frame in which i was
    planning on picking it up. I have my phone records also that show me calling
    this store and also the store calling my phone on several different days and
    different times, and this info is relevant because the incoming and outgoing
    calls show that the conversations lasted for an ample amount of time during each
    call allowing myself to tell the manager any and all info concerning my status
    about my truck and trailer and also showing the store managers calling my phone
    and the calls lasting for enough time allowing the managers to let me know about
    any and all info concerning their status about my truck and trailer ETC… ( IN
    SHORT ) THIS INFORMATION JUST SHOWS THAT I HAD CONTINUOUS COMMUNICATIONS WITH
    THE PROPERTY MANAGERS / OWNERS CONCERNING THE WELL BEING OF MY TRUCK AND
    TRAILER. I would also like to mention that even after my truck and trailer was
    towed i was never notified about it being towed. not WHEN ? WHY ? WHERE ? HOW ?
    and most importantly NOT WHO ? I arrived expectng to drive my truck and trailer
    away from there to get loaded and head strait to Chicago Ill. only to find out it had been TOWED, but
    nobody could seem to figure out who towed it or when they towed it or WHY THEY
    TOWED IT ?????? It took me almost a week to find out who took my truck and trailer but it took me almost another month to find out the actual location my truck and trailer was towed to and stored and that
    was just by pure luck that one of my relatives was driving down the road and
    just happen to of glanced over looking out his drivers door window and said he
    had seen what he thought looked like my truck and trailer parked in a storage lot and this location was approximately 50 miles away from the
    truck stop where it was taken from. I eventually was able to track it down and I
    IMMEDIATELY contacted the towing company. The first day i called them I was told
    they were not aware of the particular truck and trailer that i was looking for
    but they were going to look for it and check their paperwork etc, and they would
    be back in touch with me asap to let me know what the situation was with my
    truck. I called them back ON THE NEXT DAY AND ON EVERYDAY THEREAFTER FOR THE
    NEXT 7 TO 10 DAYS and they continuously kept telling me the exact same thing
    each and every time i called them, so eventually it was a loosing battle for me
    and my truck and trailer was locked up inside of a huge storage lot surrounded
    by 6 feet tall chain link fence. I called the police department for help and
    after a couple of days trying to get help from the police dept and after talking
    to 3 or 4 different detectives i kept getting the same answer, they kept telling
    me there was nothing they can do to help me that it was a civil matter and i
    would have to take it to court, So that is why i am reaching out to SOMEONE ,
    ANYONE FOR HELP IN THIS MATTER PLEASE HELP ME GET MY TRUCK AND TRAILER BACK AND
    MAKE THIS COMPANY PAY FOR ALL THEY HAVE CAUSED ME. THIS HAPPENED LAST SUMMER
    2010 AND TO THIS DAY CURRENTLY I STILL HAVE YET TO BE NOTIFIED BY ANYONE ABOUT
    THE WHEREABOUTS OF MY TRUCK AND TRAILER. My truck has MY COMPANY NAME ALONG WITH
    MY PERSONAL NAME ALONG WITH MY DOT AND MCC NUMBERS AND EVEN MY PHONE NUMBER ON
    BOTH THE DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS SIDE DOORS. MY TRUCK ALSO HAS A CURRENT
    APPORTIONED COMMERCIAL TAG MOUNTED TO THE FRONT BUMPER OF THE TRUCK THAT DOES
    NOT EXPIRE UNTIL OCT 2012 THAT IS CLEARLY REGISTERED TO ME AND MY TRUCK ALSO HAS ALL OF MY REGISTRATION PAPERS
    AND CAB CARDS AND INSURANCE INFORMATION INSIDE OF MY TRUCK ALONG WITH MANY MANY
    HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PERSONAL ITEMS AND TOOLS AND CB RADIO AND GPS ETC
    ETC. MY TRUCK AND TRAILER HAS AN ESTIMATED BOOK VALUE OF APPROXIMATELY
    $30,000.00 COMBINED NOT COUNTING ALL OF MY PERSONAL PROPERTY THAT WAS INSIDE AND
    OUTSIDE AND ALL AROUND MY TRUCK. THE TRUCK AND TRAILER IS PAID FOR FREE AND
    CLEAR AND I CURRENTLY STILL HAVE POSSESSION OF THE TITLES. I HAVE ALSO BEEN
    FORCED TO CLOSE MY COMPANY DOWN DUE TO THIS PROBLEM AND NOT HAVING MY EQUIPMENT
    TO USE TO HAUL CARS AND EARN A LIVING AND SUPPORT MY WIFE AND 2 KIDS. I COULD GO
    ON AND ON AND ON EXPLAINING ABOUT WHAT THIS PROBLEM HAS COST ME AND THE
    EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PROBLEMS AND STRESS THIS HAS CAUSED ME AND MY
    FAMILY TO HAVE TO ENDURE. IF I AM UNDERSTANDING THE LAWS IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA
    CORRECTLY CONCERNING THE CORRECT AND PROPER PROCEDURE OF LEGALLY AND LAWFULLY
    TOWING A VEHICLE THAT HAS BEEN DEEMED TO BE ABANDONED AND / OR INOPERABLE
    ACCORDING TO THE ALABAMA STATE CODE SECTION 32 – 1 – 1.1 A VEHICLE HAS TO BE
    PARKED IN THE SAME PARKING LOT AND / OR LOCATION FOR A PERIOD OF NO LESS THAN 30
    CONSECUTIVE DAYS AND / OR HAVE AN EXPIRED TAG THEN IT MIGHT COULD BE CONSIDERED
    AN INOPERABLE OR AN ABANDONED VEHICLE, THEN THE MANAGER AND / OR PROPERTY OWNER
    OR ANYONE ACTING AS AN AGENT FOR THE PROPERTY OWNER OF THAT LOCATION MUST POST A
    DATED NOTICE IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE ON THE VEHICLE FOR NO LESS THAN 7 DAYS
    NOTIFYING THE REGISTERED OWNER THAT THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN DEEMED INOPERABLE AND /
    OR ABANDONED AND WILL BE TOWED WITHIN THOSE FEW DAYS FOLLOWING THE SEVENTH DAY
    OF THE DATED NOTICE. That is my understanding of the laws of the state of
    Alabama concerning the towing of an abandoned and / or inoperable vehicle. As of
    this day JUNE 17, 2011 i still have not recieved any phone calls or any
    notices of any kind WHATSOEVER as to the status or even the whereabouts of my
    truck and trailer, AND AS OF THIS SAME DAY JUNE 17th 2011 MY TRUCK AND TRAILER
    IS STILL PARKED AND SITTING STILL IN THE VERY EXACT SPOT IT HAS BEEN SITTING
    INSIDE OF THAT FENCED STORAGE LOT OF THAT TOWING COMPANY WHERE THEY PARKED IT
    OVER ONE YEAR AGO……… SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME GET MY TRUCK BACK AND MAKE
    THIS COMPANY PAY FOR WHAT THEY HAVE CAUSED ME AND MY FAMILY TO SUFFER THROUGH…
    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP.
    CRIS
    251-288-1303

  3. Stephen on June 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I have a similar problem to the one described above (although not exactly the same). I used to work for a judge as a clerk and paralegal and know enough (just enough) to have drafted up a complaint based on the case in Limestone County against State Trooper Heath Moss for plowing into a couple at 120 mph and killing the parents of two daughters. That case helps us know the proper way to frame a lawsuit against law officials who prematurely call for the tow of a vehicle in violation of Alabama Code § 32-13-2. The complaint that I drafted is available for your purview at:

    http://www.cogtv.org/Legal/Complaint4UnlawfulTow.html

    I am filing it today. I plan to post follow-up reports as to how the case goes on the same website above. You can email me from a link on the above web page and I will appreciate hearing from anyone who has more experience than I have on dealing with this and suing a state employee or official. Regards – Stephen.

  4. Cynthia W. Joyner on September 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I live in an apartment complex. My daughter lost her job and apartment in Atlanta. She came to live with me in Hoover, Alabama until she got back on her feet. Her car was not inoperable but her tag had expired. It was never in the same spot. Management had her car towed by this towing company with exorbitant fees. We were financially unable to get the car back and they auctioned it off! They never returned her belongings. We were undergoing the worst financial crisis ever and this unfortunate incident has only added to our frustrations. What law mandates that a towing company can tow your paid-in-full vehicle, keep your belongings, sell the car, and keep the profit? My daughter has no means of transportation to get to a job or transport her daughter. How can they illegally obtain title to your vehicle? Please clarify how towing companies can operate on ill-gained property of others and call it a business? It is blatant robbery!

  5. Morgan on December 27, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I have an ex-room mate that refuses to get his truck out of my yard. I gave him a time limit, but he refuses to call me or my husband back. How long until I can get it towed?

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