Vehicle Towing, Storage, and Impound

Vehicles are towed for a variety of reasons. Some are simply stored because the vehicle is disabled, abandoned or in qualifying violation. However, some are impounded for a specific amount of time. Often, it is for 30 days. The following are the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding towed vehicles.

    1. Why was my vehicle towed?
    2. Why was my vehicle impounded?
    3. How do I get my stored vehicle released?
    4. How do I get my impounded vehicle released?
    5. How much does the release cost and who pays?
    6. What if I have a hardship? Can I get my car out early?
    7. What does the law say about vehicle tows?
    8. What is a Stipulated Release Agreement?

Why was my vehicle towed?

Please contact Marysville Police dispatch at (530) 749-3900 to inquire about your vehicle. You will need to provide your vehicle license plate number. Dispatchers will advise you whether the vehicle was stored or impounded and inform you of your next steps.

Why was my vehicle impounded?

Your vehicle was impounded because you or another person who was driving your vehicle has:

  • a suspended driver license
  • a revoked driver license
  • never been issued a driver license

The registered owner can also be cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive their vehicle. Here are some common concerns:

But I didn't know his/her license was suspended!

If it's your vehicle, it's your responsibility to know this. Under section 14604 CVC, the owner of a vehicle has a duty to ensure the person driving their vehicle possesses a valid license. If you allow or permit anyone, including your spouse, child, friend or relative to drive your vehicle and that person does not have a valid license, you will be responsible for towing and storage fees. You will not have access to your vehicle for 30 days.

But she/he borrowed my car without asking!

What you are describing is felony vehicle theft. If this is the case, the driver will be arrested and booked into the jail for this crime. However, it is more likely that you allowed the person to drive your car without first taking basic precautions. Did you allow this person to drive it previously? Did you ask to see his/her license? It is your vehicle. It is your responsibility to know who has access to it.

But I think the officer was incorrect in towing my vehicle!

This is the purpose of the Post-Storage Hearing. The registered owner may request hearing. It is a review of the tow as provided for in the California Vehicle Code. This is an administrative review to determine whether the officer had reasonable cause to tow the vehicle. Details of this hearing are listed here.

But I am the owner of the vehicle and I have a valid license!

The law applies to whomever drove the vehicle at the time it was towed. The hold will be lifted if the driver obtains a valid license prior to the end of the 30 days. **The driver's license status is what determines the hold.** The registered owner should come to the police department for a release once the driver of their vehicle acquires a valid license. The fact that you, the owner, have a valid license is not relevant.

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How do I get my stored vehicle released?

Vehicles which were stored, not impounded, are available for release at your convenience. If your vehicle was stored for registration purposes, this must be corrected first. The vehicle must have current registration or a moving permit issued by Department of Motor Vehicles, dated for the day of release. The registered owner and/or the last driver of the vehicle are the only people that may get a release for the vehicle. A valid driver license is also required. Payment information is detailed here.

If a vehicle was stored for evidence, the owner may obtain a release once the department has completed its investigation. Call dispatch at (530) 749-3900 to inquire about a vehicle seized as evidence.

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How do I get my impounded vehicle released?

If you want the vehicle released prior to 30 days, post-storage hearings may be requested by the registered owner of the vehicle. You may request a hearing at any time at the Marysville Police Department. However, to avoid a possible long wait, it is best to call ahead at (530) 749-3900.

Requests must be made within ten (10) days of the date appearing on the "Notice of Stored Vehicle," which is mailed to the registered owner and legal owner of record, or their agents. The post-storage hearing will be conducted on the same day or within 48 business hours of the request. Hearings are done in person by the Watch Commander. All tow hearings are recorded.

Once the 30 day impound period is over, the registered owner or last driver of the vehicle may obtain the vehicle release document (CHP-180) to present at the tow yard in order to pick up the vehicle. However, the vehicle must have current registration or have a temporary operating permit before it can be released.

The Marysville Police Department will verify the driver's license status of the person picking up the vehicle. If the registered owner does not possess a valid driver license, another person with a valid license must accompany the owner. Persons acting as agents for the owner must present a power of attorney document or a notarized letter authorizing the agent to take possession of the vehicle on the owner's behalf. The letter must identify the vehicle being picked up.

If a vehicle was seized as a vehicle forfeiture such as a violation of the Stipulated Vehicle Release Agreement, your vehicle will be sold at auction. Click here for more.

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How much does the release cost and who pays?

The registered owner of the impounded and stored vehicle is responsible for all towing, storage, lien and release fees. You must pay the following in this order:

  1. Vehicle Release Fee: $200
    Payable in cash or money order to the City of Marysville

  2. Regular Tow Fee (one time): Contact Tow Company
    Payable to the tow company

  3. Storage Fees (per day): Contact Tow Company
    Payable to the tow company

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What if I have a hardship? Can I get my car out early?

The California Legislature intended to provide safer roads for the motoring public by removing vehicles driven by unlicensed, suspended or revoked drivers for 30 days. A serious violation of the law calls for a serious response. Financial hardship or your need of the vehicle for work or school cannot be taken into account. The vehicle will remain in impound for a full 30 days and is released on the 31st day after it was towed, or when the driver at the time it was towed obtains a valid driver's license, whichever comes first.

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What does the law say about vehicle tows?

California Vehicle Code Section 14602.6 and 14607.4

On January 1, 1995, new laws were enacted relating to unlicensed drivers in California. Section 14602.6 authorizes law enforcement to tow and impound a vehicle for 30 days when driven by unlicensed, suspended, or revoked drivers. This means if you or someone who is driving your vehicle does not have a valid license and is stopped by law enforcement officers for any reason, your vehicle will be towed and impounded for thirty (30) days.

Legislative Findings

14607.4 - The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Driving a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways is a privilege, not a right.

(b) Of all drivers involved in fatal accidents, more than 20 percent are not licensed to drive. A driver with a suspended license is four times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a properly licensed driver.

(c) At any given time, it is estimated by the Department of Motor Vehicles that of some 20 million driver's licenses issued to Californians, 720,000 are suspended or revoked. Furthermore, 1,000,000 persons are estimated to be driving without ever having been licensed at all.

(d) Over 4,000 persons are killed in traffic accidents in California annually, and another 330,000 persons suffer injuries.

(e) Californians who comply with the law are frequently victims of traffic accidents caused by unlicensed drivers. These innocent victims suffer considerable pain and property loss at the hands of people who flaunt the law. The Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that 75 percent of all drivers whose driving privilege has been withdrawn continue to drive regardless of the law.

(f) It is necessary and appropriate to take additional steps to prevent unlicensed drivers from driving, including the civil forfeiture of vehicles used by unlicensed drivers. The state has a critical interest in enforcing its traffic laws and in keeping unlicensed drivers from illegally driving. Seizing the vehicles used by unlicensed drivers serves a significant governmental and public interest, namely the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of Californians from the harm of unlicensed drivers, who are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents, and the avoidance of the associated destruction and damage to lives and property.

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What is a Stipulated Vehicle Release Agreement?

An impounded vehicle may be released prior to 30 days if several criteria are met.

  1. The vehicle is the only vehicle registered to the household and you can prove a community property interest in the vehicle.
  2. The registered owner has a valid license and the vehicle is registered.
  3. All towing, storage, and administrative fees are paid.
  4. The registered owner signs a Stipulated Release Agreement.

The Stipulated Vehicle Release Agreement signature means, the registered owner agrees to automatic, future forfeiture and transfer of title to the state of any vehicle registered to that person, if the vehicle is driven by a driver with a suspended or revoked license, or by an unlicensed driver in the following seven years. In other words, your vehicle will be seized and sold at auction. Period.

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