F.A.Q. about Car Towing in NYC

NYC parking ticket and tow

Car towing in NYC has been on the rise

Here are some frequently asked questions about car towing in NYC

  • Will my car be towed if I park in NYC and have $350.00 in outstanding parking ticket judgments?
    •  You betcha! The city marshal and sheriff search for vehicles that have $350.00 or more in parking ticket judgments. If they find your vehicle, it will be towed
  • Where can I find my vehicle, if it is towed by the N.Y.P.D?
  • How can I find out if my vehicle has been towed?
  • Can I learn about how to redeem my towed vehicle?

fight nyc parking ticketsHas your chariot ever been the victim of Captain Hook? Please share your experience. It’s how we learn!

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  1. Charles says

    Hey Larry,

    Longtime fan of your site and blog. Love the redesign…looks great. I came to this post, like so many, after a tale of woe. Let me explain. The DOT recently did some work on one of the streets adjacent to my co-op in Queens. After tearing up a portion of the street, a temporary restriction sign went up indicating there was no parking on the torn-up portion on Monday May 12. Well, they must have been running behind schedule, because Monday May 12 came and went and the street was still a mess.

    Fast forward to Saturday May 17. I park my car in a legal space with no temporary restriction signs posted. Not only that, I’m pretty sure I was behind the actual section that needed to be repaved. (Admittedly going from memory here, and it’s possible my front wheels were over. Regardless, no signs, as I said.)

    You can probably see where this is going. On Monday May 19 the crew showed up and kindly relocated my vehicle to make room for the street work. Rather unkindly, they relocated it rear end first to a metered lot under Queens Blvd.

    After getting home from work on Thursday, I dutifully went out to move my vehicle for alternate side cleaning. Except it wasn’t there. I called the precinct and they had no record of it being relocated. They suggested I look around at adjacent blocks. After a quick stroll, I found my car with three separate tickets on the window, totaling $155. The first was issued at noon on Tuesday, for parking rear facing in a head only space ($60). They came back and nailed me again around 5:30 for an expired meter ($35). Then they came back to the well a third time on Wednesday morning, hitting me for another rear-facing violation and another $60.

    I guess on Thursday they decided I had suffered enough? Bottom line is I feel used and abused after parking my car in a legal space and then coming back to a moved car with over $150 in tickets.

    Interestingly, I also found a muni-meter receipt mixed in with the tickets. Maybe the construction guys meant to move it back when they were finished and forgot? I’ll never know, but since I don’t have any evidence aside from a picture of my car in the metered lot, I’m not sure whether I can fight. Any thoughts?

    • Larry Berezin says

      Hey Charles,
      Thanks for your very kind words. They mean a lot to me.
      Boy, what a nightmare. Sorry, man.

      The first thing I would do is check for mistakes on the front of the tickets. Any omitted, misdescribed, or illegible required elements?
      What about the place of occurrence? Are they consistent and accurate?

      Is construction still going on? If so, any person there you can speak with?
      Is there an attendant at the “metered lot?”
      Maybe these guys relocate cars there under these type circumstances.

      Looking forward to your reply.

      • Charles says

        Unfortunately no such luck. The construction is finished, although when I went back for a second look there is still a piece of equipment there which has the name of the company. No attendants in the lot under Queens Blvd; it’s a large lot spanning several blocks under the elevated portion of the 7 train. No defects in the ticket that I can see. The only possible problem is a bit of vagueness under “Place of Occurrence”. All three officers simply wrote “Sunnyside Lot”. I wonder if this is a situation where my City Councilman’s constituent services might be helpful. Maybe they could have the construction company reimburse me for the tickets.

  2. Dave Astoria says

    Larry, I parked my car last weekend in a Tuesday street cleaning spot about two blocks away from my building on a different street. I forgot to move it Tuesday morning, then forgot that I’d forgotten. I happened to be walking down my own street last (Friday) night in a direction I typically don’t when I notice my car parked there, decidedly not where I had left it, around the corner from where I had parked it. Unfortunately it was in a meter spot, so I had four days worth of parking tickets. The doors were locked and there were no indications the car had been entered or driven, nor was there a note or anything explaining what had happened. Is it possible that the city towed it around the corner on street cleaning day? Should I consider that a favor, if so, since towing fees might have cost me more than the tickets, or do I have a right to feel aggrieved and maybe even contest the tickets? Why would the city or one of its towing vendors forego the full towing fees by moving my car just a little but put in the time and energy to tow it rather than just ticket and move on? I’ve never been more than ticketed for being in a street cleaning spot before, so the whole thing came as a surprise and seems kind of bizarre. Many thanks for any light you can shed or advice you can give.

    • says

      Dear Dave,
      Good morning.
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      Another friend related a similar story about finding his car mysteriously relocated to another parking space. However, it was left in a bus stop zone! The reason it was moved was because it was parked in a temporary construction zone and his chariot prevented the crew from doing their work.

      You pose a very interesting question. It appears that when these cars are moved they are parked “in harms way.” By that I mean, in a parking space that may cause some pain, i.e., bus stop zone, metered space, no standing zone, etc.

      In my humble opinion, I would check the parking tickets for omitted, misdescribed, or illegible required elements. If I found any, I would fight ‘em. I would overlook the disconcerting fact that some unknown entity moved my car because the Evil Empire isn’t going to care or dismiss your parking ticket because of the “unknown entity moved my car” defense.

      Let us know what you decide to do, Steve.

  3. William Smith says

    I have more of a question my wife accumulated over $900 in parking tickets and fines while in NY. I live in another state and the vehicle was not registered in NY. We have since disposed of the vehicle. My wife is presently driving different vehicle registered to me. Can that vehicle be towed because of tickets from previous vehicle. The car being driven now has different registration.

    • says

      Dear William,
      Good morning.
      In my humble opinion, the Evil Empire cannot grab a car registered to someone other than the person and plate that received the nasty parking tickets…Except:
      1. If the Evil Empire secures a parking ticket judgment, files the judgment in NY adult court, and then refers the perfected NY judgment to a lawyer in your wife’s state of residence, the lawyer files the foreign NY judgment in the court system of your wife’s state, and then engages in collection activity.

      I doubt this will ever happen.
      Parking tickets die after 8 years, 3 months from issuance.

      Good luck.

  4. Raymond Berrios says

    Hey Larry,

    My car just got booted for the wrong reasons right now, in Bronx New York. I did not park illegally, and I did not owe an outstanding amount on parking tickets, just two $45 parking tickets and it hasn’t even been a month yet that I’ve had those tickets. I had to confirm this so I ran my license plate number and I was right, I only owed those two tickets with a total of $90. To my understanding I know a vehicle cannot be booted unless the owner owes $350 or more in tickets to the city. I’ve taken pictures of the parking sign that states I couldn’t park on Mondays or Thursdays, it’s Wednesday. I’ve also taken pictures of the car and where it was located when booted and even recorded a video just so there’s no claim that we moved the vehicle, so proof is gathered.

    What can I do to fight this? I’m about to call the police and have it removed with all of the evidence I have at hand, this is ridiculous. Thanks in advance Larry. I hope to hear from you soon.

    • says


      What a nightmare! Sorry for your pain.

      Was your car issued a parking ticket or booted without being issued a parking ticket? Has the boot been removed?

      What information did Pay Lock (the boot contractor) give you when you called to get the boot removed? Does Pay Lock claim you have outstanding parking tickets in judgment in excess of $350?

      Good luck.

  5. says

    Hi Larry,

    Are Temporary construction sign in affect when there is no construction happening on that particular day? Reason I ask is that I got a ticket with this scenario. I was at the beginning of the block with several cars parked behind me, but it seems I was the only one that got a ticket. The other cars did not have any sort of special tag or decals etc… Just want to make sure I’m not getting shorthanded by New York finest and their monthly quota. The ticket violation code is 408-d. Thank you in advance.

    • says

      Good morning.
      Excellent question.
      Section d is the general no parking rule.
      1. Was the rule displayed on the temporary sign, “no parking?”
      2. Was it “no parking anytime?”
      3. Did the arrow on the temporary sign point to your parking space?

      If the answers to any of these questions is “no,” you have a defense to this evil parking ticket.

      Looking forward to your reply.

      • Tony Perez says

        Hi Larry,

        The response to your questions is yes across the board. I did see the sign, but since there was no constructions in that particular day and other cars were parked on the same block I was under the impression it was okay to park. I guess regardless of whether or not there is actual construction I should not park under does parking restriction.

        Thank you for your time and input.

        • says

          You’re very welcome.

          Social proof is a tough psychological trigger to ignore. The fact there was a line of cars parked and no parking tickets displayed on the windshield is tough to ignore…But, you’re right, the absence of parking tickets and construction set the trap. I’m sure you won’t “take the bait” next time.

          Good luck.
          Park safely.

  6. paul says

    Hi Larry,

    My car was towed and I paid for it hours ago at the 38th st/12 Ave pound. My vehicle was taken even as I was legally parked in a Tues/Friday zone near Riverside Park. Apparently, all cars were removed this Thursday morning in observation of 9/11. Besides paying the $185 for tow, I also got $65 for no parking on 88 Street, where I was not parked on Tuesday night. Instead, I was parked north of the Firemen Memorial on Riverside Drive/ 100 Street.
    While I will be disputing the parking ticket for sure regarding the location and the wrong car color. I cannot find anywhere on NYC finance to dispute the tow fee of $185.
    Any thoughts Larry?


    • says

      Dear Paul,
      Man-o-live what a shame!

      If you beat the parking ticket, the next step is to file an application for a refund of the tow charges. Here’s a link to the online application.

      or you can find a black button to click on our website to find the tow refund form

      “Color” is not a required element and if omitted, misdescribed, or illegible, “color” will not entitle you to a dismissal.

      It is not easy to prove a misdescribed place of occurrence. How do you intend to prove you didn’t park at the location entered on your parking ticket?

      Looking forward to your reply.

    • says

      Dear Sophia,

      Good morning.
      Great question.

      By now, everyone must be tired of my oft-repeated phrase, “All NYC is a tow-away zone-no notice required.” But, your question has never been asked before…Does a cop or warrior have to issue a parking ticket before calling in Captain Hook?

      I’ve reviewed the NY State VTL where this evil law was born, and there is nothing mentioned in the text of the law requiring a parking ticket to actually be issued. The law talks in terms of parking violation, obstructing traffic, etc…But doesn’t required a parking ticket to be issued before a tow.

      If a warrior sees a car violating any one of the 99 separate parking violations, it appears she can call in Captain Hook without issuing a parking ticket for the perceived violation.

      Was you car towed without a parking ticket?


  7. Larry Berezin says

    I like your idea of contacting your City Councilman.

    If that doesn’t work, you may wish to fight the parking tickets and raise the defense of a defective required element. The “Sunnyside Lot” does not describe the location of your car when the parking tickets were issued with sufficient specificity. Submit a couple of photographs, or map views of the lot to show the huge size of it.

    Was the “expired meter” a muni meter? Did the warrior enter the muni meter number? Or the mechanical meter number?


  8. Charles says

    Just wanted to give a quick update my relocation issue. I contacted my City Councilman’s constituent liaison who gave me a letter from the councilman that backed up my story. I sent it in with all three tickets and a politely worded letter requesting that the tickets be dismissed. I also raised the vague “Place of Occurrence” defense at your suggestion. Earlier this week, I received three separate dismissal letters, stating that I had submitted convincing evidence that my vehicle had been relocated due to construction! No ruling on the the vague place of occurrence, so I’ll have that in my pocket if I ever get ticketed in that lot again! Thanks so much for your suggestions and help. You’ve probably saved by $200-$300 over the years. Hope I have the chance to buy you a drink someday.

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