Last Updated on November 4, 2022 by Lawrence Berezin
Car towed? My guess is just about every NYC driver has suffered the out-of-body experience of returning to their parking space and not finding their car. I’m afraid that staring at the empty parking space will not bring their missing vehicle back.
The routine, basic, run-of-the-mill violation tow
I’m going to say this over and over and over again,
“All of NYC is a tow-away zone. No notice required.”
This injustice dates back to 1956, resulting from a law passed by the NY State Legislature. There does not have to be a sign saying, tow-away zone, and your vehicle may be towed and for any reason.
You are the victim of a “Violation Tow” if you receive a parking ticket and have no unpaid parking tickets in judgment. The NYPD towed your vehicle and took it to one of the police impound lots in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Here is the pertinent information for each impound yard. Go directly to the impound lot to redeem your vehicle.
Moreover, the NYPD will tow your car when you receive an NYC parking ticket with more than $101 in parking tickets in judgment. You must:
- Pay your parking ticket judgments
- Obtain a Vehicle Release Form
- Go to the impound lot and pay the NYPD towing fees to get your vehicle back
I fought the law, and the law won: A judgment tow by the sheriff
If you have at least $350 in unpaid NYC parking tickets, a vehicle registered in your name is subject to tow by the Sheriff. The tow can occur at any time or any place your a marshall finds your vehicle in NYC. The Sheriff or his deputy is looking for your car!
Here is what happens after the Sheriff tows your vehicle:
- The Sheriff will begin the process of preparing your vehicle for auction after 72 hours.
- If you do not pick up your vehicle within seventy-two (72) hours of taking it from you, the Sheriff will begin the process of notifying you your vehicle is being prepared for auction unless you do the following: (1) pay for and pick up the vehicle, (2) ask a “Sale Hold” by going to any Finance Business Center.
- The vehicle is generally auctioned anytime after 10 days.
How do I stop the auction process?
- Go to a Department of Finance office as soon as possible and pay your tickets
- Obtain a Vehicle Release Form after you pay your parking tickets
- Take your Vehicle Release Form to the impound lot
- Pay substantial fees to the Sheriff
- Tow fee
- Execution fee
- Storage charges at $10 per day for the first 2 days; increases to $15 per day on the 3rd day
Judgment Tow by the City Marshall
Man, oh, live, how many people are looking for my car. A LOT!
The same story that applies to a judgment tow by the Sheriff applies to a City Marshall tow, except you:
- Should immediately contact Marshall’s office for the borough in which your car was towed
- Follow Marshall’s instructions about how to redeem your vehicle
You must be the registered owner to redeem your vehicle from the City Marshall
What do I need when I go to the impound lot?
- A valid driver’s license (or bring someone along with a valid driver’s license)
- The original vehicle registration or the vehicle title
- Valid insurance card registered to the vehicle
- Vehicle Release Form
- An accepted method of payment
If you use your vehicle regularly in NYC, knowing how to redeem your car as painlessly and efficiently as possible is essential. You can find your towed vehicle by clicking on this link and clicking on the “locate towed vehicle” bar in the right column.
Would you please share your experiences when you redeemed your vehicle to help other members of the driving public avoid some land mines?
[Editor’s note: Sources for this article were NYC DOF; and “The New York City Parking Survival Guide,” by Louis Camporeale, (Parking Pal Company Inc.)]
Here is a guide to frequently asked questions prepared with the help of the Evil Empire. Yup, you heard me correctly. It appears old Darth is trying to be more helpful about towing policies in NYC.
Maybe just maybe, old Darth will wise up and stop towing for dollars. Oh well, it’s a start.