In every US state, there is a set of towing laws that serves as guidelines when parked vehicles are towed to a storage facility by a commercial towing truck. In California, there are four specific towing laws deemed as unique when compared to those in place in other American states. It is advisable to know these laws beforehand if one has plans of driving within The Golden State.

Right of Private Property Owners to Have a Vehicle Towed

If your vehicle is parled on a private property without express permission of the property owner, the latter can have your vehicle removed by a towing company without asking your and anyone else’s permission. However, if a vehicle got stalled or became non functioning while on a private property, let’s say a parking lot, the owner of that property must wait for a 24-hour period to lapse before asking the local traffic enforcement department to have the vehicle removed.

Mandatory Posting of Signs in Public Areas

In public areas in California, a towing company can legally tow a parked vehicle if there are “no parking” signs posted in conspicuous areas. The signs must be visible and measure at least 17×22 inches in size, in order to make the towing and removal of the vehicle legal.

Otherwise, if a sign is not posted where it is visible, or is smaller than the legally prescribed size, a towing company who tows away a vehicle parked in that public property, is commiting an illegal act known as “predatory towing.”

Still, a vehicle can stay parked on a public street without moving; but only up to a maximum of 72 houts or 3 days. If it stays parked or will not move out of the same place for three consecutive days, the vehicle in question will be considered abandoned and will be cited as such and/or towed off legally. Under California laws, a car that has been cited as abandoned can be towed immediately without further notice to the vehicle owner, especially if they pose as hazard or threat to a neighborhood.

Storage Fee Restrictions

A California law does not allow towing companies to charge and collect more than a day’s worth of storage on a vehicle reclaimed within 24 hours of the initial towing action. If such is the case, the towing company in violation of this California towing law may be the subject of a valid complaint.

Varying Holiday Parking Restrictions Across Different California Jurisdictions

In the event that parking restrictions have been lifted by certain towns or cities because of a holiday or event, have awareness that such lifting may not be recognized at all in other California jurisdictions. This denotes that a towing company san jose or bay area entities requested to render towing services, the towing action is legal if the valid and visible no-parking signs remain in place. As it is, that area remains a tow-away zone despite the holiday or a special event.

That is why regardless of whether you’re a California native or a visitor, it is always important to know the areas considered as tow zones, and to carefully read the signs posted in every area, especially those posted in private properties.