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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1

    Default Car Towed by Apartment Complex for Expired Sticker Despite Current Registration

    I live in Florida. My car was towed this morning, unbeknownst to me. I went outside to get in the car to go to work and it wasn't there. I called the police who informed me that it had been towed. I called the tow company who told me that they towed it because the sticker is expired, and my car is now impounded. I told them that my registration is current because it IS. They told me I still needed to pay them in order to pick it up. They told me they had put a 24-hour notice sticker on the car, but yesterday was my day off and I didn't even go outside!

    1) Aren't they required to double-check before they tow a vehicle if the registration IS in fact expired or not? (I did a simple check on the DMV website myself just a little while ago. I entered the vehicle ID #, and the info came right up, showing that everything is current and up-to-date.)

    I called the police again who told me I should file a report for stolen vehicle and contact the DMV also to report it stolen. I wanted to ask an attorney for advice before I do anything. I've been calling around, and one person answered and told me that yes, I should file a report for stolen vehicle. She said she was one of the attorneys there at that firm, but that another attorney would call me back.

    2) Should I go pick up the car and pay for it? Do I file a small claims dispute/suit before or after?

    Help! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    RTR/WDE
    Posts
    1,724

    Default Re: Car Towed from My Apt Complex for Expired Sticker, but My Registration is Up-To-D

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    Under Florida law, yes, the tow company MUST contact police, generally within 1 hour of the tow, to nofity police of the tow - so that if you call to report the vehicle stolen, the police can tell you it's not stolen, but rather, towed for a violation and they can give you the name and contact info for the tow company in question. If the bike didn't have the sticker affixed, for whatever reason, the tow company has a valid tow - even if the registration fees were paid. You wouldn't believe how many vehicles get towed because owners did things like putting the sticker in the glove compartment and forgot or neglected to actually put it ON. Those tows are still valid too for the same reason: the law requires the sticker to actually BE on there, visible, ON the tag. The way to GET the sticker is to pay the registration, but the vehicle isn't fully lawful to be on public roadways OR parked in a place visible from public view, unless it has the sticker affixed also. BOTH elements are required.

    If you have reason to think your sticker was stolen (which is pretty common, especially in apartment complex lots with many vehicles), then you'll want to file a police report. But get your bike out quickly, as the storage fees are going to continue to accumulate daily and it's going to get expensive quickly. If your registration fees are current, filing the police report will do several helpful things: (a) it'll make it cheaper and easier for you to get a replacement sticker, (b) it'll enter your sticker into the NCIC system, so law enforcement will be able to identify it as stolen in case they come across it, and (c) it'll put police on notice that potential sticker theft is occurring in your area. Also, after you affix your new sticker, use something like an exacto knife to cut a slice thru it, such that it's still there, but won't come off in once piece; this makes it more difficult for someone to pull it off and makes it more likely to be spotted by law enforcement as being "not quite right" should someone try to purloin your sticker for their own use.
    From a similar thread in the same state.

    I'd suggest go getting your car out of hock from the towing company and putting that registration sticker on it before hitting the road. And consider yourself schooled in the ways of car registration in Florida.
    Don't make me quote Monty Python at you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,780

    Default Re: Car Towed from My Apt Complex for Expired Sticker, but My Registration is Up-To-D

    Quote Quoting seenaroxon
    View Post
    1) Aren't they required to double-check before they tow a vehicle if the registration IS in fact expired or not?
    No.

    All they are required to do is look at the sticker that's on the car. If you didn't replace an expired sticker with a current sticker, that's on you.

    Quote Quoting seenaroxon
    View Post
    I called the police again who told me I should file a report for stolen vehicle and contact the DMV also to report it stolen.
    Dumb idea. The police already told you it was towed. What kind of idiot then tells you to report it stolen.

    Quote Quoting seenaroxon
    View Post
    I wanted to ask an attorney for advice before I do anything. I've been calling around, and one person answered and told me that yes, I should file a report for stolen vehicle. She said she was one of the attorneys there at that firm, but that another attorney would call me back.
    Never rely on phone advice from an attorney's office. It would still be filing a false police report and I can't believe that the police and a lawyer are actually telling you that when you tell them your car got towed for an EXPIRED STICKER or aren't you making that clear?

    Quote Quoting seenaroxon
    View Post

    2) Should I go pick up the car and pay for it?
    Yes.

    You aren't getting it back any other way and storage charges will pile up.

    Quote Quoting seenaroxon
    View Post
    Do I file a small claims dispute/suit before or after?
    Don't waste your time. You won't win it. Your car got towed for an EXPIRED STICKER. Nobody did anything wrong to you.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Car Towed from My Apt Complex for Expired Sticker, but My Registration is Up-To-D

    Agree with both above. If your vehicle is visible (in other words not in a garage or in a fenced in back yard), then here in Florida it is "in public"...yes, even if on the private property of an apartment complex. That means that the law requires you to both HAVE and to AFFIX a valid registration sticker. If you didn't do that, then you were NOT in compliance with the law and your vehicle can be lawfully towed. Now go pick up your car - the longer it sits at the tow yard, the more expensive it will be to get it BACK. And, bring your valid sticker WITH YOU to put ON the vehicle, else they may STILL not release the vehicle to you (or if they do, tow companies and law enforcement work together, and you really don't want the EXTRA expense of getting pulled over by police for driving with an expired sticker, do you?)

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