V C Section 22851.3 Disposition of Abandoned Low Valued Vehicles

Disposition of Abandoned Low-Valued Vehicles

22851.3.  Whenever a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, or any other employee of a public agency authorized pursuant to Section 22669, removes, or causes the removal of, a vehicle pursuant to Section 22669 and the public agency or, at the request of the public agency, the lienholder determines the estimated value of the vehicle is five hundred dollars ($500) or less, the public agency that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle shall cause the disposal of the vehicle under this section, subject to all of the following requirements:

(a) Not less than 72 hours before the vehicle is removed, the peace officer or the authorized public employee has securely attached to the vehicle a distinctive notice which states that the vehicle will be removed by the public agency. This subdivision does not apply to abandoned vehicles removed pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 22669 which are determined by the public agency to have an estimated value of three hundred dollars ($300) or less.

(b) Immediately after removal of the vehicle, the public agency which removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle shall notify the Stolen Vehicle System of the Department of Justice in Sacramento of the removal.

(c) The public agency that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle or, at the request of the public agency, the lienholder shall obtain a copy of the names and addresses of all persons having an interest in the vehicle, if any, from the Department of Motor Vehicles either directly or by use of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. This subdivision does not require the public agency or lienholder to obtain a copy of the actual record on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(d) Within 48 hours of the removal, excluding weekends and holidays, the public agency that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle or, at the request of the public agency, the lienholder shall send a notice to the registered and legal owners at their addresses of record with the Department of Motor Vehicles, and to any other person known to have an interest in the vehicle. A notice sent by the public agency shall be sent by certified or first-class mail, and a notice sent by the lienholder shall be sent by certified mail. The notice shall include all of the following information:

(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the public agency providing the notice.

(2) The location of the place of storage and description of the vehicle which shall include, if available, the vehicle make, license plate number, vehicle identification number, and mileage.

(3) The authority and purpose for the removal of the vehicle.

(4) A statement that the vehicle may be disposed of 15 days from the date of the notice.

(5) A statement that the owners and interested persons, or their agents, have the opportunity for a poststorage hearing before the public agency that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle to determine the validity of the storage if a request for a hearing is made in person, in writing, or by telephone within 10 days from the date of notice; that, if the owner or interested person, or his or her agent, disagrees with the decision of the public agency, the decision may be reviewed pursuant to Section 11523 of the Government Code; and that during the time of the initial hearing, or during the time the decision is being reviewed pursuant to Section 11523 of the Government Code, the vehicle in question may not be disposed of.

(e) (1) A requested hearing shall be conducted within 48 hours of the request, excluding weekends and holidays. The public agency that removed the vehicle may authorize its own officers to conduct the hearing if the hearing officer is not the same person who directed the storage of the vehicle.

(2) Failure of either the registered or legal owner or interested person, or his or her agent, to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall satisfy the poststorage validity hearing requirement of this section.

(f) The public agency employing the person, or utilizing the services of a contractor or franchiser pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 22669, that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle and that directed any towing or storage, is responsible for the costs incurred for towing and storage if it is determined in the hearing that reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle was abandoned are not established.

(g) An authorization for disposal may not be issued by the public agency that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle to a lienholder who is storing the vehicle prior to the conclusion of a requested poststorage hearing or any judicial review of that hearing.

(h) If, after 15 days from the notification date, the vehicle remains unclaimed and the towing and storage fees have not been paid, and if no request for a poststorage hearing was requested or a poststorage hearing was not attended, the public agency that removed, or caused the removal of, the vehicle shall provide to the lienholder who is storing the vehicle, on a form approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles, authorization to dispose of the vehicle. The lienholder may request the public agency to provide the authorization to dispose of the vehicle.

(i) If the vehicle is claimed by the owner or his or her agent within 15 days of the notice date, the lienholder who is storing the vehicle may collect reasonable fees for services rendered, but may not collect lien sale fees as provided in Section 22851.12.

(j) Disposal of the vehicle by the lienholder who is storing the vehicle may only be to a licensed dismantler or scrap iron processor. A copy of the public agency's authorization for disposal shall be forwarded to the licensed dismantler within five days of disposal to a licensed dismantler. A copy of the public agency's authorization for disposal shall be retained by the lienholder who stored the vehicle for a period of 90 days if the vehicle is disposed of to a scrap iron processor.

(k) If the names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of the vehicle are not available from the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles, either directly or by use of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, the public agency may issue to the lienholder who stored the vehicle an authorization for disposal at any time after the removal.

The lienholder may request the public agency to issue an authorization for disposal after the lienholder ascertains that the names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of the vehicle are not available from the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles either directly or by use of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System.

(l) A vehicle disposed of pursuant to this section may not be reconstructed or made operable, unless it is a vehicle that qualifies for either horseless carriage license plates or historical vehicle license plates, pursuant to Section 5004, in which case the vehicle may be reconstructed or made operable.

Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 67, Stats. 2003. Effective January 1, 2004.