Minnesota’s Laws for Motor Vehicle Towing

If you live anywhere near Minneapolis, then you’ve probably experienced the horrible feeling of having your car confiscated for street plowing. The initial shock of finding your car gone after parking it on a part of the curb for later creates a lot of anxiety, because you know you’ll have to go through a process of getting it back. That process can be costly, depressing, and frustrating, so it’s quite natural to assume that your city is using towing laws to cheat you out of some money.

Does the City Make Money Off Tows?

However, in Minneapolis, such an assumption just isn’t true. Mike Kennedy, the director of transportation in Minneapolis, is in charge of emergency street clearing. Kennedy says that it costs more for the city than the average price the car owner pays to get his or her car back, around $183. Kennedy says that the costs for loss in productivity experienced in plowing due to the city’s rule enforcement is much more than what the city charges and gets back once a car is towed. In fact, Minneapolis spends around $750,000 a snow season and only takes in about $373,000 back in towing charges, putting the city at a loss of about $373,000 annually.

Public Property Towing Laws

As far as public property towing laws are concerned, Minnesota Statute 169.041 states that prior to a car being towed, the officer observing the infraction must write a parking citation and a towing report. On the towing report, the officer has to describe the car and also write down why the car is being towed, and then both the officer and tow truck driver sign that report. On freeways, a freeway service patrol employee can have a vehicle towed from the highway without a citation, but that employee must still file a written towing report.

Public Property Waiting Period

Any vehicle that has been ticketed for towing cannot be removed from a public property area until a four-hour waiting period has passed, which is stated in Minnesota statute 169.041. However, that law does have exceptions, like removing a vehicle right away if it is cutting off access to a fire hydrant, bus sign, driveway, taxi stand, or stop sign, or parked in a no-parking zone.

Towing and Registration

A vehicle’s registration must be expired for more than 90 days to be towed unless the car is parked in a way that allows for immediate towing. If a car is parked at an expired parking meter, it also cannot be towed unless the vehicle has more than five unpaid parking tickets attached to it already.

Private Property Towing Laws

In Minnesota, private parking towing laws are addressed by Minnesota Statute 168B.04. That statute says that any unauthorized vehicle parked on private property can be immediately impounded. If a car is parked incorrectly at a nonresidential property, it can be impounded within 24 hours. If a car is abandoned at a mechanics shop, it can be impounded five business days after a certified mail notice is sent to the owner.

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