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What are my Towing Rights in California?

Chalk board that says "Know the rules" | Towing Rights California |


In California, there are many towing companies. Some are operated by good people. Other towing companies are operated by bad people who can frustrate you in California. As a car owner its necessary to pay good attention to the California Towing Laws. The laws will help understand what is required of you. The law also gives you some rights when the car is towed. It is important to review these laws. They will help you save your money and time. The following
are major towing rights in California.


A Right for your Car to be Towed within 10 Miles

In California, your car cannot be towed beyond 10 miles from the point it was taken. This is your right. When the towing company finds your car in a place where it should be legally towed it should only be taken in a maximum of the 10 miles. It can only be taken further in the case
where the towing company has obtained a written authorization to do so from the California law enforcement department.

Right to File a Complaint about an Illegal Tow

If you believe that your car was towed illegally, you have the right to file a complaint. Contact the California law enforcement and file a complaint with California Better Business Bureau. Give relevant information concerning the tow which makes you believe it’s illegal. You can be
compensated by the towing company when it is found the tow was illegal.

Right to Pay half of the Towing Cost if You Find the Tow in Action

If you are able to find the tow in action you can stop it. This can even be after towing company has hitched your vehicle on the towing truck. When the truck is not on the public road, you have the right to request your car to be released. The truck driver has the obligation to release the car and charge you at most half of the towing fee.

The Right for your Tow to be Authorized by Property Owner

No towing company has the authority to hitch your car without authorization by the owner of the private property. This is especially when your car is blocking their driveway or walkway. The person authorizing this tow should be either a commercial tenant, employee of a commercial
tenant, owner of the property of the property or an employee of the owner of the property. The authorization should be signed. The person authorizing the tow should also have informed the California Police Department at least one hour before the tow.

A Right to a Fee Reduction When a Car is Reclaimed Within 24 Hours

California State Law gives the right to the vehicle owner not to pay more than one day cost of storage when they claim their car within 24 hours from the time the car was towed. If you are charged for more than one day, you should report the towing company to the local police.
Knowing your towing rights ensures you protect yourself from malicious towing companies. These are towing companies that are known for taking advantage of the ignorance of most of the car owners about their towing rights.


  1. Frank Cervantes on January 2, 2022 at 6:00 am

    Thank you for having this information, My vehicle was illegally Toad from the alley after me coming out of my house and seeing the tow truck backing up before it was hitched. I told them that I would pay them for him not to take it, he said no that it was too late that I would have to go get it the next day. So I asked the officer (Firestone sheriff Los Angeles South East division). I he could stop my car from being towed due to the fact that u had an emergency run to the rest room, he replied and lied that he had been there for 2 hours, the only reason I was able know that my car was was being towed, was because I heard the reverse alarm of a commercial vehicle in the alley. And that’s when I came out and saw t b e citioation. This sheriff operation has been harassing me for the the past 40 years seams like it all through my young kid, teenager, young man, and now a senior, How could I request some assistance to reprimand these bullies of cops.

    • SFcitytowing on January 7, 2022 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Frank.

      Must have missed this comment you left. Hope you got some help after posting this. I would recommend you talk to an attorney to see what options you have.

      San Francisco Bay Area Towing

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