2010 Arkansas Code
Title 27 - Transportation
Subtitle 4 - Motor Vehicular Traffic
Chapter 50 - Penalties And Enforcement
Subchapter 12 - Removal of Unattended or Abandoned Vehicles
§ 27-50-1207 - Removal of vehicles.

27-50-1207. Removal of vehicles.

(a) (1) Any law enforcement agency which directs the removal of unattended or abandoned vehicles shall adopt a written vehicle removal policy, the provisions of which shall not be in conflict with this subchapter.

(2) (A) Any vehicle removal policy shall provide that owner preference as defined by this subchapter shall be offered to the owner, to his or her agent, or to any competent occupant of any disabled or inoperative vehicle except in those instances where an emergency exists or where the immediate clearing of a public thoroughfare mandates an expedited towing service.

(B) (1) If a law enforcement officer fails to provide an owner of a vehicle with an owner preference in a nonemergency situation, then the owner may file a complaint with the law enforcement agency that employs the law enforcement officer or the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board, or both.

(2) Nothing in this subsection precludes a person who has been denied the right of owner preference from seeking any other legal or equitable remedy.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the towing of a vehicle in violation of other provisions of this subchapter.

(b) All law enforcement officers shall comply with the policies prescribed by their agencies as to the removal of any unattended or abandoned vehicle as defined by this subchapter.

(c) No law enforcement officer shall:

(1) Suggest or recommend any particular towing and storage firm to the owner, his or her agent, or any competent occupant of any disabled or inoperative vehicle; or

(2) Accept gifts or special consideration from the owner of a towing business or anyone acting on the owner's behalf in relation to removal of vehicles as provided by this subchapter.

(d) Upon request, any law enforcement officer or his or her agency who orders a removal pursuant to this subchapter shall provide to the owner, to his or her agent, or to any competent occupant of the removed vehicle the name, location, and telephone number of the towing and storage firm requested to remove and store the vehicle.

(e) (1) Should the owner or lienholder of a vehicle removed pursuant to this subchapter consider that the removal of the vehicle was not legally justified or properly subject to a law enforcement hold, the owner or lienholder may within thirty (30) days after removal or within thirty (30) days after the receipt of notification of any law enforcement hold from the towing and storage firm, whichever is later, seek a review to determine whether the unattended or abandoned property was wrongfully removed or withheld from the owner through the following procedures:

(A) In the case of a vehicle removed by or at the direction of a state agency, by filing a petition with the Arkansas State Claims Commission;

(B) In the case of a vehicle removed by or at the direction of a county or city agency and when the county or city has established an administrative review process, by filing a petition according to the established administrative review process; and

(C) In all other cases, including when the county or city has failed to establish an administrative review process, by filing a petition in the circuit court in the county where the unattended or abandoned vehicle is stored.

(2) In the case of a final decision reached through a county or city administrative review, the owner or lienholder may appeal an adverse ruling to the circuit court in the county where the unattended or abandoned vehicle is stored.

(3) The petition shall name the state agency ordering the tow as a respondent and, when filed in circuit court, shall also name the towing company among the respondents if the towing company still possesses the vehicle. In the case of removal originated by an agency of a political subdivision of the state, the petition shall name the county, city, or town as a respondent.

(4) (A) If the vehicle and its contents are subject to impoundment or seizure by law enforcement pursuant to the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure or pursuant to an order by any court, Rule 15 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure shall exclusively govern the release of the vehicle and its contents to the extent applicable.

(B) Nothing in this section shall operate to defeat the lien held by the towing company under 27-50-1208.

(f) (1) Upon the filing of the petition, the owner or lienholder may have the unattended or abandoned vehicle and contents released upon posting with the commission, with the court, or with the city or county clerk or other person designated by a political subdivision, as the case may be, a cash or surety bond equal to the amount of the charges for the towing and storage to ensure the payment of such charges in the event that he or she does not prevail.

(2) (A) Upon the posting of the bond and the payment of the applicable fees, the administrative decision maker, commission, or court, as the case may be, shall issue an order notifying the towing company and the respondent agency of the posting of the bond.

(B) Upon service of receipt of the order, the towing company shall release the stored property.

(3) At the time of release, after reasonable inspection, the owner or the lienholder shall give a receipt to the towing and storage firm reciting any claim for known loss or damage to the unattended or abandoned property or the contents thereof.

(g) Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the final order of the administrative decision maker, commission, or court, as the case may be, shall provide for immediate payment in full of the reasonable recovery, towing, and storage fees by the owner or lienholder of the unattended or abandoned property or by the respective law enforcement agency.

(h) In cases where the owner or lienholder has posted a cash or surety bond to obtain immediate release and the owner or lienholder is found to be responsible for reasonable recovery, towing, and storage fees, the administrative decision maker, commission, or court, as the case may be, shall declare the bond to be forfeited, with the amount paid to the towing and storage firm to cover reasonable recovery, towing, and storage fees.

(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to waive the sovereign immunity of the State of Arkansas nor any immunity granted to its political subdivisions.

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