2006 Code of Virginia § 46.2-1209 - Unattended or immobile vehicles, generally

46.2-1209. Unattended or immobile vehicles, generally.

No person shall leave any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part orcombination thereof immobilized or unattended on or adjacent to any roadwayif it constitutes a hazard in the use of the highway. No person shall leaveany immobilized or unattended motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part orcombination thereof longer than twenty-four hours on or adjacent to anyroadway outside the corporate limits of any city or town, or on an interstatehighway or limited access highway, expressway, or parkway inside thecorporate limits of any city or town. Any law-enforcement officer may removeit or have it removed to a storage area for safekeeping and shall report theremoval to the Department and to the owner of the motor vehicle, trailer,semitrailer, or combination as promptly as possible. Before obtainingpossession of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or combination, itsowner or successor in interest to ownership shall pay to the parties entitledthereto all costs incidental to its removal or storage. In any violation ofthis section the owner of such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or part orcombination of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, shall be presumed tobe the person committing the violation; however, this presumption shall berebuttable by competent evidence.

When a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination of a motorvehicle, trailer, or semitrailer was stolen or illegally used by a personother than the owner of the vehicle at the time of the theft or used withouthis authorization, express or implied, it shall be forthwith returned to itsowner or the owner's successor in interest, other than an insurance company,who shall be relieved of the payment of any costs charged by the towingoperator or storage facility for its daily storage, towing, and recoveryfees, provided that the owner removes the vehicle within five business daysfollowing the owner's receipt of written notice by certified mail, returnreceipt requested. If the vehicle's owner fails to remove the vehicle withinfive days of receipt of such notice, the vehicle shall be released to theowner upon payment of the full costs of storage, towing, and recovery fees,and the owner shall then be entitled to seek reimbursement from the statetreasury from the appropriation for criminal charges. The owner shall producea valid motor vehicle registration or other proof of ownership to theemployees of the facility wherein the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer orpart or combination thereof is being stored. In any case in which theidentity of the violator cannot be determined, or where it is found by acourt that this section was not violated, the costs of daily storage, towing,and recovery fees of the vehicle shall be reimbursed to the towing andrecovery operator and paid out of the state treasury from the appropriationfor criminal charges. Payment from the treasury shall be made no later than45 days from the application for such payment. In all cases where aninsurance company is the stolen vehicle owner's successor in interest, themotor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination thereof shall bereleased to the insurance company upon presentation of a valid motor vehicleregistration and payment by the insurance company to the towing operator orstorage facility for its daily storage, towing, and recovery fees. Theinsurance company shall be entitled to seek reimbursement for the costs ofthe daily storage, towing, and recovery fees through the state treasury fromthe appropriation for criminal charges. If any person convicted of violatingthis section fails or refuses to pay these costs or if the identity orwhereabouts of the owner is unknown and unascertainable after a diligentsearch has been made or after notice to the owner at his address as indicatedby the records of the Department and to the holder of any lien of record withthe Department, against the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, orcombination, the Commissioner may, after thirty days and after having thevalue of such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or combination determinedby three disinterested dealers dispose of it by public or private sale. Theproceeds from the sale shall be forthwith paid by him into the state treasuryand shall be set aside as a special fund to be used to meet the expenses ofthe Department in carrying out the duties required by this section and toreimburse the owner of such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, orcombination as hereafter provided in this section.

If after the sale or other disposition of the motor vehicle, trailer,semitrailer, or combination the ownership of a motor vehicle, trailer, orsemitrailer at the time of its removal is established satisfactorily to theCommissioner by the person claiming its ownership, the Commissioner shall payhim so much of the proceeds from the sale or other disposition of the motorvehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or combination as remains after paying thecosts of daily storage, towing, and recovery fees, investigation ofownership, appraisal, and sale.

(Code 1950, 46-5; 1952, c. 508; 1958, c. 541, 46.1-2; 1964, c. 103; 1972,cc. 267, 402, 408; 1976, c. 454; 1978, cc. 47, 605; 1988, c. 293; 1989, cc.256, 727; 2006, cc. 874, 891.)

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