Parking Ticket Seizures: What Lienholders Need to Know

Many cities and towns use license plate reader technology to scan for “scofflaws.” Scofflaws generally are people who have two or more unpaid parking tickets. When a license plate registered to a scofflaw is found, the typical practice is to boot the vehicle, and then tow it away to an impound yard. By the time the lienholder discovers the boot and tow, various charges have piled up, including towing, storage, and enforcement fees. New York law is very clear that a lienholder cannot be made to pay the parking tickets themselves. But, what about the towing and storage fees?

In the case recent of Santander v County of Nassau (E.D.N.Y. 2022) the court held that the County’s boot and tow procedure was invalid because it permitted a tow yard to assert a lien against a vehicle for towing and storage charges without a hearing. In short, the lienholder cannot be forced to pay towing and storage fees imposed after a towing for unpaid parking tickets. 

Lienholders who are faced with parking ticket seizures can use this knowledge to recover vehicles without paying undue fees.

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