Driving on the surface roads of Las Vegas and other parts of southern Nevada we can often see some interesting things. Aside from advertising agents spinning signs, construction cones, street people, and random people playing air guitar, we may also come across an abandoned car.
When we drive by that scene, many of our imaginations run wild.
We ask ourselves, who owns that car? How did it get there? Is the owner safe? What really happened to cause someone to just leave their car on the side of the road?
The local police force has the authority to remove abandoned cars, even if we may never know who left them there. If the abandoned car is causing traffic problems, the police will remove it quickly.
Cars can be abandoned for many reasons with the most popular one being that the owner ran out of gas. When that occurs, unless there is help nearby, the owner has to get a ride to the gas station, borrow a gas can, fill it up, and then return to his automobile to add gas to the gas tank.
That can be a time-consuming process.
If a car is not working correctly or is endangering the driver and passengers, it is a valid reason to leave it on the side of the road.
Additionally, a car might be abandoned on the roadside due to more serious reasons, such as committing a criminal offense. Perhaps the car was used as the getaway vehicle in a robbery or perhaps there is evidence in the car. Sometimes the cars on the side of the road are stolen. Regardless of the reason, if your car is left unattended then it can be towed at your expense.
A Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) authorizes the action of towing your car among other things.
It is NRS 484B.443 and is titled:
NRS 484B.443 Police officer authorized to remove certain vehicles; protocol for selection and use of towing services; duties and liability of tow car operator.
The statute has four subpoints that really span a variety of topics but all pertain to what a law enforcement agent must and can do if they come across an abandoned vehicle.
If you are ever cited for a ticket because you were found to have violated NRS 484B.443 then you should seek out legal assistance from Ticket Busters. Know that when you do contact our office that you will be treated with respect by our team including the receptionist you first speak to all the way to the attorney who will be working your case.
We know how important good communication is and will keep you up-to-date and updated on the inner workings of your ticket case. We fully comprehend that you are likely new to this environment and are probably a bit stressed to have to be dealing with it so we will ensure you are always up to date.
Officers Can Move Your Vehicle
The first subpoint to this NRS discusses the actions that a police officer must take if they find a stationary vehicle in a roadway in Nevada that is violating the various statutes. It specifically reads:
1. Whenever any police officer finds a vehicle standing upon a highway in violation of any of the provisions of chapters 484A to 484E, inclusive, of NRS, the officer may move the vehicle, or require the driver or person in charge of the vehicle to move it, to a position off the paved, improved or main-traveled part of the highway.
This aspect of the statute makes a couple of assumptions. The first one is that the automobile is operable.
Stating that the officer is authorized to move the vehicle not only suggests that the car can be driven but also that law enforcement agencies can access it. Forcing the owner to also move the vehicle to a safer location also makes that same assumption.
Officers Can Get Your Car Towed
2. Whenever any police officer finds a vehicle unattended or disabled upon any highway, bridge or causeway, or in any tunnel, where the vehicle constitutes an obstruction to traffic or interferes with the normal flow of traffic, the officer may provide for the immediate removal of the vehicle.
So if a police officer is driving their cruiser and sees an abandoned automobile that is causing a hazard of some kind, they are able to get that vehicle towed.
At times, when a car is no longer drivable or out of gas, the driver may try to park it on the side of the road. However, they may not always succeed in parking it completely on the shoulder.
If the tail end of the car is overlapping onto a lane or obstructing traffic flow then the police certainly have a right to get the car removed from the roadway.
Accepted Reasons for Removal of Vehicles
Sub point number three gives three specific reasons for when a law enforcement officer can remove a vehicle from the roadway or from a garage:
3. Any police officer may, subject to the requirements of subsection 4, remove any vehicle or part of a vehicle found on the highway, or cause it to be removed, to a garage or other place of safekeeping if:
Here we will summarize the actual verbiage from the NRS:
If the vehicle cannot run due to being involved in a car crash. Along with this same reason is if the driver or person who owns the vehicle is incapacitated, is not present or does not respond within specific time frames.
So just as we mentioned above, if a car is abandoned with the owner not being in the vicinity the automobile can be removed. If the owner is present but is unable to safely operate the vehicle then the car may also be removed.
This could be for reasons stemming from an injury due to a recent car accident or due to something else such as being under the influence of drugs, narcotics or prescription drugs. Or simply due to a medical episode.
If a police officer is forced to handcuff and arrest the driver of the automobile or its owner for any alleged offense then the car can be removed.
If a person who owns a vehicle that has been abandoned on a freeway in Nevada (which not only includes state roads but U.S. highways) and has left the vehicle for twenty four hours or more the car can be removed.
If an owner of a vehicle leaves their car unattended for seventy-two hours or more on any other type of roadway then that car can be removed by law enforcement.
Protocol to Be Followed Before Removal of Car
The final sub-point to this statute is quite long so we will not include the actual verbiage here. However, it can be summarized as it discusses what the tow truck driver must do if they are the ones hauling the abandoned vehicle off.
But if the car does need to be removed then there should be a protocol by each police department to determine what tow service gets the call.
Once the tow driver is called, they are to utilize the most efficient route to tow the car to its destination. If the vehicle is damaged during the towing process, then the towing company is responsible.
A car may be left unattended for longer by police if they need to collect evidence. NRS 484B.447 is the statute that discusses the preservation of evidence from an automobile that has been removed from a roadway in Nevada.
If a police officer comes across an abandoned vehicle and has probable cause (PC) to think that the car or any of the contents within it may contain evidence from criminal activity then they can take action. The officer must take proper steps allowed to them by law and can do what is reasonably necessary to preserve the evidence they are trying to collect.
Received a Ticket for Abandoning Your Vehicle?
Contact Ticket Busters if you are ever cited with a ticket for abandoning your car in Nevada. We are fully aware that customer service is becoming more and more digital and less personable.
Our goal is to ensure you do not miss out on face-to-face interactions with our team. And that is one of the main reasons we start the process out with a meeting to review your case in person.
You can certainly call or email to set up that appointment but we do want to meet with you and please note that our initial strategy session is of no charge to you. Feel free to stop by our Ticket Busters office in downtown Las Vegas at any time during normal business hours.