Your car might be at a city or county lot or it may be at a private impound lot that the tow company has a contract with. You can call city hall to ask where your car was taken.
If your car is towed from a parking lot or business, there is usually a sign posted with the name of the tow company and phone number.
You can try to find your car by calling local impound lots or checking their websites if they have one. There is no statewide number or website for this. You have to search in your city or county to find places to call or look up.
If your car was impounded or towed by a city or government agency, you should get a letter within 5 business days that says:
When your car was towed and from where
Information about your car, like the year, make, model and the serial number
Where your car is
The letter should also explain:
about your right to get your car back and what the charges are you have to pay
what happens if you don’t come get your car within a certain time
If you have a low-income, state law says the impound lot has to give you all of your things that are in your car. This is only the things IN the car. It is not parts of the car like the spare tire, battery, radios, or DVD players attached to the car. Even if it is a DVD player or accessory that you added you won’t be able to take it.
You have to ask and go to get your things out before the deadline listed in the letter. Call the lot as soon as you can! You might have as little as 15 days if your car was impounded in Minneapolis or St. Paul. You might have up to 45 days if your car was impounded somewhere else in Minnesota. You have to prove that you have a low-income. (see below)
It depends on your income and if you get public assistance. If you are not low income and do not get public assistance they can charge and collect the whole towing fee and other fees owed before letting you get anything. BUT if you have a low income you can get your things back for free if you prove to the impound lot that you are the car’s owner and that you get or should get “relief based on need” (public assistance).
Usually only the owner of the car can get property out of the car. Some impound lots will release the property to another person if they have a notarized letter from the owner saying it’s okay. The owner still has to prove they get benefits, are homeless, or qualify for legal aid in order to get their things out of the car for free.
If you don’t own the car, but have things in it, some places might let you get it out if you can prove it’s yours. For example, if you have an ID and your name is on a bag or on a medication bottle.
First, they have to give you a notice that tells you why they think you don’t qualify to get your things back.
If you DO qualify, but they still won’t return your things, you have the right to go to court. You ask a judge to order the tow company or impound lot to give you your things back. And, if the court gives that order, the tow company or impound lot also has to pay your lawyer fees.
If they won’t give you your things back AND they get rid of your belongings, you have the right to go to court. If you win the tow company or impound lot has to pay you $1,000 plus pay your lawyer fees.