Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1989 

                        CHAPTER 256-H.F.No. 1697 
           An act relating to traffic regulations; prohibiting 
          the towing of motor vehicles for traffic violations 
          for a period of four hours except under certain 
          circumstances; providing a mechanic's lien for those 
          who tow a vehicle at the direction of a law 
          enforcement officer; amending Minnesota Statutes 1988, 
          section 514.18, by adding a subdivision; proposing 
          coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 169. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  [169.041] [TOWING AUTHORIZED.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [TOWING AUTHORITY.] For purposes of this 
section, "towing authority" means any local authority authorized 
by section 169.04 to enforce the traffic laws, and also includes 
a private towing company authorized by a local authority to tow 
vehicles on behalf of that local authority. 
    Subd. 2.  [TOWING ORDER REQUIRED.] A towing authority may 
not tow a motor vehicle from public property unless a peace 
officer or parking enforcement officer has prepared, in addition 
to the parking citation, a written towing report describing the 
motor vehicle and the reasons for towing.  The report must be 
signed by the officer and the tow driver. 
    Subd. 3.  [FOUR-HOUR WAITING PERIOD.] In enforcing state 
and local parking and traffic laws, a towing authority may not 
tow, or allow or require the towing of, a motor vehicle from 
public property for a parking or traffic violation until four 
hours after issuance of the traffic ticket or citation, except 
as provided in this section.  
    Subd. 4.  [TOWING ALLOWED.] A towing authority may tow a 
motor vehicle without regard to the four-hour waiting period if: 
    (1) the vehicle is parked in violation of snow emergency 
regulations; 
    (2) the vehicle is parked in a rush-hour restricted parking 
area; 
    (3) the vehicle is blocking a driveway, alley, or fire 
hydrant; 
    (4) the vehicle is parked in a bus lane where parking is 
prohibited; 
    (5) the vehicle is parked within 30 feet of a stop sign and 
visually blocking the stop sign; 
    (6) the vehicle is parked in a handicap transfer zone or 
handicapped parking space without a handicapped parking 
certificate or handicapped license plates; 
    (7) the vehicle is parked in an area that has been posted 
for temporary restricted parking at least 24 hours in advance; 
    (8) the vehicle is parked within the right-of-way of a 
controlled access highway or within the traveled portion of a 
public street when travel is allowed there; 
    (9) the vehicle is unlawfully parked in a zone that is 
restricted by posted signs to use by fire, police, public 
safety, or emergency vehicles; 
    (10) the vehicle is unlawfully parked on property at the 
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport owned by the 
metropolitan airports commission; 
    (11) a law enforcement official has probable cause to 
believe that the vehicle is stolen, or that the vehicle 
constitutes or contains evidence of a crime and impoundment is 
reasonably necessary to obtain or preserve the evidence; 
    (12) the driver, operator, or person in physical control of 
the vehicle is taken into custody and the vehicle is impounded 
for safekeeping; or 
    (13) a law enforcement official has probable cause to 
believe that the owner, operator, or person in physical control 
of the vehicle has failed to respond to five or more citations 
for parking or traffic offenses.  
    Subd. 5.  [TOWING PROHIBITED.] Unless the vehicle is 
described in subdivision 4, a towing authority may not tow a 
motor vehicle because: 
    (1) the vehicle has expired registration tabs that have 
been expired for less than 90 days; 
    (2) the vehicle is at a parking meter on which the time has 
expired and the vehicle has fewer than five unpaid parking 
tickets.  
    Subd. 6.  [PRIVATE PROPERTY.] This section does not 
restrict the authority of the owner of private property to 
authorize the towing at any time of a motor vehicle unlawfully 
parked on the private property. 
    Subd. 7.  [DAMAGES.] The owner or driver of a motor vehicle 
towed in violation of this section is entitled to recover from 
the towing authority the greater of $100 or two times the actual 
damages sustained as a result of the violation.  Damages 
recoverable under this subdivision include but are not limited 
to costs of recovering the vehicle, including time spent and 
transportation costs. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 514.18, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 1a.  [TOWED MOTOR VEHICLES.] A person who tows and 
stores a motor vehicle at the request of a law enforcement 
officer shall have a lien on the motor vehicle for the value of 
the storage and towing and the right to retain possession of the 
motor vehicle until the lien is lawfully discharged.  This 
section does not apply to tows authorized in section 1, 
subdivision 4, clause (1). 
    Sec. 3.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    Sections 1 and 2 are effective the day following final 
enactment. 
    Presented to the governor May 23, 1989 
    Signed by the governor May 25, 1989, 6:32 p.m.