Vehicle Impound or Tow Hearing

The purpose of the tow hearing is to determine if the tow was valid/lawful.

  1. Tow Hearing Line

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a vehicle release?

If your vehicle was stolen / recovered or towed during an accident, you do not need a vehicle release. If in doubt, call Napa PD records to verify.

How are tow hearings scheduled?

Please leave your information on the tow line at [PHONE NUMBER]. The line is checked throughout the day. Please include your name and telephone, license plate, and police report numbers. The second way is to fill out an Impound Hearing Request.

Should I get my vehicle out while waiting for a tow hearing?

Yes, the Records Division is only open from [HOURS]. A tow hearing might not occur the same day when you leave your message. Tow fees will accumulate. If the vehicle was towed improperly, you will be reimbursed.

What about private property tows?

The tow hearing officer only deals with City of Napa tows. For example, if an apartment complex hires a tow company, the tow hearing officer does not have jurisdiction on those tows. A person's recourse is to go through the tow company or property owner. If the registered owner feels that the tow was invalid and an agreement cannot be reached, they can take them to small claims court.

What if my vehicle was towed for unpaid tickets?

The tow hearing officer deals with the tow. If you believe the tickets were not properly issued, follow the process listed on the ticket to contest it.

What is the cost of the police release?


Who pays for the towing and storage fees?

The registered owner of the impounded vehicle is responsible for all towing, storage, lien, and release fees.

Why was my vehicle impounded?

Your vehicle was impounded because you or another person who was driving your vehicle has:
  • A revoked driver license
  • A suspended driver license
  • Never been issued a driver license

The registered owner can also be cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive their vehicle. Here are some common circumstances:

I let 'so and so' drive. I didn't know his or her license was not valid.
  • If it's your vehicle, it's your responsibility. Under section 14604 CVC, the owner of a vehicle has a duty to ensure the person driving their vehicle possesses a valid license. If you allow or permit anyone, including your spouse, child, friend or relative to drive your vehicle and that person does not have a valid license, you will be responsible for towing and storage fees. You will not have access to your vehicle for 30 days.
He or she took the car without my permission.
  • To say that someone has taken your car without your permission is not a valid excuse. Ask yourself how this happened. Have you allowed this person to use your car in the past? Do they have access to your vehicle? Did you ask to see their license?
  • To say that someone without a valid license has taken your vehicle without your knowledge or permission, is in fact, cause for a stolen vehicle report to be filed. That person will be arrested for vehicle theft and prosecuted for that crime.
What if I don't agree with the officer who impounded my car?
  • The registered owner may request a post-storage hearing. It is a review of the tow as provided for in the California Vehicle Code. This is an administrative review to determine whether the officer had reasonable cause to tow the vehicle.
I am the owner of the car and I have a valid license.
  • This law follows the driver of the vehicle at the time it was towed. The hold will be lifted if the driver obtains a valid license prior to the end of the 30 days (The driver's license status is what determines the hold). The registered owner should come to the police department for a release once the driver of their vehicle acquires a valid license. The fact that you, the owner, have a valid license is not relevant.