SJPD Star

Towing Information Resource Page

To lookup the status of a towed vehicle, and find out how to recover it, contact:

SJPD Vehicle Records Assistance Line (Auto Desk) at (408) 277-4263.

This line be answered 24/7 except between the hours of 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. 
Have your case number, vehicle license plate or VIN number ready.


You can also visit the Auto Desk in person:

201 W. Mission Street, San Jose, CA 95110

Auto Desk hours of operation: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Every Day

TOWED VEHICLESTow Away Graphic

If your vehicle was towed / impounded in San Jose, read the following information, or call SJPD's Vehicle Records Unit to hear this information in a recorded message at (408) 277-4156.

The Records Unit also answers questions about vehicles that have been repossessed, stolen or recovered and towed from private property. 

To obtain property from your towed vehicle, contact the tow company directly . This department does not issue property releases.

The SJPD Vehicle Records Unit is located at 201 West Mission Street, near the intersection of San Pedro and Mission Streets in San Jose, California. 

For Vehicle Records Unit hours of operation, please check this link: Vehicle Records Unit


VEHICLE RELEASE

In most cases you must obtain a vehicle release from the Police Department before the tow company will release the car to you. Contact the Auto Desk to find out if a release will be required for your vehicle.

 

In order to get a vehicle release the following conditions must be met:

  • You must be the registered or legal owner of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle must be currently registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • You must have a valid driver's license or bring a licensed driver with you.
  • You will need identification for yourself.
  • A vehicle release fee is required.  This fee must be paid in the form of cash, cashier's check or money order, payable to the City of San Jose, or the following credit/debit cards – Visa, Master-card or Discover Card.
    Click here for the current LIST OF FEES

FEES

Additional tow charges will be required by the tow company.  Click here for the current LIST OF FEES. Tow companies will accept cash, personal check or credit cards as a form of payment. Please contact the tow company for the exact amount of the charges.


TOWED DUE TO UNLICENSED DRIVER

If your vehicle was towed because the driver was unlicensed or has a suspended license, the vehicle is subject to being held for 30 days.  If held for 30 days, the vehicle may be released prior to the date of release if the person driving the car at the time of the impound obtains a valid driver's license from DMV.


YOU NO LONGER OWN THE VEHICLE

If you received a “Notice of Stored Vehicle” - but no longer own the vehicle, you must file a Release of Liability form with the DMV.  No contact with the SJPD is necessary.


TOW HEARING - RESOLVE A DISPUTE

  • If your vehicle was towed by the authority of the San Jose Police Department, you may request a hearing by the Police Department.
  • If your vehicle was towed by the authority of the San Jose Department of Transportation (DOT), a tow hearing request should be directed to the San Jose DOT.

How to Request a Tow Hearing (San Jose Police Impound Hearing).

The registered or legal owner of the vehicle, or their agent(s) may request a tow hearing (also referred to as an impound hearing).  During a tow hearing, the tow hearing officer will review the information known to the Department at the time of the tow and determine if the tow was authorized per California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22852.

To request a Tow Hearing at the Police Department, contact:

San Jose Police Department Tow Hearing Unit
201 W, Mission St, San Jose, California 95110
(408) 277-5429, Tow Hearing Officer

  • Requests for a tow hearing may be made in person, by mail, email, or telephone.
  • Requests must be made within 10 days of the date appearing on the Police Department’s notice.
  • An informal hearing will take place within 2 business days of the request, excluding weekends and holidays.
  • If the registered owner or legal owner disagrees with the decision made at the hearing, the decision may be reviewed by the Tow Hearing Sergeant or Supervisor (CVC 22852(e)).

When contacting the Department regarding a tow hearing request, please include the following information:

  • By whose authority was your car towed? (Police, DOT, Private Property)
  • The reason your vehicle was towed
  • The location from which the vehicle was towed

To request a Tow Hearing at the San Jose Department of Transportation, contact:

Department of Transportation – Tow Hearings
200 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 975-3718

Note:

CVC Section 22852(f) does not apply to vehicles abated (removed) under the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program, pursuant to CVC Sections 22600 to 22668, CVC Section 22710, vehicles impounded for investigation pursuant to CVC Section 22655, or to vehicles removed from private property pursuant to CVC Section 22658.

CVC Section 22852(g) does not apply to abandoned vehicles removed pursuant to CVC Section 22669 that are determined by the public agency to have an estimated value of five hundred dollars ($500) or less. 


COURTESY WARNING

Tow Warning SignVehicles that are not being USED should not be abandoned or stored on the street. California Vehicle Code section 22523 prohibits the abandonment of any vehicle on public property. Your vehicle is considered abandoned if it is left unattended, does not have current registration, is inoperable or is deemed a hazard and may be removed WITHOUT NOTICE. Your vehicle is considered to be stored if it is parked on the street for over 72 consecutive hours (3 days) and may be cited under San Jose Municipal Code section 11.36.220 and towed under California Vehicle Code section 22651(k), Note: Any vehicle not moved at least 1 /10 of a mile (approximately 528 feet) after 72 hours of being marked and tagged may be towed without re-marking, WITHOUT ANY FURTHER WARNING. For information call the Vehicle Abatement Unit at 408-277-5305.

YOU WILL BE LIABLE FOR THE COST OF ANY CITATION, TOWING, AND STORAGE FEES THAT RESULT FROM YOUR VEHICLE REMAINING IN VIOLATION OF ANY OF THESE ORDINANCES

 

OUR MISSION: Create safe places to live, work, and learn through community partnerships. The Department maintains
a commitment to the following values: Integrity, Courage, Excellence, Service, Diversity, Innovation, and Respect.