Vehicles may get towed and impounded in Nevada because of
- illegal parking,
- car accidents,
- DUI, and
- other arrests.
State law permits impound yards to charge daily storage fees and to auction off a vehicle if the owner fails to
- retrieve it and
- pay the fees within a specified period of time.
Below our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys explain the laws about towing a car in the state of Nevada:
- 1. When can a vehicle be towed and impounded in Nevada?
- 2. Are cars always towed after a DUI arrest?
- 3. How do you get an impounded car back in Nevada?
- 4. Are there limits on impound and storage fees?
- 5. Can vehicles be towed without warning?
- 6. Are there special rules for apartment complexes?
- 7. Are there special rules for towing trailers?
Cars typically get towed and impounded (stored) when either:
- The driver is arrested for DUI;
- The vehicle is involved in an accident;
- The car is parked illegally. Examples include handicap parking spaces or no-parking zones in a public parking garage or parking lot;
- The driver is arrested for an unauthorized speed contest (NRS 484B.653); and/or
- Contraband (such as firearms or drugs) are discovered in the vehicle
The police department has some discretion over whether to impound vehicles. Sometimes they will just leave a ticket rather than call a tow car operator for the removal of the vehicle. But if the motor vehicle is needed for evidence, the local law enforcement agency may insist on getting a tow truck.1
Vehicles remain impounded in a lot until either the owner retrieves it or it is auctioned off. The impound yard will not release vehicles until all fees are paid.
Usually yes. Though some officers allow a non-intoxicated passenger of the vehicle to drive it away. Some may even permit the driver to call a friend or family member to come by and drive away the car. But it is up to the police‘s discretion.
The driver can tell the arresting officer which towing company and impoundment lot to use. Officers try to comply. But if the driver is too intoxicated or injured to give the officer instructions, the police will make the decisions.
To locate a towed vehicle, call 311 (the non-emergency police number) or search online. Then call the lot for instructions on how to retrieve the vehicle.
The primary impound lots in Las Vegas and their telephone numbers are:
- Ewing Brothers at 1200 A Street, Las Vegas, NV 89106; (702) 382-9261;
- Quality Towing at 4100 East Cheyenne, Las Vegas, NV 89115; (702) 649-5711; and
- Fast Towing at 2201 N. Commerce St., Las Vegas, NV 89102; (702) 383-3278
These companies all accept cash, money orders, credit and debit cards, and electronic transfers.2
Only the registered owner with proof of legal title can pick up a car from an impound lot. It is irrelevant if the owner is not the primary driver of the car. Registration papers with a photo ID usually suffice for proof of legal title.
No, not if the towing company notifies the owner that it has the vehicle. Otherwise, tow companies may charge daily fees for only:
- 21 days for cars impounded at the request of police. And the cars were involved in a crash; or
- 15 days for all other vehicles.
Tow companies must take vehicles to lots covered by the car owner’s insurance (if any). The only exception is if the car owner agrees to store the vehicle in a higher-cost lot.3
The average impoundment and storage costs are $30 a day plus the cost of towing. Car owners should call their insurance companies to check the details of their policies. Some insurance policies cover towing but not storage.
If the owner of the vehicle never picks up an impounded car from the storage yard, the impound company will auction it off. Sometimes the money from the auction is less than the total impound fees that the car had been accruing. When that happens, the impound company may sue the owner for the difference.
Usually, yes. The main exception is in residential complexes on private property. (Scroll down to the next section for more information.)
In most parking areas, there are signs warning against illegal parking. And these signs usually also provide the name and phone number of the designated towing company.
If a vehicle is in a parking facility – and the only violation is nonpayment of a fee – the facility must wait 24 hours after the fee is due to initiate towing.4
Impound companies typically store cars for 7 to 30 days before auctioning them. But they may store the car longer if the owner calls the company and makes arrangements to pick it up at a later date. Note that if a car is impounded for too long, the accrued daily fees may soon exceed the value of the car.
Victims of unlawful towing in Las Vegas are advised to refer to the Civil Law Self-Help Center for unlawful towing.
Yes. The residential manager must give 48-hours notice to car owners before towing for:
- A parking violation;
- No registration;
- Registration that has been expired for 60 days or longer (if the car owner lives in the complex); or
- Expired registration of any length (if the car owner does not live in the complex)
The notice must be in the form of a sticker affixed to the vehicle. It will indicate the date and time the vehicle will be towed.
But the residential manager does not have to give notice before towing if:
- The owner was previously given notice for the same or similar reason;
- The owner was previously given notice at least three times within the last six months for any reason;
- The vehicle is blocking a fire hydrant or fire lane;
- The vehicle is in a spot marked for a specific resident or unit;
- The vehicle is in a handicapped spot (and there are no handicapped tags); or
- The vehicle is posing imminent health, safety, or welfare threat5
Trailers are subject to the same towing rules as regular cars under Nevada law. In addition, every city and county has ordinances governing where mobile homes may be stored. Improperly stored trailers and RVs may be towed.