Abandoned Motor Vehicles
Property over which the owner has given up dominion and control with no intention of recovering it. The property can be anything with tires and serial number, i.e., car, truck, motorcycle, and trailers. A boat is not considered an abandoned vehicle and you must follow the procedures set up by the Department of Natural Resources.
A motor vehicle is abandoned if:
- It has been left by the owner or some person acting for the owner with an automobile dealer, repairman, or wrecker service for repairs or for some other reason and has not been picked up by such owner or person within:
- Days after the time agreed upon
- Thirty (30) days after the vehicle is turned over to such dealer, repairman, or wrecker service, if no time is agreed upon; or
- Thirty (30) days after the completion of necessary repairs.
- It is left unattended on a public street, road, highway, or other public property for a period of at least five (5) days and when it reasonably appears to a law enforcement officer that the individual who left such motor vehicle unattended does not intend to return to such motor vehicle3.
- If has been lawfully towed onto the property of another at the request of a law enforcement officer and left there for period of not less than thirty (30) days without anyone having made claim to the vehicle
- It has been lawfully towed onto the property of another at the request of a property owner on whose property the vehicle was abandoned and left there for a period of not less than thirty (30) days without the owner(s) having made claim to the vehicle;
- It has been left unattended on private property for a period of not less than thirty (30) days without anyone making a claim to it.
Affidavits seeking the foreclosure of a lien on an abandoned motor vehicle with a value up to $15,000 may be filed in the Magistrate Court by a tow company, repair company or an individual who is storing a vehicle that has not been claimed by the owner or lien holder.
For a person or business storing the vehicle, sign and notarize the affidavit (PDF) (short form of affidavit (PDF) also available) and submit copies of all required documents, including MV-603 form (PDF), a T-22B form (PDF), Statement of Charges form (PDF), certified letters and/or return receipts. If the owner was unknown and the vehicle had to be advertised, submit proof of advertisement. The filing fee is $10. All AMV petitions are reviewed by a Judge.
If the judge finds that you have complied with the requirements of the law, an order will be issued allowing you to sell the vehicle at a public auction to satisfy the lien. The abandoned vehicle cannot be retained by the person applying for the abandoned vehicle. You must sell the abandoned vehicle at a public auction.
Disposition of Proceeds
After sale of the vehicle, the law requires that the plaintiff file a Disposition of the proceeds (PDF) and a copy of the bill of sale. These forms should be completed and mailed or delivered to the clerk of Magistrate Court within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle. If the vehicle is sold for more than the lien, the difference must be remitted to the court.