Everything You Need to Know About Virginia Towing Laws

Brush up on Virginia’s towing laws to know exactly what your rights are and get your impounded vehicle back promptly!
Written by Christelle Agustin
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
According to
law, as long as you don’t drive with a suspended license, participate in illegal activity, or leave your car unattended, your car will have no reason to be towed. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay multiple fees and sign paperwork to retrieve your impounded vehicle.
If you ever find your precious car towed and are at a loss for what to do,
has put together a guide to Virginia’s towing laws. Learn about when your vehicle can get towed, how to get it back, and what your rights are in the state of Virginia. 
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When can police tow a vehicle in Virginia? 

While the freedom of driving is an unmatched way to travel, keep in mind that you’re still constrained by many road rules. If law enforcement finds you and your vehicle in violation of rules that put citizens at risk, your car can be towed. 
Your vehicle can be towed by police in the following situations:
  • If your car is parked illegally
  • If you drive 30 days after your license has been suspended 
  • If your vehicle is connected to drug activity, including sales, distribution, manufacturing, and trafficking of drugs
  • If you engage in illegal activity like speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • If your car has been left unattended for more than 10 days or is a hazard to residents and drivers
In the case that you are arrested and your car is unrelated to your violation, it will be transported to your place of choice. If no place of safekeeping is stated, the police will retain your vehicle at a location they see fit, according to
VA. Code 19.2-80.1

How to get your car out of an impound lot in Virginia

Impound lots can’t hold your car forever. In most cases, impounded cars are auctioned off if they are not claimed within 30 days. To prevent your car from being taken away, make sure you have identified the cause of the towing—whether that means paying for outstanding tickets or waiting for your license suspension period to end
For extra preparation, make sure you have the following documents:
Now you may proceed and retrieve your vehicle by following these three steps:
  1. Call the police department's non-emergency number
  2. Find all relevant documentation and paperwork
  3. Pay necessary fees
Although the process of retrieving your car back from the impound lot is simple, the fees are far from that. To release your vehicle, you’re required to pay fees that largely pertain to the labor that goes into towing and storing your vehicle.
Here’s the general fee breakdown for retrieving your impounded vehicle: 
  • Base fee (based on your car’s weight)
  • Towing fee
  • Daily storage fees
  • After hours fee
  • Weekend fee
  • Holiday fee
  • Administration fee
MORE: My car got towed. Now what?

When can private property owners tow a vehicle in Virginia?

With the state being the home to a large concentration of technology workers and over 600,000 businesses, you’ll most likely find yourself near a business at any given time in Virginia. With that said, you’ll need to make sure you’re not parking your car on private property—and there are quite a lot of them!
If the property owner finds that your car has been parked on their private property for more than 72 hours, they will be allowed to request that your vehicle be impounded (
VA Code. 46.2-1215
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When can your car be towed from a parking lot in Virginia?

Like private property, you need to pay attention to parking lot rules. Before you leave your car in a parking lot, be observant and search for signage that may give you information on designated parking spots and parking hours. In addition, businesses in the city may have street parking, so be extra cautious and remember to look for street signs and parking meters!
A few situations that could cause your vehicle to be towed in a parking lot include: 
  • If you have three or more unpaid parking tickets (
    VA Code. 46.2-1216
  • If your vehicle is not displaying a decal in a decal-controlled parking area
  • If your vehicle is parked in a closed parking lot
  • If your vehicle is within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
  • If your vehicle is within 15 feet of a hospital entrance or any other emergency medical services entrance
  • If your vehicle is within 20 feet from the intersection of curb lines
  • If your vehicle is within 15 feet of the intersection of property lines at a highway intersection (
    VA Code. 46.2-1239

What are my rights if my car is towed in Virginia?

Sometimes your car may be towed for incorrect reasons or by accident! This is why it’s important to know your rights in Virginia as a car owner. If your car has been towed, your rights include: 
  • Knowing the reason why your car has been towed
  • Being allowed to repossess or secure the release of your motor vehicle at least 24 hours from the time of immobilization
  • Not being charged a storage or safekeeping fee for your vehicle if it is impounded for 24 hours or less (
    VA Code. 46.2-1233.1
  • Being able to make claim if the towing operator has caused vehicle damage by negligence (
    VA Code. 46.2-1231.1
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According to Virginia law
, the initial towing fee must not exceed $150. If your car is towed on a holiday, Saturday, Sunday, or between 7 pm and 8 am, the additional fee may not exceed $30.
No. Unless you have violated your lease terms pertaining to parking or your vehicle is a hazard due to the way it’s parked, whereby your car can be towed by police enforcement or a uniformed employee of a local law enforcement agency (
VA Code. 46.2-1211
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