Everything You Need to Know About Kentucky Towing Laws

Many of Kentucky’s towing laws were put in place by local city and county governments to allow police and property owners to tow vehicles for certain reasons.
Written by Nathan Porceng
law does allow police and property owners to tow your vehicle in some circumstances. However, you have rights too, and knowing them can save you time, frustration, and money.
  • While Kentucky doesn’t have statewide towing laws, some rules are implemented by local governments.
  • Property owners must usually have proper signage before having a vehicle towed from their property.
  • If your vehicle is towed in Kentucky, you have the right to know where it is being held and have a chance to retrieve it.
  • If you have a question about towing regulations in your area, contact a lawyer or your local law enforcement agency.

When can police tow a vehicle in Kentucky? 

Kentucky’s state legal code doesn’t have much to say about when motor vehicles can and cannot be towed. Instead,
towing regulations
are largely left to local, typically county, governments. That said, though regulations vary a bit between counties, they’re generally pretty similar. 
In Kentucky, police are usually allowed to tow your vehicle if it:
  • Is illegally parked
  • Has outstanding delinquent parking tickets
  • Impedes law enforcement or rescue operations
As you can see, law enforcement officers have pretty broad authority to tow your car. However, that authority is not unlimited. Park legally and pay your tickets on time, and you shouldn’t have to worry about police towing your vehicle. 
Law enforcement agencies must also inform you that your vehicle has been towed or impounded. If a towed or impounded vehicle goes 10 days without being claimed, the law enforcement agency that picked it up will send notice to the last known registered owner of the vehicle.

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

When your vehicle gets towed: You need to track it down and claim it as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, you may lose your car. 
If a vehicle is still unclaimed 10 days after it was towed or impounded: 
  • Kentucky law enforcement agencies will send notice to the addresses of the vehicle’s last known registered owner and any lien holders. 
  • After receiving the notice, owners have ten days to pay their fees and claim their vehicle or request a hearing. 
To claim a towed vehicle: 
  • You must call law enforcement to determine where the vehicle is impounded.
  • Call the towing company or impound lot to schedule an appointment to pick it up at its storage facility.
  • Provide your license, title, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Pay any and all impoundment fees accrued while towing and storing your vehicle.
If, after 45 days, no hearing is requested and towing charges remain unpaid: 
  • The vehicle is considered abandoned and will become the property of the law enforcement agency that found it. 
  • The law enforcement agency is then allowed to keep the vehicle for their own use, sell the vehicle for scrap, or sell it to the highest bidder at a public auction.
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When can private property owners tow a vehicle in Kentucky?

The above sections cover what happens when police tow your car in Kentucky. However, law enforcement officials aren’t the only ones that can have your car towed—so can private property owners. 
Kentucky state law
doesn’t have much to say about when private property owners can tow a vehicle. All that Kentucky Statute 189.725 says is that private property owners may have unauthorized vehicles towed as long as they have signs posted to indicate such. 
The following are a few circumstances in which your car may be considered an “unauthorized vehicle”:
  • It is parked in the driveway of a single-family home.
  • It is parked in a designated spot for persons with disabilities.
  • It is parked in a spot designated for a particular tenant or housing unit.
  • It is blocking a fire hydrant or utility structure.
If you think that a private property owner had your vehicle towed illegally: Immediately contact your local law enforcement agency.

When can your car be towed from a parking lot in Kentucky?

Parking can be a frustrating experience for drivers—but getting towed is worse. 
Luckily, Kentucky law mandates that parking lots must have signs posted stating that unauthorized vehicles will be towed before calling a tow truck. If there is no sign posted, property owners cannot legally tow your car. 
While regulations vary slightly between counties, signage must typically meet the following requirements:
  • Be at least 12 by 18 inches in size
  • Have bold lettering stating that the lot is privately owned and unauthorized vehicles will be towed at their owners’ expense
  • Be placed conspicuously near each entrance to the lot and be easily visible to a person seated in an automobile
  • Have a reflective border at least a quarter of an inch thick around the entire circumference of the sign
  • State the times a vehicle may be impounded
  • State the name, telephone number, and address of the lot where the vehicle may be recovered or a phone number that can be used to obtain the same information 

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

Kentucky law states that no storage fee may be charged for 24 hours from the time your towed vehicle arrives at a secure storage location—and your rights don’t stop there. 
You also have the right to: 
  • Know that your vehicle has been towed
  • Know where your vehicle is being kept
  • Have a chance to reclaim your vehicle
  • Request an appeal if your vehicle has been impounded by a law enforcement agency
Your local jurisdiction may also set limits on how much towing services are allowed to charge for removing and storing your vehicle.
Again, contact your local law enforcement agency or a lawyer if you believe that your vehicle has been illegally towed or that your rights have been violated.
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Kentucky does not have a statewide maximum towing fee, though state law does forbid towing services from charging storage fees for the first 24 hours after your vehicle has been towed. Depending on where you live, your town or county might have regulations regarding towing fees—contact your local law enforcement agency to find out more.
No. A property owner cannot have a car towed from their parking lot unless they have signs posted notifying drivers that the lot is privately owned and unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at their owners’ expense.
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