Vehicles and Titles

When is a vehicle or vessel considered abandoned?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

A vehicle or vessel may be considered abandoned when it is:

  • A vehicle or vessel on private property without the consent of the owner. 
  • A vehicle or vessel that has remained on public property for not less than 48 hours.
  • A vehicle that has remained on a state trunk line for not less than 18 hours if a valid registration plate is affixed to the vehicle.
  • A vehicle that has remained on a state trunk line if a valid registration plate is not affixed to the vehicle.
  • A vessel that has remained on a state trunk line and is not on a motor vehicle or trailer and is not under the immediate custody of the owner.
  • A vessel on a motor vehicle or trailer if the motor vehicle or trailer displays a valid registration plate and has been on a state trunk line for no less than 18 hours and is not under the immediate custody of the owner.

Also, a vehicle or vessel removed under the following conditions is considered abandoned if not redeemed by the owner within seven days:

  • If the vehicle or vessel is in such a condition that the operation of it will constitute an immediate hazard to the public.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is parked or idling on the highway so that it creates an immediate public hazard or an obstruction of traffic.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is parked in a posted tow-away zone.
  • Removal of a vehicle or vessel is necessary if it is a threat to public safety because its presence impedes rescue efforts during fire, flood, storm, snow, natural or man-made disaster, or other emergency.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is hampering the use of private property by the owner or person in charge of that property or is parked in a manner that impedes the movement of another vehicle or vessel.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is illegally stopped, idling, or parked in a designated disability parking space.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is located in a clearly identified access aisle or access lane immediately adjacent to a disability parking space.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is interfering with the use of a ramp or a curb-cut by people with disabilities.
  • If the vessel is submerged in, partially submerged in, or floating unanchored or untethered upon a public waterway.

A vehicle or vessel removed under the following conditions is considered abandoned if not redeemed by the owner within 20 days from the date of release by the law enforcement agency:

  • If the vehicle or vessel is believed to be stolen.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is seized to preserve evidence of a crime.
  • If the vehicle or vessel is involved in a crash.

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