§12-2406. Recovery of Vehicles; Hearings. [93]


(1) Any vehicle which has been immobilized or impounded pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter may be recovered by one of the following means:

(a) The owner or any person on behalf of the owner may demand an expedited hearing before a Parking Hearing Examiner appointed pursuant to Chapter 12-2800. Such demand shall be made in writing upon a form supplied by the City. Such hearing shall be held not later than the first day, excluding Sunday, following the demand therefor, at a convenient central location during normal business hours, and at such other times and places as the City shall direct. The issue to be determined at such hearing shall be whether reasonable cause existed to believe that the vehicle immobilized or impounded was in violation of the traffic ordinances and laws of the City of Philadelphia or of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and that the towing or booting of such vehicle was authorized by law.

(i) Any person whose vehicle is immobilized or impounded under the provisions of this Chapter shall have the right to leave the vehicle in the City’s tow lot or immobilized by a boot, pending the hearing referred to above.

(ii) If the Parking Hearing Examiner determines that the vehicle was immobilized or impounded without reasonable cause to believe that it was in violation of the traffic ordinances and laws of the City of Philadelphia or of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or that the towing or booting was unauthorized by law, the owner or any person on behalf of the owner shall be entitled to immediate release and return of the vehicle without the payment of any booting or towing fee or storage charges.

(iii) If the Parking Hearing Examiner determines that the vehicle was immobilized or impounded with reasonable cause, the owner may appeal that determination in the manner set forth in Chapter 12-2800, or the owner or any person on behalf of the owner may obtain release of the vehicle by any of the means set forth in subsections (2) and (3) of this Section.

(2) The owner or any person on behalf of the owner may obtain immediate release of the vehicle by the payment in full of all outstanding parking tickets, booting and/or towing fee and accrued storage charges. Such payment shall constitute a waiver of the right to contest the parking tickets, the tow and/or booting fee and any storage charges.

(3) The owner or any person on behalf of the owner may obtain immediate release of the vehicle by posting a bond equal to the amount of the unpaid parking tickets, booting and/or towing fees and accrued storage fees. Such bonds shall be obtained in order to ensure the alleged violator’s appearance before a Parking Hearing Examiner as set forth in Chapter 12-2800 and shall be held as collateral until a hearing on the underlying parking violations is completed and a determination of liability is made pursuant to Chapter 12-2800.

(4) The owner or any person on behalf of the owner may waive the right to an expedited hearing as set forth in Section (1) or immediate release of the vehicle as set forth in Sections (2) and (3) and await a hearing in due course on the underlying parking violations according to the regular procedures of Chapter 12-2800.

(5) Any person found not liable for the underlying parking violations at the hearing pursuant to Chapter 12-2800 or pursuant to any subsequent appeal shall have the right upon presentation of evidence thereof, to immediate return of the vehicle without payment of any booting, towing or storage fees, or to the refund within thirty (30) days of the discharge or acquittal of any bond posted, or booting and/or towing fees and storage charges previously paid.

(6) No person shall be permitted to release from any boot or remove from any Official Towing Station any vehicle immobilized or impounded under the provisions of this Chapter except by any of the means described above, or, unless the person found liable has entered into an Installment Payment Plan with the Finance Director’s Office pursuant to Chapter 12-2800, and that Office has ordered the release of the vehicle.

(7) All notices provided for in this Section shall be given in both Spanish and English.

(8) When any impounded vehicle is returned to its owner, or any person on behalf of the owner, such person shall sign a receipt for the vehicle after furnishing satisfactory evidence of his identify and ownership of the vehicle, or agency on behalf of the owner.
(9) In addition to any other requirement under this Section 12-2406, if a vehicle has been towed as an abandoned vehicle under this Chapter, its owner, or any person on behalf of its owner may reclaim the vehicle only upon presentation of proof that the vehicle is currently registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles of the state within which its owner resides; if that state requires that motor vehicles registered therein must be periodically inspected to insure roadworthiness, the vehicle must exhibit a concurrently valid sticker or placard attesting to such an inspection in order for the vehicle to be driven; if the vehicle does not exhibit such a required inspection sticker or placard, the vehicle may only be removed by a vehicle licensed to tow or carry other vehicles.[94]

(10) Disposition of unclaimed vehicles. If the registered owner of a vehicle impounded pursuant to this Chapter or other provision of law fails to reclaim his or her vehicle from an Official Towing Station within fifteen (15) days after the issuance of a notice that the vehicle has been towed and may be reclaimed; and, if notice was sent to a lienholder, the vehicle remains unclaimed more than fifteen (15) days after the issuance of such notice, then, at any time thereafter:[95]

(a) The Department may declare such vehicle abandoned within the meaning of Section 102 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 101, et seq., and dispose of it[96] accordingly; or,

(b) If fines, penalties or charges relating to the towing and storage of the vehicle, or any outstanding parking tickets, are owing, the Department or its designated agent may takes such steps as are necessary to recover payment of such fines, penalties, charges or outstanding tickets, including but not limited to auction of the vehicle pursuant to court order.