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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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Going through a lot of trouble. My car was towed from a

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Going through a lot of trouble. My car was towed from a public parking lot. The car was never registered after owning it for two years. It had tags that belonged to a different car on. The car hasn't been driven in a while and it's probably worth $15000. Would I be charged with a crime if I try to get it out of the impound? The reason it was never registered is that I don't have a driver's license and can't get one. I have the car title. Can the title be signed over to someone else as a sale and have them pick up the car and register it under their name? Will it be traced back to me if I don't pick up the car? The dealership registered the sale when I bought it a few years ago. I live in missouri
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

It's illegal to drive an unregistered car, or to drive without a license. The tow yard doesn't have any authority to arrest you - but there's no way to guarantee that they won't call and tell police that someone just drove away in an unregistered car, without a license. The tow yard also may refuse to release the car without proof of registration, if it was towed for not being registered and being on the public streets. The car could be traced back to you if the tow yard contacts the most recently registered owner about the tow fees, or if they pull a title to see who the current owner is. Then they could sue you for towing and storage fees - and that adds up. It could get very expensive, quickly.

You can transfer the title to someone else, have them register the car, and have them pick it up. In Missouri, a vehicle must be insured before it can be registered. If your intent is to have them eventually give the car back to you when you can drive it, then you should get something in writing that says so. The agreement will be enforceable as long as each of you receives something in exchange for the promise - for example, if the other party gets to drive the car for a specified amount of time, or something like that.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I believe the car was towed by the saint louis county police and a form to release it must be filled out at the police department. Then they will disclose the location of the car. The problem is that the car is unregistered. We could tow it out of the yard if i'm able to get it out without charges being pressed for 1. Never registering the car. 2. Having plates on it that don't belong to the car.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If police towed and are holding the car, rather than a private towing lot, they will likely charge you if you try to drive the car out of the lot. It's also a crime to use false evidence of registration. These are misdemeanors, and the no registration charge usually gets dropped once you register the car and produce proof.

They also may not allow a tow truck into the lot to take the vehicle, even if you pay the fines, if the car still isn't registered. You'd have to talk to the lot.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. What is the best course of action? I can't transfer the title to someone else if they could get in legal trouble. The car is insured but would have to be out of the lot before it could be registered because MO requires inspections. Also, I can't get a driver's license so I would not be able to register it under my name. Should I hire a lawyer to take care of all of these issues? I probably won't do this but I'm trying to figure out all the possible outcomes before proceeding so, what would happen if the car was just left there?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You can sell the car to someone else, and they can pick it up. As long as they have the bill of sale showing that they bought it AFTER it was towed, they shouldn't get in legal trouble for not having it registered. But you could still get in trouble, because that creates a paper trail back to you.

If the car is just left there, at some point, the storage fees will exceed the value and the lot will auction if off.

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