How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask P. Simmons Your Own Question
P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 33073
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
11181181
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
P. Simmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

In Minnesota, why is it not a criminal offense towing

Customer Question

In Minnesota, why is it not a criminal offense for a towing company to take a car from the owner's residence parking lot? There was no notice to the owner. It was towed at 5am. There was no parking permit on the car but there was no way to get a permit as the offices are closed and the only person available through management's answering service is a maintenance person.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help

Also, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen.

I am sorry for this dilemma. Can you give some context? Who called the tow company to move the car? Was it the property owner?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Have lived here for some 25 years. My car has been parked in approximately the same parking space every day for months if not years. This morning according to the police the car was towed allegedly as a repossession. I owe nothing to any one for the car. No one from property management would have contacted the towing company as they are all sleeping. The office is closed all weekend. Getting a parking permit is impossible. The management's answering service can only contact a maintenance person who has no authority except to fix leaking faucets. No one from management will respond during the weekend or between 5pm and 9am during the week, They put residents and their guests at great peril of having their car towed in the dark of night. The towing company prowls the parking lot looking for victims. They don't exhibit any emergency lights as that would call attention to their activities. My bedroom is just above where my car was parked. I didn't hear anything.In many jurisdictions such towing has been found to ge illegal and unconstitutional. The police hear claim the constition only applies in criminal cases and this illegal towing is not a criminal offense.Efforts to get the Legislature to act on this have been met with such things as, "I don't share your enthusiasm,." contact your local authorities and other lame evasion of the issue.The police claim it is a civil matter. I contend that the tow is unconstitutional. Minnesota law is vague, misleading, contradictory.I survive on Social Security and can not afford to hire an attorney. I can't afford the $195 towing fee.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

Thank you

I appreciate that insight.

So what is your question today....are you asking if you can force the police to investigate this as a crime?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
That is one question. They blow it off as being a civil matter because it is private property. They don't know the law except to use it as an excuse to do nothing.I would institute a civil action against the towing company if I had the funds or if I had the skills and ability to make a good presentation in court.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

Thank you
A few minutes please...I have some thoughts and will type them up

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your patience

Regarding the police duty to investigate? The police in MN (and in every state, for that matter) have “discretion”. This means that no citizen can require the police to investigate/prosecute any particular case.

Period.

It simply is not possible.

Now…I agree this could be a crime. And I agree that it would make sense for the police to prosecute. But if they refuse? Your recourse is limited. You can complain to the chief of police. Or to your elected official (the police chief works for the mayor/city council).

But if the police do not want to take the case you can to make them.

NOw…from the ciivl side you can absolutely sue in civil court. AND you can “do it yourself”

Small claims is a true "peoples court". The formal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply. So you can represent yourself (no need to hire a lawyer).

The process is simple enough. You head to the county court and talk to the clerk of the court. They can get you the forms needed to start. You file the claim, serve a copy on the defendant and wait for your day in court.

In court, be prepared to tell the judge what happened, and bring in copies of any evidence that supports your case. IF there are witnesses who can testify about what happened? Have them come as well.

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Do I have to give the defendant prior to court any of the documents and evidence that I intend to present. Much of it is findings of courts in other jurisdictions.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

Not for small claims. You just show up with your evidence and present to the court. That is the beauty of small claims...you can do it yourself.

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
How much do I owe you?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

If you would please "rate" the answer (3-5 stars) I would appreciate it. That way I get credit for my work
Thank you

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm considering what rating you should receive from me. Be patient.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.

I understand. Take your time, but please, do, rate.

phil