I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
The fact that a warrant was issued means that there was a citation issued at some point in time. The citation was no doubt placed on your car (under a wiper blade) and left for you. It is certainly possible that the citation was taken by a passerby and that you would not have had actual notice of the citation.
When you failed to appear at the time set out on the citation for the hearing---because you never saw the citation, the judge issued a bench warrant for you.
Towing of a vehicle that has expired plates is at the discretion of the officer. They may leave a citation or tow the vehicle. So yes, unfortunately, the officer had the legal right to have the vehicle towed from the public street. I am very sorry.
While you appear to have a valid reason for not appearing at the hearing, and the warrant will be recalled by the court and you likely will face no penalty for the failure to appear originally, it is possible that you will be assessed a fine for having an unregistered vehicle on the public roadway.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
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I wish you and yours the best in 2015,