CA Veh Code Section 22851


(1)Whenever a vehicle has been removed to a garage under this chapter and the keeper of the garage has received the notice or notices as provided herein, the keeper shall have a lien dependent upon possession for his or her compensation for towage and for caring for and keeping safe the vehicle for a period not exceeding 60 days or, if an application for an authorization to conduct a lien sale has been filed pursuant to Section 3068.1 of the Civil Code within 30 days after the removal of the vehicle to the garage, 120 days and, if the vehicle is not recovered by the owner within that period or the owner is unknown, the keeper of the garage may satisfy his or her lien in the manner prescribed in this article. The lien shall not be assigned. Possession of the vehicle is deemed to arise when a vehicle is removed and is in transit, or when vehicle recovery operations or load salvage operations that have been requested by a law enforcement agency have begun at the scene.


Whenever a vehicle owner returns to a vehicle that is in possession of a towing company prior to the removal of the vehicle, the owner may regain possession of the vehicle from the towing company if the owner pays the towing company the towing charges.


No lien shall attach to any personal property in or on the vehicle. The personal property in or on the vehicle shall be given to the current registered owner or the owner’s authorized agent upon demand and without charge during normal business hours. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, normal business hours are Monday to Friday, inclusive, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., inclusive, except state holidays. A gate fee may be charged for returning property after normal business hours, weekends, and state holidays. The maximum hourly charge for nonbusiness hours releases shall be one-half the hourly tow rate charged for initially towing the vehicle, or less. The lienholder is not responsible for property after any vehicle has been disposed of pursuant to this chapter.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 22851’s source at ca​.gov