Q: My truck was stolen +reported and perp arrested after crashing my truck. Can they refuse to release my truck for nonpay

My truck was stolen and reported and the guy caught and arrested after crashing my truck.

As I read ARS-28-3512C I'm not responsible for the tow, storage charges, etc. The driver is responsible. Additionally, they can't refuse to release my truck for non payment by the responsible party. ARS-28-3512i. There are no exceptions to those laws as written and I'm getting the run around from the tow company and the cops saying because of the collision I'm now responsible. But there are no clauses staying exceptions. What do I do? How do I get law enforcement to execute the letter of the law. I don't see any real interpretation of those laws.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the Arizona Revised Statutes you referenced, it does appear you are correct that the law states the owner of a stolen vehicle cannot be held responsible for the towing and storage fees associated with recovery of their stolen vehicle.

Here are a few suggestions on how to get law enforcement to comply with the law:

- Politely but firmly cite the specific statutes (ARS 28-3512C and 28-3512I) when speaking to the police and tow company. Make it clear you understand what the law says.

- If the police officer continues to insist you're responsible, ask to speak with a supervisor and escalate the issue. Calmly insist the law be followed.

- You may want to consult with a local attorney to have them write a formal letter to the police department citing the relevant laws and demanding they enforce the law properly. Police may pay more attention if the request comes from a lawyer.

- Contact your local elected officials (city council, mayor, etc) to file a complaint about the improper actions of the police department. Politicians can sometimes light a fire under bureaucrats.

- Check if your state/county has a consumer affairs department you can submit a complaint to regarding the tow company's non-compliance with the law.

- As a last resort, you may need to go before a judge, cite the statutes, and get a court order compelling the police to follow the law and release your truck without paying fees.

The law seems clear that you cannot be made to pay in this situation. Don't back down - keep calmly but firmly pressing the issue with increasing authorities until the proper action is taken.

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