Vehicle Impound Unit
What is an abandoned vehicle?
Any vehicle observed by an authorized officer or reported by a member of the public to have been left within the limits of any highway or upon the property of another without the consent of the property owner for a period of twenty-four (24) hours or longer, except that a vehicle shall not be considered abandoned if its owner-operator is unable to remove it from the place where it is located and has notified a law enforcement agency and requested assistance. Some examples of abandoned vehicles include unauthorized vehicles which have been left on:
• A public roadway
• Your business property (see below)
• Your residential property (see below)
Note: Law Enforcement may exercise discretion when marking and/or towing abandoned vehicles from business and residential properties (Private Property) due to being a civil matter. Law Enforcement may mark and/or tow a vehicle provided that business has a limited number of parking paces, or if a vehicle is blocking access or other portion of the property without permission. Should Law Enforcement not get involved, it is recommended that the property owner or authorized agent consult with their own legal advisor to seek remedy for vehicle removal.
Who do I contact if I find my vehicle was marked as abandoned and towed? You can call non-emergency dispatch at 377-6790 or the Boise Police Vehicle Impound Unit Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 570-6120 or 570-6123.
Who do I contact to have a vehicle removed from my property? Who you contact depends on whether or not your property is properly posted. You have proper posting if you have a sign or notice that:
- Is displayed in a clearly conspicuous location
- Has large print
- States that unauthorized vehicles will be removed at the owner's expense and
- Lists the name of the towing company and phone number
If your property is posted as described previously, you may simply call the towing company listed on your posting and have them remove the vehicle.
If your property is not posted as described above and within Boise City limits, you should contact the Boise Police Department Dispatch Center at 377-6790 and report the vehicle as abandoned. To report the vehicle abandoned to dispatch you must provide the following information: Vehicle location, description of the vehicle, license plate number, (if applicable) and your name, address and a contact phone number.
It is unlawful to knowingly request a tow of a lawfully parked vehicle on private property without proper signing. The signing cannot be posted after the fact. It is recommended that businesses, apartment complexes, hotels, and other locations contact a towing company to inquire about obtaining private property towing services and signing.
Do I always have to wait 48 hours to have a vehicle removed if my property is not posted? No. A law enforcement agency may immediately have a vehicle towed if it is blocking your driveway or is substantially interfering with the use and enjoyment of your property. Do not call a tow truck operator yourself. If you do, you could be required to pay the towing and storage charges.
Are there any other circumstances where a vehicle can be towed immediately? Yes. Law enforcement agencies may have a vehicle towed in any situation where the vehicle:
- is blocking or impeding traffic,
- is causing a hazard,
- has the potential of impeding any emergency vehicle,
- is impeding any snow removal or other road maintenance operation,
- has been stolen but not yet reported as recovered, or
- is not registered, or displays an expired license plate registration sticker.
- has been in an accident and remains on the highway, or
- the driver has been arrested
What if you sell a vehicle that is later abandoned? If you have not filed a Release of Liability Statement as required by Idaho law after selling or transferring a vehicle, you may receive a citation and be held liable for the same penalties, in addition to the towing and storage charges.
(You can also be held liable for traffic accidents and parking tickets involving the vehicle)
Release of liability forms are printed on the bottom of newer title certificates and on the backs of vehicle registrations. You can also get them from your county assessor's motor vehicle office or from the following link:
For other helpful information on abandoned vehicle you refer to theIdaho Transportation Department Abandoned Vehicle Guide
Idaho Criminal and Traffic Laws pertaining to Abandoned Vehicles and helpful information:
Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles
Idaho Code 49-1801 thru 49-1819
Idaho Code 49-526
Please contact the Department of Transportation, Titles Division at 334-8663 and the Boise Police Department Vehicle Impound Unit at 570-6120 or 570-6123 if you have a question that has not been addressed here.