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Impounded Trailer
Posted by: Yeehaw ()
Date: May 27, 2007 10:37PM

I have a small trailer that I use occasionally but most of the time, it stays parked on the side of a road along with several other trailers. It's on a street without houses, out of the way, and not taking any parking that anyone would want to use. The license plates are current (permanent trailer tags), the tires are inflated, and it's kept in good repair.

I don't check on it every day, but every few weeks, I'll look in on it. When I first got it, I asked a Fairfax County police officer about parking restrictions on it. He told me that as long as the tags are current, it's parked in a place without parking restrictions, and it's movable (tires inflated), there shouldn't be a problem.

Yesterday, I discovered that my trailer had been impounded by Fairfax County. They had they put a 10 day tag on it saying it was abandoned and if it wasn't moved, it would be towed. I didn't see the notice in time, and had to pay nearly $400 for my trailer being impounded for 4 days. When I spoke to the ticketing officer on the phone before getting my trailer back, I explained to him that another officer had told me that I could park my trailer as long as it fit the above guidelines. He told me he had never heard of that. My only option at the time was to pay to get my trailer back so I wouldn't incur more storage fees from the towing company.

It seems to me that the County should mail a letter and give 30 days notice before impounding a vehicle or trailer.

This website (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/police21.htm) doesn't fit my situation exactly, but it's similar, and explains that the County gives 3 warnings before towing a vehicle.

Also, this webiste (http://www.municode.com/Resources/gateway.asp?pid=10051&sid=46) is not an exact match, but similar and talks about fees that the impound lot can charge. I paid twice what the law says a towing company can charge for a vehicle towed from a private lot (mine was on a public road).

Does anyone have any useful comments or know of anything that could help me? I have the option to have a hearing about the situation but until I can find anything written, I don't think I have much of a case.

Thank you.

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: Radiophile ()
Date: May 27, 2007 10:56PM

I am sure "Friendly Attorney" will be glad to help. He will fight for your rights and get a civil judgment against the cop which will be enforced with a seizure of the cops pension. He will then take it to Federal court and claim that since the cop called you a fagot - which violate Federal Housing Laws, you should be left off the hook.

Bonus: If the cop owns a house, you will get any equity he has in the house. There is a precedent on this.

Four days and $400 seems excessive.The maximum charge is something like $75 hook up, $25 towing and $25 a day storage is what I believe they can charge for towing. Is there something you are not telling us?

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: Yeehaw ()
Date: May 27, 2007 11:05PM

I think $400 is excessive too. That's why I'm asking here about it.

I've told the whole story - except for the part about the sign clearly posted on the gate at the tow yard that states $50/day for storage. It was almost $200 for the hook up fee - and 4 days of storage.

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: FairF4x0r ()
Date: May 27, 2007 11:15PM

Luckily I am in a community that got its main road reclassified so trailers and commercial vehicles can't be parked on it anymore. I sympathize with your situation at some level, however my community was held hostage to these things parked all over the place and I was glad to see them gone.

The maximum charges posted earlier may be for passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicles, trailers, boats, etc may have different guidelines.

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: cw ()
Date: May 27, 2007 11:43PM

Sometimes you have to read the fine print on what a towing company can charge. If they have to use special tow trucks such as a flat bed they can up the price. Also they are charging for storage so if you didnt find out about it for a few days it most likely had the meter running on that part.

As a foot note there is a part of Burke on Burke Road where they do not have the boat and trailer restrictions. It looks like a dump with old boats and broken down trailers on it. Anyone who lives out this way will know what I am talking about. I would be glad to see the county tow away that mess. Sorry you got caught up in it but with limited parking on most area roads I am not sure we can afford to open it to trailers and boats. That is what marinas and storage lots are for.

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: RESton Peace ()
Date: May 28, 2007 12:19AM

Agreed, boats belong in marinas; don't get the boat if you don't have enough yard to store it or can't afford parking at a marina. I wish the entire area would enforce no parking on public streets for boats, or at least require an expensive permit for it so we get some benifit from it.

It's not so much the boats that look dumpy, as the trailers and those raincovers do. The trailers tend to be rusted black iron and the covers look like trash bags.

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: 496 ()
Date: May 29, 2007 04:42PM

what about the 40 kilos of weed inside?

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: burke res. ()
Date: May 29, 2007 04:47PM

CW I know exactally what section of Burke rd you are talking about. From what I have heard is that the communities in the area have already taken steps to form a community parking district that will not allow for boats and trailers to be parked there.

As far as the issue at hand. The police can put a 10 day tag on any vehicle that is parked on a public street an then they can tow it if it has not been moved. With a trailer the only reason that it would have been towed is if someone in the neighborhood complained about it. Officers really don't go around looking to tow vehicles off the street there are far more important things to do. However if an officer is requested by a citizen because the citizen thinks it has been there too long the officer will put a 10 day tag on it.

As for towing fees. they are made up by the tow company not by the county. It is something like $125 for hookup and then like $80 a day for storage

Sorry you stuff go towed. I hope that helps

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: Yeehaw ()
Date: May 29, 2007 10:28PM

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

I agree that boats and trailers can be an eyesore, and I wouldn't like them on my street either.

Again, this trailer was parked in a secluded area, not near houses, not taking valuable parking, and not in a restricted zone.

It could have been worse, but I just learned a $400 lesson.

Re: Impounded Trailer
Posted by: MBF ()
Date: May 31, 2007 10:46AM

Just out of curiosity, where was it parked?

I work for the county and with the police to get these parking districts created and enforced. I was recently told by a Lieutenant that the county attorney's office said they can no longer enforce the "abandoned vehicle" section of the code. This certainly contradicts this.

Regardless, someone had to be repeatedly calling about your vehicle for the police to take such action. They don't unilaterally go out and enforce those things; they don't have the time or manpower.

That crappy part of Burke Road near the townhouses as you approach New Guinea did recently approve a community parking district (prohibiting trailers, boats, RVs)--the signs should go up soon. If you think that road was bad, Hillside Road in SWest pringfield is pretty much the same. We get calls about it all the time.

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