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Changes to State Law

Enable City to Tow, Impound Unregistered Vehicles

After several years in the making, the state Legislature has given final passage to a change in state law that will allow municipalities to tow and impound vehicles that are unregistered and/or unlicensed – something that was nearly impossible to do under the pre-existing law, according to Ald. Bohl, who co-sponsored a Common Council resolution back in 2000 asking for the change in state law.

Earlier this year the state Senate passed 2005 Assembly Bill 240, which was signed into law by Governor Doyle. Importantly, changes included in the approved bill allow city parking checkers to have a vehicle that is found to be unregistered and/or unlicensed towed or impounded – something not allowed under the pre-existing state law. "We were really needing a tool to help us keep our streets from getting clogged up with nuisance vehicles," said Ald. Bohl.

"With the help of several of our state legislators we now have that critical tool and we can assure law-abiding citizens that we'll be able to keep their streets from looking like junk yards," said Ald. Bohl.

Under the former state statute/local ordinance, the narrow language made it impossible for a municipality to tow an unregistered vehicle because the vehicle had to "reasonably appear" to have been unregistered for 30 days.

The new law changed the definition of "unregistered motor vehicle" so that it applies to any motor vehicle located upon a highway that is not displaying valid license plates, or a temporary operation plate, among other factors/criteria.