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The OPD Vehicle Enforcement Unit works to improve Oakland’s neighborhoods and enhance Oakland’s physical assets by addressing the problems of abandoned vehicles on public and private property and aggressively pursuing parking citation scofflaws.
This Vehicle Services webpage is divided into three sections:
Click here for general car- and truck-related FAQs.
Abandoned Auto / Towing
- How do I report an abandoned vehicle parked on a public street?
- How do I report an abandoned vehicle parked on private property or a private street?
- What are the hours of operation for the Abandoned Auto Detail?
- How come I always get voicemail when I call the Abandoned Auto Detail?
To report abandoned vehicles parked on the street for over 72 hours (3 days), you can:
- Call the Abandoned Auto Detail at (510) 777-8622.
- Email the location, description, and license number of the vehicle, if known, to AbandonedAuto@oaklandnet.com.
- Fax information to (510) 777-8880.
How Come I Always Get Voicemail When I Call the Abandoned Auto Detail?
All the Police Service Technicians in the Abandoned Auto Detail are assigned to field duty. Each morning, all messages (voicemail, email and fax) are retrieved and distributed to the appropriate Police Service Technician for the caller’s area.
- What can I do when my vehicle has been towed away?
- How can I have a vehicle investigated and towed away?
- A vehicle that was towed away has come back. What happened?
- What will happen if the vehicle’s owner removes the Courtesy Warning Sticker and does not move the vehicle?
- What should I do if my vehicle has a Courtesy Warning Sticker on it?
- First of all, check the A&B Towing website to find out the current status of your vehicle.
- Call the Police Department Records Division at (510) 238-3021 to confirm that your vehicle has been towed.
- If your vehicle has been towed, you will need to go to the Records Division, 3rd floor, Police Administration Building, 455 7th Street at Broadway, to get a Release Form for your vehicle.
Once a call for service is received, a Police Service Technician goes to the scene and investigates the complaint. One of several outcomes will occur:
- The vehicle may be towed away on first check, using several California Vehicle Code Sections such as Expired Registration over Six Months, Five or More Unpaid Parking Tickets, or Missing Vehicle Parts Needed to Operate.
- The vehicle may have a Courtesy Warning Sticker applied to the windshield giving notice that the vehicle tire mark must be broken within the next 72 hours. In this case:
- The Police Service Technician records the vehicle’s odometer reading and marks a tire for recheck after the 72 hours have passed.
- If the vehicle tire mark remains unbroken after 72 hours have passed, the vehicle will be towed.
- The Police Service Technician may determine that the vehicle is not abandoned and clearly is driven on a regular basis. If this is the case, no further action will be taken.
All vehicles towed by the Abandoned Auto Detail can be retrieved by the owner after a fee is paid to the City and the tow company. Apparently the vehicle’s owner has not abandoned it, after all.
A Police Service Technician recorded the odometer reading and marked a tire when he or she issued the Courtesy Warning Sticker. Whether or not the Courtesy Sticker is still on the vehicle’s windshield, the Police Service Technician will return after 72 hours and check the vehicle for compliance by examining the odometer reading and tire marker.
- To comply with the law, you must drive the vehicle at least one mile in the 72 hours following the time the sticker was applied.
- If you drive the vehicle one mile or more in the 72 hours after application of the sticker, no further action will be taken.
Vehicle Abatement FAQs
Vehicle Abatement FAQs
- What is the vehicle abatement program?
- Under what authority are vehicles abated and removed under the vehicle abatement program?
- What are the provisions and procedures of the Vehicle Abatement program?
- How do I know if my vehicle has been identified by the abatement program?
- What should I do if I find that the lime green 8 ½” X 11” Vehicle Abatement warning sticker is applied to my vehicle?
- What can I do to prevent my vehicle from being towed if I do not call the Vehicle Abatement Unit?
- What will happen after the Vehicle Abatement Unit affixes the lime green warning sticker on my vehicle?
- What will ultimately happen if I do not comply with Oakland Municipal Code 10.64.080?
- Is it illegal to abandoned or keep vehicles (inoperative, dismantled, or wrecked) on private property (other than at the business of a licensed dismantler or a licensed junkyard)?
The vehicle abatement program is a program designed to abate public nuisances by removing abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles and/or vehicle parts from private and public properties, not including highways.
Under what authority are vehicles abated and removed under the vehicle abatement program?
The ability to establish this ordinance is ensured by Section 22660 of the California Vehicle Code (VC) and Oakland Municipal Code 10.64.080 (OMC)
California Vehicle Code 22660 states as follows:
22660. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a city, county, or city and county may adopt an ordinance establishing procedures for the abatement and removal, as public nuisances, of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof from private or public property, and for the recovery, pursuant to Section 25845 or 38773.5 of the Government Code, or assumption by the local authority, of costs of administration and the removal.
Oakland Municipal Code 10.64.080 Authority to Abate and Remove states as follows:
Upon discovering the existence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicle, or parts thereof, on private property or public property within the city, the Police Department shall have the authority to cause the abatement and removal thereof in accordance with the procedure prescribed herein. These persons may include, but shall not be limited to, police officers, traffic control officers, and police service technicians.
The provisions for the Vehicle Abatement program are clearly enumerated in:
- Section 22661 of the California Vehicle Code, which outlines provisions that must be included in any ordinance which sets forth procedures for the Vehicle Abatement program.
- Oakland Municipal Chapter 10.64—Abandoned, Wrecked, Dismantled or Inoperative Vehicles denotes the City of Oakland procedures regarding the Vehicle Abatement program.
Please utilize this link to view the Oakland Municipal Code. Click on Title 10 (Vehicles and Traffic), then click on Chapter 10.64 - Abandoned, Wrecked, Dismantled or Inoperative Vehicles.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is the operational manager of the California Vehicle Abatement programs. You can access the CHP Abandoned Vehicle Abatement page directly to obtain a copy of the program guide to help counties manage abandoned cars and commercial vehicles.
The easiest way to know when a vehicle has been identified as subject to the Vehicle Abatement program abatement and removal procedures is when a lime green 81/2” X 11” warning sticker has been affixed to the windshield of the vehicle.
- IMMEDIATELY contact the Vehicle Abatement Unit at 510-777-8538.
- Educate yourself on the Vehicle Abatement provisions and procedures by accessing the Oakland Municipal Code, then clicking on Title 10 and Chapter 10.64, as described above.
To prevent your tagged vehicle from being towed and subsequently destroyed, you have 10 days to take one of the following actions:
- Move your tagged vehicle inside an enclosed structure (e.g., garage, storage facility) within 10 days
- Drive the vehicle at least one mile every 72 hours*
* Note: The mere fact that a vehicle has been sitting stationary for a 72-hour period without being driven does not in and of itself authorize it to be towed under the vehicle abatement statue.
A vehicle not being driven within a 72-hour period is a baseline used in connection with a several additional visible factors including:
Abandoned vehicle abatement staff will mail the register vehicle owner and the property resident where the vehicle is parked a certified letter, referred to as a 10-day notice of intention to abate and remove an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle as a public nuisance. The letter will notify you that your vehicle has been identified as being in violation of the Abandoned Vehicle Oakland Municipal Code 10.64.080. The certified letter will also strongly encourage you to contact the Vehicle Abatement Unit to obtain additional information on how to prevent your vehicle from being towed and subsequently destroyed
- Moving my vehicle into an enclosed structure - or
- Making my vehicle operable AND drive at least one 1 mile every 72 hours - or
- Contact the Vehicle Abatement Unit?
No sooner than 10 days after the certified letter has been MAILED, the Vehicle Abatement staff will return to the location where your vehicle was tagged to determine whether you have complied with abandoned vehicle abatement Oakland Municipal Code 10.64.080 by either moving your vehicle into an enclosed structure or making your vehicle operable AND driving it at least one mile every 72 hours. If it is determined that you have not adhered to the municipal code, your vehicle will be towed and scheduled for destruction.
Per Oakland Municipal Code 10.64.170, it is a misdemeanor for any person to abandon, park, store, or leave or permit the abandonment, parking, storing or leaving of any licensed or unlicensed vehicle or vehicle part, which is in an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative condition upon private property or public property within the City for a period in excess of 72 hours unless such vehicle or vehicle part is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not plainly visible from the street or other public or private property.