2006 Regular Session
By: Representative Moore
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 85-7-251, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE PROCEDURE THAT MUST BE FOLLOWED TO ALLOW A TOWING COMPANY TO RETAIN POSSESSION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE AND TO ENFORCE A LIEN UPON THE VEHICLE FOR THE PRICE OF TOWING AND STORAGE; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 63-23-1, 63-23-3, 63-23-5, 63-23-7, 63-23-9 AND 63-23-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE A PROCEDURE FOR REMOVING ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLES FROM THE RIGHT-OF-WAY OF PUBLIC STREETS, ROADS AND HIGHWAYS AND OTHER PUBLIC PROPERTY AND FOR SELLING AND DISPOSING OF SUCH MOTOR VEHICLES BY AUTOMOBILE DEALERS, WRECKER SERVICES, REPAIR SERVICE OWNERS OR PERSONS UPON WHOSE PROPERTY SUCH MOTOR VEHICLES HAVE BEEN LEFT OR LAWFULLY TOWED AT THE REQUEST OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 85-7-251, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
85-7-251. (1) A towing company that tows a motor vehicle upon the request of the owner of the vehicle, upon the direction of a law enforcement officer or upon the request of a real property owner upon whose property the vehicle has been left without permission of the real property owner, upon complying with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, shall have a lien upon the vehicle for the reasonable price of towing and storage of the vehicle and shall be entitled to retain possession of the motor vehicle until the price is paid. A towing company that fails to make a good faith effort to comply with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall not be entitled to retain possession of the vehicle or to enforce a lien upon the vehicle, but may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the owner of the vehicle to recover the reasonable price for towing and storage of the vehicle and such other charges to which the towing company deems itself to be lawfully entitled.
(2) The following procedure must be followed in order to enforce the lien created under subsection (1) of this section: Within twenty-four (24) hours after towing a vehicle, the towing company shall report to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction any vehicle that has been towed unless the vehicle was towed at the request of the owner of the vehicle. If the owner of a towed vehicle has not contacted the towing company within five (5) business days of the initial tow, the towing company shall obtain from the appropriate authority the names and addresses of the owner and any lienholder. If the information from the appropriate authority fails to disclose the owner or lienholder, a good faith effort shall be made by the towing company to determine ownership, including a check for tag information, inspection sticker, or any papers in the vehicle that may indicate ownership. Upon location of the owner and lienholder, the towing company shall notify them at their last known addresses by certified mail, return receipt requested, postmarked no later than the tenth day following the initial tow, informing them of the amount due for towing and storage and that the vehicle will be sold unless the charges due and owing are timely paid. * * * If the vehicle has not been redeemed within ten (10) days after the mailing of the certified letter, or within five (5) days after the mailing of the certified letter if the value of the vehicle in its present condition is less than Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00), the towing company may commence sale of the property at public auction after publishing for two (2) consecutive weeks a notice of sale in the newspaper having circulation in the county where the vehicle was initially towed. The proceeds of the sale of such property in excess of the amount needed to pay the towing, reasonable storage and necessary expenses of the procedures required by this subsection shall be held by the towing company for a period of six (6) months and, if not claimed by the owner * * * within such time, shall become the property of the county and be paid to the chancery clerk of the county in which the sale was held to be deposited into the county general fund, subject, however, to any rights of the recorded lienholder.
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SECTION 2. Sections 63-23-1, 63-23-3, 63-23-5, 63-23-7, 63-23-9 and 63-23-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide a procedure for removing abandoned motor vehicles from the right-of-way of public streets, roads and highways and other public property and for selling and disposing of such motor vehicles by automobile dealers, wrecker services, repair service owners or persons upon whose property such motor vehicles have been left or lawfully towed at the request of a law enforcement officer, are repealed.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.