Abandoned Vehicle Law & Legal Definition


Abandoned vehicles are cars, boats, and other means of motorized transportation that are left on another's property for a period of time as defined by local statutes, which vary by locality. Such laws are enacted due to abandoned vehicles which create fire hazards and constitute an attractive nuisance, creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, and contributing to urban blight.

Laws governing abandoned vehicles may provide for notice to the last recorded owner and any recorded lienholders before disposing of the vehicle or selling it at auction. Such notice typically explains how recovery of the vehicle may be made to avoid its disposal or sale and often a fee for storage is required to be paid.

The following is an example of a local law governing abandoned vehicles:
Abandoned Motor Vehicle means a motor vehicle which:

(1) is inoperable, is more than five (5) years old, and has been left unattended on public property for more than forty-eight (48) hours;

(2) has remained illegally on public property for more than forty-eight (48) hours;

(3) has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in charge of the property for more than forty-eight (48) hours;

(4) has been left unattended on the right-of-way of a designated county, state, or federal highway for more than forty-eight (48) hours;

(5) has been left unattended for more than 24 hours on the right-of-way of a turnpike project constructed and maintained by the Texas Turnpike Authority or a controlled access highway.