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New York Vehicle & Traffic - Article 33 - § 1224 Abandoned Vehicles

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Vehicle and Traffic
 
    § 1224. Abandoned  vehicles.  1. A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be
  an abandoned vehicle if left unattended
    (a) with no number plates affixed thereto, for more than six hours  on
  any highway or other public place;
    (b)  for  more  than  twenty-four hours on any highway or other public
  place, except a portion of a highway or public place on which parking is
  legally permitted;
    (c) for more than forty-eight hours, after the parking of such vehicle
  shall have become illegal, if left on a portion of a highway  or  public
  place on which parking is legally permitted;
    (d)  for  more  than  ninety-six  hours on property of another if left
  without permission of the owner.
    2. If an abandoned vehicle, at the time of abandonment, has no  number
  plates  affixed  and  is of a wholesale value, taking into consideration
  the condition of the vehicle, of one thousand two hundred fifty  dollars
  or  less, ownership shall immediately vest in the local authority having
  jurisdiction thereof and title to the vehicle shall vest  in  accordance
  with  applicable  law  and  regulations  of  the  commissioner, provided
  however that a local authority shall not be required to obtain title  to
  an  abandoned  vehicle  that  is  subject  to  the  provisions  of  this
  subdivision if the vehicle will be sold or otherwise disposed of as junk
  or salvage, dismantled for  use  other  than  as  a  motor  vehicle,  or
  otherwise destroyed.
    3.  (a)  Except  for  vehicles  governed  by  subdivision two, a local
  authority having custody of an abandoned vehicle shall make  an  inquiry
  concerning the last owner of such vehicle as follows:
    (i)  abandoned vehicle with number plates affixed--to the jurisdiction
  which issued such number plates;
    (ii) abandoned vehicle with no number plates  affixed--the  department
  of motor vehicles.
    (b)  Such  local authority shall notify the last owner, if known, that
  the vehicle in question has been recovered as an abandoned  vehicle  and
  that,  if  unclaimed,  it will be sold at public auction or by bid after
  ten days from the date such notice was given. If the agency described in
  paragraph (a) also notifies such local authority that a lien or mortgage
  exists such notice shall also be sent to the  lienholder  or  mortgagee.
  The  commissioner  shall  prescribe  the  methods  of giving notice. Any
  person claiming such vehicle shall be  required  to  pay  the  costs  of
  removal and storage of such vehicle.
    (c)  Ownership of such abandoned vehicles, if unclaimed, shall vest in
  such local authority ten days from the date such notice is given; or  if
  the  last  owner  cannot  be  ascertained,  when  notice of such fact is
  received.
    4. For the purposes of this section, a  local  authority  entitled  to
  custody  of  an abandoned vehicle shall be the town in which the vehicle
  was abandoned, or if abandoned in a city or village, the city or village
  in which the  vehicle  was  abandoned,  except  that  if  a  vehicle  is
  abandoned  on  property  of  the  New  York  state  thruway authority or
  property under the jurisdiction of the office of parks,  recreation  and
  historic  preservation,  the  department  of transportation, or a public
  authority  or  commission,  such  authority,   office,   department   or
  commission   shall   be   entitled  to  the  custody  of  such  vehicle.
  Notwithstanding any provision of  this  section  to  the  contrary,  the
  office  of  general  services  shall  be  entitled to the custody of any
  vehicle abandoned on state property  subsequent  to  its  sale  by  such
  office.  The  commissioner may, by regulation, provide that a county may
  act as the agent for a local authority for the purpose of  removing  and
  disposing of abandoned vehicles.

    5. (a) Such local authority shall determine if an abandoned vehicle is
  suitable  for operation on the public highways. If so, the vehicle shall
  be sold at public auction to the highest bidder or converted pursuant to
  subdivision six of this section.
    (b)  If  such  local authority determines that an abandoned vehicle is
  not suitable for operation on the public highways,  it  shall  sell  the
  vehicle  to  a  vehicle  dismantler  or  scrap  processor  registered or
  certified pursuant to section four hundred fifteen-a of this chapter  or
  to  a vehicle dismantler or scrap processor who does not have a place of
  business in this state but who conforms to the laws and  regulations  of
  the state in which he has a place of business.
    (c) An abandoned vehicle without a vehicle identification number plate
  must  be  sold  only  to  a  vehicle  dismantler  or  a  scrap processor
  registered or certified pursuant to section four  hundred  fifteen-a  of
  this  chapter or to a vehicle dismantler or scrap processor who does not
  have a place of business in this state but who conforms to the laws  and
  regulations  of  the  state in which he has a place of business. Nothing
  contained herein shall be construed as preventing a local authority from
  applying for a replacement vehicle identification number plate.
    6. (a) A local authority, if authorized by local law, may  convert  to
  its  own use those abandoned vehicles not affected by subdivision two of
  this section or may, by sale or gift, transfer  title  to  any  of  such
  vehicles  to  any  other  municipal  corporation  for  use  by  its  law
  enforcement agency, provided  however,  the  total  number  of  vehicles
  converted  and/or  transferred  in  any calendar year may not exceed one
  percent of  the  local  authority's  unclaimed  abandoned  vehicles  not
  affected  by  subdivision  two  of  this  section  or two such vehicles,
  whichever is greater.
    (b) Any proceeds from the  sale  of  an  abandoned  vehicle  less  any
  expenses  incurred  by  such  local authority shall be held by the local
  authority without interest, for the benefit of the owner of such vehicle
  for a period of one year. If not claimed within such  one  year  period,
  such  proceeds  shall  be  paid  into  the  general  fund  of such local
  authority.
    7. (a) No person shall cause any vehicle to be an  abandoned  vehicle.
  There  shall  be a rebuttable presumption that the owner of an abandoned
  vehicle caused such  vehicle  to  be  abandoned.  A  violation  of  this
  subdivision  shall  be punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred
  fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars. In  a  city  having  a
  population of one million or more, a violation of this subdivision shall
  in  addition  be  punishable  by  a  civil  penalty of not less than two
  hundred fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.
    (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in addition  to  those
  persons  otherwise authorized to enforce this subdivision and adjudicate
  violations thereof, this subdivision shall also be enforceable in a city
  having a population of one million or more  by  an  agency  or  agencies
  designated  for  such  purpose by the mayor of such city, and notices of
  violation may be returnable to the environmental control board  of  such
  city,  which  shall  have the power to impose the civil penalties herein
  provided. Notwithstanding any other  provision  of  law,  service  of  a
  notice  of  violation  for  a violation of this subdivision committed in
  such city may be made  upon  an  owner  by  first  class  mail,  postage
  prepaid,  and any such notice served by mail shall be returnable only to
  such environmental control board. Such service by first class mail shall
  be deemed complete upon mailing of the notice of violation,  unless  the
  notice  of  violation  is  returned  to  the sender by the United States
  postal service for  any  reason  other  than  refusal  of  delivery.  In
  addition,  any  notice  of violation for a violation of this subdivision

  may be served by a means  prescribed  in  article  three  of  the  civil
  practice law and rules or article three of the business corporation law.
  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, such civil penalties imposed
  by  such environmental control board shall be paid into the general fund
  of such city. Notwithstanding section one  hundred  fifty-five  of  this
  chapter  or  any  other  provision  of  law,  where  a  person  has been
  adjudicated by such environmental control board to be  in  violation  of
  this  subdivision, such adjudication shall not have the force and effect
  of a conviction of a  traffic  infraction  or  of  a  violation  of  any
  provision  of  this  chapter  for  any  purpose  not  specified  in this
  subdivision.
    (c) Any  final  order  issued  pursuant  to  this  subdivision  by  an
  environmental control board of a city having a population of one million
  or  more  shall  constitute a judgment which may be entered in any place
  provided for the entry of civil judgments within the state, and  may  be
  enforced without court proceedings in the same manner as the enforcement
  of  money judgments entered in civil actions; provided, however, that no
  such judgment shall be entered that exceeds  the  sum  of  ten  thousand
  dollars  for  each  respondent.  Notwithstanding the preceding sentence,
  before a  judgment  based  upon  a  default  may  be  so  entered,  such
  environmental  control  board must have notified the respondent by first
  class mail in such form as such environmental control board may  direct:
  (1)  of the default decision and order and the penalty imposed; (2) that
  a judgment will be entered in any place provided for the entry of  civil
  judgments  in  the  state;  and  (3)  that entry of such judgment may be
  avoided by requesting a stay of default for good cause shown and  either
  requesting  a  hearing  or entering a plea pursuant to the rules of such
  environmental control board within thirty days of the  mailing  of  such
  notice.  No  judgment  based  upon  a  default  may be so entered by the
  environmental control  board  within  less  than  sixty  days  from  the
  completion  of service by mail of the notice of violation as provided in
  paragraph (b) of this subdivision. Any requirement of any  provision  of
  law other than this subdivision that relates to the manner of service of
  the   notice  of  violation  that  precedes  any  final  order  of  such
  environmental control board shall not apply  to  a  final  order  issued
  pursuant  to  this  subdivision.  A  judgment  entered  pursuant to this
  paragraph shall remain in full force and effect for eight years.
    (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of  this  chapter,  where  the
  environmental control board of a city having a population of one million
  or  more  has  adjudicated  any  person  to  be  in  violation  of  this
  subdivision  and  the  civil  penalty  therefor  is   not   paid,   such
  environmental  control  board  shall  notify  the  commissioner of motor
  vehicles of the judgment, who shall suspend any license of  such  person
  to  operate  a  motor  vehicle  in  this  state,  or,  if such person is
  unlicensed, such person's privilege of obtaining a license issued by the
  commissioner, or, if  such  person  is  a  non-resident,  such  person's
  privilege of operating a motor vehicle in this state, pending payment of
  such  civil  penalty. The procedures set forth in the first paragraph of
  subdivision seven of section five hundred ten of this chapter  shall  be
  applicable to a suspension pursuant to this paragraph.
    (e)  For purposes of this subdivision only, the term "owner" means any
  person, corporation, partnership, firm, agency, association,  lessor  or
  organization  who  at  the time of the issuance of a notice of violation
  for a violation of this subdivision:
    (i) is the beneficial or equitable owner of the abandoned vehicle; or
    (ii) has title to such vehicle; or

    (iii) is the registrant or co-registrant of  such  vehicle  registered
  with  the department of motor vehicles of this state or any other state,
  territory, district, province, nation or other jurisdiction; or
    (iv) uses such vehicle in its renting and/or leasing business; or
    (v)  is  an  owner  of  such vehicle as defined by section one hundred
  twenty-eight of this chapter or subdivision (a)  of  section  twenty-one
  hundred one of this chapter.
    9.  The  last  owner  of  an abandoned vehicle shall be liable to such
  local authority for the costs of removal and storage of such vehicle.
    10. The commissioner shall prescribe  by  regulation  such  forms  and
  procedures  necessary  or desirable to effectuate the provisions of this
  section. Such regulations may include procedures  for  the  removal  and
  disposition  of vehicle identification numbers of abandoned vehicles and
  forms for local records for abandoned vehicles and inquiries relating to
  ownership of such vehicles.
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Last modified: February 16, 2014