What do I do if my car was vandalized after being towed?

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What do I do if my car was vandalized after being towed?

I got pulled over and I was arrested and my car was towed. When I went to pick it up all the wires were ripped out of the dash and it wouldn’t start. The tow yard told me that was how the got it. I finally managed to get it running well enough to take it home but it still won’t run correctly and hold a charge. Also, some speakers in the dash are no longer working, the airbags are missing from the dash and steering wheel, the car alarm is missing and the passenger window no longer works. I have the highway patrol report stating there was no damage and that there were 2 airbags.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under General Practice, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue. You have been arrested but you don't indicate for what you were arrested. If you were arrested for something like a DUI or unpaid parking tickets, then you have a case. You were no longer in possession of the motor vehicle from the point of arrest/detention and did not have possession again until it was out of the tow yard. Now comes the hard part. If the tow company brought it out to you like this or you were escorted to the motor vehicle and it was like this, you need to ensure you had something from the tow company indicating it was releasing this motor vehicle to you with this damage and you need to obtain the paperwork the tow company wrote and gave to the police when it accepted the motor vehicle. If the incoming paperwork shows it was damaged, then the tow company is not at fault. If the car arrived damaged, then basically you know the police did something with it. Now back to the first question. If you were arrested for drug or paraphernalia possession, the police could have obtained a warrant or under a theory of search incident to an arrest had the right to rip apart the motor vehicle to find other drugs or evidence of paraphernalia. At this point, you need a lawyer to not only help you with the charges stemming from your arrest but also because of this damage.


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