If You Have An Old Junker That You've Given Up On, You Need To Know What The Law Says About Dealing With It.

It won't take you very long to on a drive around any part of East Texas to see a car abandoned either on the side of the road or sitting on someone's property. The ones that are someones property is usually Mr. or Mrs. "I'm going to restore it one day" but that one day has come and gone many years ago.

As for the ones you find sitting on the side of the road, you may see an "orange sticker" on it. That means the state has declared it "abandoned" but how long does the car have to be there until the state declares it such?

Here's What The Texas Department Of Motor Vehicles Has To Say..

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Let's say your car breaks down on the side of the road and you can't fix it right away or get it towed. If you hope to get your car back quickly, you'll have to work against the clock.

In most cases, a vehicle is considered "abandoned" if it has been left unattended without permission in certain areas for more than 48 hours according to The Texas DMV. 

There's several other factors that come into play as well...


When it comes to "certain areas" TXDMV means "public property" or "private property without the owners consent". Here's the other ways that your vehicle can be legally declared "abandoned" if left for more than 48 hours:

  • Is inoperable, is more than five years old, and has been left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours
  • Has remained illegally on public property for more than 48 hours
  • Has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in charge of the property for more than 48 hours
  • Has been left unattended on the right-of-way of a designated county, state, or federal highway for more than 48 hours

You Have Even LESS TIME To Reclaim Your Car In These Circumstances:


While 48 hours seems reasonable, if your car is stuck in any one of these scenarios then you'll only have a little more than 24 hours to get it moved:

  • 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 division of the Texas Department of Transportation or a controlled access highway
  • Is an impounded commercial motor vehicle at a vehicle storage facility and the delinquent administrative penalty has not been paid to the Texas Department of Public Safety by the 11th day after being impounded

Once law enforcement removes the abandoned vehicle, they must notify the last known registered owner or any lienholder which is YOU and Law enforcement and storage facilities can charge fees to store the abandoned vehicle. If the vehicle has not been claimed within a set time period, it can be sold or transferred at a public auction.

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