Abandoned Vehicles

According to the Texas Transportation Code under Sec. 683.002, a motor vehicle is abandoned if the vehicle:

  1. Is inoperable, is more than five years old, and has been left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours;
  2. Has remained illegally on public property for more than 48 hours;
  3. Has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in charge of the property for more than 48 hours;
  4. Has been left unattended on the right-of-way of a designated county, state, or federal highway for more than 48 hours;
  5. Has been left unattended for more than 24 hours on the right-of-way of a turnpike project constructed and maintian by the Texas Turnpike Authority division of the Texas Department of Transportation or a controlled access highway; or
  6. Is considered an abandoned motor vehicle under section 644.153 (r)

In addition to the above criteria, the Marshal's Department requires the vehicle to have an expired registration to be deemed abandoned.

Removal Process

After a vehicle is reported as abandoned, a parking technician will evaluate the vehicle to ensure it meets the criteria listed in the definition above.

Once a vehicle is deemed abandoned, parking enforcement then follows a "Red Tagging" procedure required to ensure proper notice is provided to the owner or operator of the vehicle.

  1. Parking enforcement will affix an official police notice to the driver's side window.
  2. Following a 48 hour waiting period, parking enforcement will return to check that vehicle has been removed.
  3. If the vehicle is still present, Parking Enforcement will contact a tow company to remove the vehicle from city property.

Example: Police Notice Sticker

Reporting an Abandoned Vehicle:

Private Property Towing

A residential property owner may tow a vehicle from their premises at their own discretion; however, it may be at their own expense.

Private Business parking lots or facilities open to the public are required to post signs prohibiting the parking of unauthorized vehicles. Only if these signs are present can a business or facility tow unauthorized vehicles. If the vehicle is suspected to be a junk vehicle see the following section.

Note: Parking Enforcement does not tow vehicles from private property.

Junk Vehicles

Junked vehicle means a vehicle that is self-propelled, inoperable and:

  1. Does not have lawfully affixed to it both an unexpired license plate and a valid motor vehicle safety inspection certificate;
  2. Is wrecked, dismantled, partially dismantled or discarded; or
  3. Has remained inoperable for more than 45 consecutive days.

It is unlawful for a person to cause or permit a junked vehicle or a part of a junked vehicle to be placed or to remain on any public property or public right-of-way.

A junk vehicle that remains on city property for a period of more than 48 hours constitutes an abandoned motor vehicle and may be dealt with under processes defined by state law for removal of abandoned motor vehicles as stated in the previous section.

Junk Vehicles on Private Property

To report a junk vehicle on private property please contact Code Compliance.