160A-303. Removal and disposal of junked and abandoned motor vehicles.

(a) A city may by ordinance prohibit the abandonment of motor vehicles on the public streets or on public or private property within the city, and may enforce any such ordinance by removing and disposing of junked or abandoned motor vehicles according to the procedures prescribed in this section.

(b) A motor vehicle is defined to include all machines designed or intended to travel over land or water by self-propulsion or while attached to any self-propelled vehicle.

(b1) An abandoned motor vehicle is one that:

(1) Has been left upon a street or highway in violation of a law or ordinance prohibiting parking; or

(2) Is left on property owned or operated by the city for longer than 24 hours; or

(3) Is left on private property without the consent of the owner, occupant, or lessee thereof for longer than two hours; or

(4) Is left on any public street or highway for longer than seven days or is determined by law enforcement to be a hazard to the motoring public.

(b2) A junked motor vehicle is an abandoned motor vehicle that also:

(1) Is partially dismantled or wrecked; or

(2) Cannot be self-propelled or moved in the manner in which it was originally intended to move; or

(3) Is more than five years old and worth less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or is more than five years old and worth less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) as provided by the municipality in an ordinance adopted under this section; or

(3a) Repealed by Session Laws 2009-97, s. 1, effective October 1, 2009.

(4) Does not display a current license plate.

(c) Any junked or abandoned motor vehicle found to be in violation of an ordinance adopted under this section may be removed to a storage garage or area, but no such vehicle shall be removed from private property without the written request of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises unless the council or a duly authorized city official or employee has declared it to be a health or safety hazard. The city may require any person requesting the removal of a junked or abandoned motor vehicle from private property to indemnify the city against any loss, expense, or liability incurred because of the removal, storage, or sale thereof. When an abandoned or junked motor vehicle is removed, the city shall give notice to the owner as required by G.S. 20-219.11(a) and (b).

(d) Hearing Procedure. - Regardless of whether a city does its own removal and disposal of motor vehicles or contracts with another person to do so, the city, shall provide a hearing procedure for the owner. For purposes of this subsection, the definitions in G.S. 20-219.9 apply.

(1) If the city operates in such a way that the person who tows the vehicle is responsible for collecting towing fees, all provisions of Article 7A, Chapter 20, apply.

(2) If the city operates in such a way that it is responsible for collecting towing fees, it shall:

a. Provide by contract or ordinance for a schedule of reasonable towing fees,

b. Provide a procedure for a prompt fair hearing to contest the towing,

c. Provide for an appeal to district court from that hearing,

d. Authorize release of the vehicle at any time after towing by the posting of a bond or paying of the fees due, and

e. Provide a sale procedure similar to that provided in G.S. 44A-4, 44A-5, and 44A-6, except that no hearing in addition to the probable cause hearing is required. If no one purchases the vehicle at the sale and if the value of the vehicle is less than the amount of the lien, the city may destroy it.

(e) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 420, s. 13.

(f) No person shall be held to answer in any civil or criminal action to any owner or other person legally entitled to the possession of any abandoned, lost, or stolen motor vehicle for disposing of the vehicle as provided in this section.

(g) Nothing in this section shall apply to any vehicle in an enclosed building or any vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise being operated in a lawful place and manner if the vehicle is necessary to the operation of the enterprise, or to any vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner by the city.

(h) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 420, s. 13, effective July 1, 1983. (1965, c. 1156; 1967, cc. 1215, 1250; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 426, s. 50; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1983, c. 420, ss. 11-13; 1997-456. s. 27; 2005-10, ss. 1, 3; 2006-15, s. 1; 2006-166, s. 2; 2006-171, s. 1; 2007-208, s. 1; 2009-97, s. 1; 2010-132, s. 20.)