I'm trying to find out if the city of Oklahoma has the right to tow my car out of my drive way even if it's not in running condition


Yes, it can do that.

A city can constitutionally ban having an inoperable vehicle in your privately owned driveway, and can remedy a violation of its city ordinance by towing the vehicle, after providing you with the due process steps outlined in the ordinance below.

The relevant municipal ordinance is as follows:


§ 35-36. - Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) Junk vehicle means any vehicle, as defined herein, which is wrecked, dismantled, partially dismantled, inoperative, deteriorated, decayed, lacks necessary repairs or maintenance, abandoned, bearing no State license plate or bearing a State license plate that is more than three months out of date, or discarded.

(2) Vehicle means a device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices designed to be moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, the term shall include, but not be limited to, automobiles, buses, motorbikes, motorcycles, motor scooters, trucks, tractors, go-carts, golf carts, boats and trailers.

(3) Owner means any person, firm, or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property, including an officer, guardian, executor, administrator, mortgagee in possession, managing or leasing agent of such person, firm, or corporation.

(4) Private property means any real property which is not public property.

(5) Public property means that property which is dedicated to the public use and over which the Federal, State or municipal government or any political subdivision thereof exercises control and dominion.

§ 35-37. - Prohibited; nuisance declared.

(a) It shall be unlawful and an offense for any person to park, store, leave, or permit the parking, storing, or leaving of any vehicle of any kind which is in an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, rusted, junked, or partially dismantled condition whether attended or not, upon any public or private property within the City for a period of time in excess of 72 hours. The presence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, rusted, junked or partially dismantled vehicle or parts thereof on private or public property is hereby declared a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this article.

(b) The provisions of Subsection (a) shall not apply to any vehicle enclosed within a building on private property or to any vehicle held in connection with a lawful business enterprise, and property operated in the appropriate zone, pursuant to the zoning ordinance or to any vehicle in operable condition specifically adopted or designed for operation on drag strips or raceways or any vehicle retained by the owner for antique collection purposes in a storage place in an enclosed building on private property maintained in a lawful place and manner.

§ 35-38. - Order of abatement.

In all cases where it shall have been determined that any nuisance shall be abated, and the nuisance is not abated within the time specified in the notice, an order of abatement shall be entered by the Director or designee who shall assign a value to the vehicle and cause the vehicle or its parts to be removed and stored in a proper place for not more than 30 days.

§ 35-39. - Responsibility for removal.

(a) Upon proper notice and opportunity to be heard, the owner of the private property on which the abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle is located, shall be responsible for its removal. In the event of removal and disposition by the City or its designee, the owner of the private property where the vehicle is located shall be liable for the expenses incurred. (b) The owner of any vehicle so removed may regain possession thereof by making application to The Department of Neighborhood Services within 30 days after its removal. The owner shall pay the designated wrecker service all reasonable costs of towing and storage liens which shall have accrued to such vehicle. If the vehicle is not reclaimed within 30 days, it may be sold without further notice from the City.

§ 35-40. - Notice to remove.

(a) The City Manager, the Director or designee, shall give notice of removal to the owner of the private property where a nuisance as defined by this article is located. At least ten days notice shall be given to the owner of the property by mail at the address shown by the current year's tax rolls in the county treasurer's office before the City takes action. It shall constitute sufficient notice, when at the time of mailing of the notice to the property owner, the Director shall obtain a receipt of mailing from the postal service, which receipt shall indicate the date of mailing and the name and address of the mailee and if such person or entity cannot be found, then a copy of the notice may be served by posting a copy in some conspicuous place on the premises upon which the vehicle is located, at least ten days prior to any abatement action by the enforcement official. (b) The notice shall order the property owner to abate the nuisance and shall further state that unless such abatement is performed within ten days of the date of the notice, the nuisance may be abated by the City.

§ 35-41. - Hearing.

(a) The owner may give written consent authorizing the City to abate the nuisance under Section 35-42 hereof. Such consent shall waive the right to a hearing under Subsection (c) hereof.

(b) At any time within ten days from the date of the notice and order provided for in this article, the owner may request, in writing to the Director, a hearing to be conducted for the purpose of contesting the determination that a nuisance exists upon his property. The Director shall conduct such hearing as soon as may be practicable but not earlier than five days after receipt of the owner's request for such hearing, and not later than 15 days after such receipt.

(c) At such hearing, such owner shall have the right to be represented by counsel, to present testimony, or evidence and arguments, and to cross examine witnesses. All testimony shall be taken under oath. If the Director, after such hearing, shall determine that the inoperative vehicle or junked vehicle constitutes a growing blight or a substantial detriment to health and safety of the residents of our community, he/she shall file, in writing, findings of fact, and order that such nuisance be abated within ten days, and shall cause such finding and order to be served upon such owner at the conclusion of the hearing.

§ 35-42. - Removal of motor vehicles from property.

If the violation described in the notice served pursuant to this article has not been remedied within the ten-day period of compliance, or in the event that a notice requesting a hearing has not been timely filed, and the existence of the violation is affirmed by the Director, then the City Manager, Director or designee may continue to recommend prosecution of criminal charges on a daily basis for failure to abate the nuisance and/or shall have the right to take possession of the inoperative or junked vehicle and remove it from the premises. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere, hinder, or to refuse to allow such person or persons to enter upon private property for the purpose of removing a vehicle under the provisions of this article.

§ 35-46. - Collection of City's costs of removal.

(a) Upon the failure of the owner or occupant of property from which abandoned vehicles have been removed by the City to pay the unrecovered expense incurred by the City in such removal, the amount of the unrecovered cost may be added to the municipal utility bills of the private property from which removed and recovered in the same manner as such bills. (b) If the private property is not served by municipal utilities or if collection efforts are not successful, the cost may be certified by the City Clerk to the county treasurer of the county in which the property is located who shall add the same to the ad valorem taxes assessed against the property, until paid, and such costs shall be collected in the same manner as ad valorem taxes assessed against the property, and when collected shall be paid to the City.

§ 35-47. - Penalty.

In addition to the procedures for removal of vehicles, any person who shall violate any of the provisions hereof shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a Class "b" offense against the City. Each act in violation of any of the provisions hereof shall constitute a separate offense and may be chargeable as such. Each day's continued violation of any of the provisions hereof shall constitute a separate offense and may be chargeable as such.

This statute has stayed on the books for roughly fifty years without being struck down for being illegal or unconstitutional, and many municipalities have similar ordinances.

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