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A71, R143, S495
Sponsors: Senators Knotts, Courson, Waldrep, Martin and Setzler
Document Path: l:\council\bills\dka\3261dw03.doc
Introduced in the Senate on March 19, 2003
Introduced in the House on April 16, 2003
Last Amended on June 5, 2003
Passed by the General Assembly on June 5, 2003
Governor's Action: June 25, 2003, Signed
Summary: Motor vehicles; towing, abandoned, disposal; provisions
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3/19/2003 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-5 3/19/2003 Senate Referred to Committee on Transportation SJ-5 4/3/2003 Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Transportation SJ-7 4/8/2003 Scrivener's error corrected 4/8/2003 Senate Amended SJ-40 4/8/2003 Senate Read second time SJ-40 4/8/2003 Senate Ordered to third reading with notice of amendments SJ-40 4/9/2003 Scrivener's error corrected 4/10/2003 Senate Read third time and sent to House SJ-10 4/16/2003 House Introduced and read first time HJ-6 4/16/2003 House Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works HJ-7 4/23/2003 House Recalled from Committee on Education and Public Works HJ-53 4/23/2003 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-53 5/28/2003 House Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary HJ-140 6/2/2003 Scrivener's error corrected 6/3/2003 House Debate adjourned until Wednesday, June 4, 2003 HJ-93 6/3/2003 House Reconsidered HJ-154 6/3/2003 House Debate interrupted HJ-166 6/4/2003 House Requests for debate-Rep(s). Loftis, Thompson, Freeman, Hosey, Bales and JH Neal HJ-14 6/4/2003 House Requests for debate removed-Rep(s). Freeman HJ-495 6/4/2003 House Amended HJ-101 6/4/2003 House Read second time HJ-116 6/4/2003 House Roll call Yeas-103 Nays-0 HJ-116 6/5/2003 House Read third time and returned to Senate with amendments HJ-15 6/5/2003 Senate House amendment amended SJ-171 6/5/2003 Senate Returned to House with amendments SJ-171 6/5/2003 House Concurred in Senate amendment and enrolled HJ-277 6/5/2003 Ratified R 143 6/25/2003 Signed By Governor 7/1/2003 Copies available 7/1/2003 Effective date See Act for Effective Date 7/2/2003 Act No. 71
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
(A71, R143, S495)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 56-5-5635 SO AS TO ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE BY WHICH A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER MAY HAVE A VEHICLE TOWED AND PROVIDE FOR THE DISPOSAL OF THE VEHICLE; TO AMEND SECTION 16-11-760, RELATING TO PARKING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY, SO AS TO DELETE PROVISIONS RELATING TO A LIEN PLACED ON THE VEHICLE FOR TOWING AND STORAGE AND THE SALE OF THE VEHICLE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 29-15-10, RELATING TO A LIEN ON AN ARTICLE REPAIRED OR STORED, SO AS TO PROVIDE STORAGE COSTS MAY BE CHARGED THAT HAVE ACCRUED BEFORE THE NOTIFICATION TO THE OWNER OR LIENHOLDER OF THE LOCATION OF THE VEHICLE; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5630, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE NOTICE TO OWNER AND LIENHOLDERS OF AN ABANDONED VEHICLE TAKEN INTO CUSTODY BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, SO AS TO DEFINE "VEHICLE" FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, PROVIDE THAT THE STORAGE PLACE HAVING TOWED AND RECEIVED THE VEHICLE, NOT THE SHERIFF OR CHIEF OF POLICE, SHALL NOTIFY THE LAST KNOWN OWNER OF THE VEHICLE AND ALL LIENHOLDERS THAT THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY AND SPECIFY WHAT CONSTITUTES NOTICE; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5640, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE SALE OF CERTAIN ABANDONED VEHICLES, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE A PROPRIETOR, OWNER, OR OPERATOR OF THE STORAGE PLACE INSTEAD OF THE APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER TO SELL THE ABANDONED VEHICLES AND PROVIDE FOR THE SALE; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 56-5-2522 RELATING TO A PROCEDURE BY WHICH A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER AUTHORIZES A VEHICLE OR AN OBJECT TO BE TOWED, WHETHER ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Law enforcement towing
SECTION 1. Chapter 5, Title 56 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 56-5-5635. (A) Notwithstanding another provision of law, a law enforcement officer who directs that a vehicle be towed for any reason, whether on public or private property, shall use the established towing procedure for his jurisdiction. A request by a law enforcement officer resulting from a law enforcement action including, but not limited to, a motor vehicle collision, vehicle breakdown, or vehicle recovery incident to an arrest, is deemed a law enforcement towing for purposes of recovering costs associated with the towing and storage of the vehicle or other property, unless the request for towing is made by a law enforcement officer at the direct request of the owner or operator of the vehicle.
(B) Within ten days following a law enforcement's towing request, the towing or storage operator or owner shall provide to the sheriff or chief of police a list describing the vehicles or other property remaining in their possession. Failure to provide the law enforcement agency this list, the towing and storage owner or operator forfeits recovery of all costs associated with towing and storage of the vehicle or other property. Upon receipt of this list, the sheriff or chief of police shall provide the towing company the current owner's name, address, and a record of all lienholders along with the make, model, and vehicle identification number or a description of the object on the proper forms within ten days and must be at no cost to the storage operator. The storage place having towed or received the vehicle shall notify by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, the last known registered owner and all lienholders of record that the vehicle has been taken into custody.
(C) If the identity of the last registered owner cannot be determined, or if the registration contains no address for the owner, or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and addresses of all lienholders, the towing or storage owner or operator shall provide notice by one publication in one newspaper of general circulation in the area where the vehicle was abandoned is sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this article. The notice by publication may contain multiple listings of abandoned vehicles.
(D) The proprietor, owner, or operator of a storage place, garage, or towing service, who has towed and stored a vehicle or object has a lien against the vehicle or object and its contents, and may have the vehicle or object and its contents sold at public auction pursuant to Section 29-15-10, and may hold the license tag of any vehicle until all towing and storage costs have been paid, or if the vehicle is not reclaimed, until it is declared abandoned and sold. Storage costs may be charged that have accrued before the notification of the owner and lienholder, by certified or registered mail, of the location of the vehicle, but may not exceed charges for five days from the date the towing or storage operator receives the owner and lienholder's name and address as provided by Section 56-5-5635(B). The lienholder of record must be notified, return receipt requested, of all reasonable towing charges and any storage costs that will accrue from the date the certified letter is mailed. Fifteen days after the notice is mailed, return receipt requested, and the vehicle or object and its contents are not reclaimed, the vehicle or object and its contents are considered abandoned and may be sold by the magistrate pursuant to the procedures in Section 29-15-10.
(E) The owner of the motor vehicle as demonstrated by providing a certificate of registration has one opportunity to remove any personal property from the vehicle after it is in the possession of the proprietor, owner, or operator of a storage place or garage."
Parking on private property
SECTION 2. Section 16-11-760 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 16-11-760. (A) It is unlawful for a person to park a motor-driven or other vehicle on the private property of another without the owner's consent, if the property is for commercial use, the owner shall post a notice in a conspicuous place on the borders of the property near each entrance prohibiting this parking. Proof of the posting is deemed and taken as notice conclusive against the person making entry.
(B) A vehicle found parked on private property may be towed and stored at the expense of the registered owner or lienholder, and charges for towing, storing, preserving the vehicle, and expenses incurred if the owner and lienholder are notified pursuant to Section 29-15-10 constitute a lien against the vehicle, provided that the towing company makes notification to the law enforcement agency pursuant to Section 56-5-2525.
(C) If the vehicle is not claimed by the owner, lienholder, or their agent, as provided by Section 56-5-5635(D), the vehicle must be sold pursuant to Section 29-15-10 by a magistrate in the county in which the vehicle was towed or stored.
(D) A person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than twenty-five dollars and not exceeding one hundred dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days. This punishment is in addition to the other remedies which are authorized in this section."
SECTION 3. Section 29-15-10 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 29-15-10. It is lawful for any proprietor, owner, or operator of any storage place, garage, or repair shop of whatever kind or repairman who makes repairs upon any article under contract or furnishes any material for the repairs to sell the property as provided in this section. When property has been left at his shop for repairs or storage, and after the completion of these repairs or the expiration of the storage contract, and the article has been continuously retained in his possession, the property may be sold at public auction to the highest bidder upon the expiration of thirty days after written notice has been given to the owner of the property and to any lienholder with a perfected security interest in the property that the repairs have been completed or storage charges are due. The property must be sold by a magistrate of the county in which the work was done or the vehicle or thing was stored. Storage costs may be charged that have accrued before the notification of the owner and lienholder, by certified or registered mail, of the location of the vehicle, but may not exceed charges for five days from the date the towing or storage operator receives the owner and lienholder's name and address. However, all storage costs that accrue from the date the notice is mailed may be recovered at the time of the sale. The magistrate, before selling the property, shall ensure that any lienholder of record has been notified of the pending sale, and the magistrate shall advertise the property for at least fifteen days by posting a notice in three public places in his township. He shall, after deducting all proper costs and commissions, pay to the claimant the money due to him, taking his receipt for it, after which he shall deposit the receipt, as well as the items of costs and commissions with the remainder of the money or proceeds of the sale in the office of the clerk of court subject to the order of the owner of the article and any lienholders having perfected security interest in the article or any legal representative of the owner or the lienholder. The magistrate who sells the property is entitled to receive the same commissions as allowed by law for the sale of personal property by constables. When the value of the property repaired or stored does not exceed ten dollars, the storage owner, operator, or repairman may sell the property at public auction to the highest bidder upon the expiration of thirty days after written notice has been given to the owner of the property that the repairs have been completed or storage charges are due and if a description of the article to be offered for sale and the cost of it has been from the time of the written notice advertised, together with the time and place of the proposed sale, in a prominent place in the shop or garage, on the county bulletin board at the courthouse, and in some other public place. The sale must be made for cash to the highest bidder at the shop or garage at which the repairs were made or storage incurred at ten a.m. on the first Monday of the first month after the thirty days' notice has been given and the true result of the sale must be immediately made known to the original owner of the article sold by notice addressed to the last known address of the owner."
Notification of owner of towed vehicle
SECTION 4. Section 56-5-5630 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 195 of 2002, is further amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5630. (a)(1) For purposes of this section, 'vehicle' means any motor vehicle, trailer, mobile home, watercraft, or any other item or object that is subject to towing and storage at the direction of a law enforcement officer, and applies to any vehicle in custody at the time of the enactment of this section. Storage costs for those vehicles in custody at the time of the enactment of this section must not exceed sixty days.
(2) When an abandoned vehicle has been taken into custody, the storage place having towed and received the vehicle shall notify by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, the last known registered owner of the vehicle and all lienholders of record that the vehicle has been taken into custody. Notification of the owner and all lienholders by certified or registered United States mail, return receipt requested, constitutes notification for purposes of this section. The notice must describe the year, make, model, and serial number of the vehicle, set forth where the vehicle is being held, inform the owner and all lienholders of the right to reclaim the vehicle within fifteen days after the date of the notice, return receipt requested, upon payment of all towing, preservation, and storage charges resulting from placing the vehicle or other property in custody, and state that the failure of the owner and all lienholders to exercise their right to reclaim the vehicle or other property within the time provided is deemed a waiver by the owner and lienholders of all right, title, and interest in the vehicle or other property and consent to the sale of the vehicle or other property at a public auction. If a vehicle has been towed pursuant to the provisions of this section, payment to the owner or operator of the towing service shall accept as payment for the release of the vehicle the same manner of payment that the owner or operator of the towing service would accept if the owner of the vehicle had requested his vehicle towed.
(b) If the identity of the last registered owner cannot be determined, or if the registration contains no address for the owner, or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and addresses of all lienholders, notice by one publication in one newspaper of general circulation in the area where the vehicle was abandoned is sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this article. The notice by publication may contain multiple listings of abandoned vehicles. This notice must be within the time requirements prescribed for notice by registered or certified mail and must have the same contents required for a notice by registered mail. Storage costs accrued from the original storage date to the date of the sale of the vehicle may be recovered from the proceeds of the sale as provided by Section 56-5-5640.
(c) A lienholder is not subject to a penalty imposed by law in this State for abandonment unless the vehicle is abandoned by the lienholder or his agent or servant or if a false statement or report to a law enforcement officer is made as provided by Section 16-17-722. An owner of a vehicle which has been stolen and after that abandoned, as defined by this article, is not liable for any charges or penalties imposed in this section, otherwise all charges or penalties are the responsibility of the last registered owner. A vehicle is deemed to be stolen when the registered owner notifies a police officer and the report is accepted and carried on the records of the sheriff or chief of police as a stolen vehicle. Within ten days of the tow, the law enforcement agency that requested the tow shall provide the towing company, at no cost to the storage operator, the current owner's name, address, and the name and address of all lienholders of record along with the make, model, vehicle identification number, or a description of the object. A law enforcement agency is not liable for the costs or fee associated with the towing and storage of a vehicle or other property as provided by this section."
Selling reclaimed vehicle
SECTION 5. Section 56-5-5640 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 195 of 2002, is further amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5640. If an abandoned vehicle has not been reclaimed as provided for in Section 56-5-5630, the proprietor, owner, or operator of the storage place, or their designee, may have the abandoned vehicle sold at a public auction pursuant to the provisions of Section 29-15-10. The purchaser of the vehicle shall take title to it free and clear of all liens and claims of ownership, shall receive a magistrate's bill of sale, and is entitled to register the purchased vehicle and receive a certificate of title. The bill of sale at the sale must be sufficient title only for purposes of transferring the vehicle to a demolisher for demolition, wrecking, or dismantling, and in this case no further titling of the vehicle is necessary. The expenses of the auction, the costs of towing, preserving, and storing the vehicle which resulted from placing the vehicle in custody, and all notice and publication costs incurred pursuant to the provisions of Section 56-5-5630 must be reimbursed from the proceeds of the sale of the vehicle. Any remainder from the proceeds of the sale must be held for the owner of the vehicle or entitled lienholder for ninety days. The proprietor, owner, or operator of the storage place, or their designee, shall notify the owner and all lienholders by certified or registered United States mail, return receipt requested, that the vehicle owner or lienholder has ninety days to claim the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. If the vehicle proceeds are not collected after ninety days from the date the notice to the owner and all lienholders is mailed, then the vehicle proceeds must be deposited in the general fund of the county or municipality."
SECTION 6. Section 56-5-2522 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 7. Except as otherwise provided in this act, this act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 5th day of June, 2003.
Approved the 25th day of June, 2003.
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