Towing

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Private property owners, whether residential or commercial, can legally limit or regulate parking on their property. Ignoring posted signs regulating the parking on private property can result in your vehicle being towed. The Blacksburg Police Department can also have a vehicle towed if it is unattended, abandoned, or immobile as established in Virginia Code § 46.2-1217. The procedures on and rates differ, depending whether the vehicle was towed by a private property owner or the police. More information about each type of towing is below. If you need information about locating a towed vehicle or you believe that your vehicle was towed illegally, contact the police department at 540-443-1400.

Private Property Towing Quick Points

  • If you park on private property without permission, your vehicle can be towed as soon as you leave the lot; there is no grace period provided in the town’s ordinance 
  • Fees for tows from private property are established by state law:
    • Property owners must post signs alerting potential parkers to their parking restrictions
    • Tow truck services must report each and every tow to the police department prior to towing 
  • If you need information about locating a towed vehicle or you believe that your vehicle was towed illegally, contact the Police Department at 540-443-1400.

FAQs about Private Property Towing 

Q: If my car has been towed, how can I find it?
A: To locate your towed vehicle, contact the Blacksburg Police Department’s non-emergency number at 540-443-1400. The police department will tell you if your car has been reported as towed by a private towing company.

Q: Can I be towed from the parking lot of a closed business? 
A: Yes. The contract between a property owner and a tow operator may provide for towing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether the business is open or not.

Q: Why would a business care about parking in the lot when it’s closed?
A: Some businesses cite liability issues, (e.g., car gets damaged while parked on its property; items are stolen from a vehicle parked on its property). The other most frequently voiced concern is that vehicles may be left overnight, and customer parking will not be available when the business opens.

Q: Do tow truck drivers have to wait for the property owner to request the tow? Is cruising the lot legal?
A: There is no law prohibiting tow operators from monitoring lots. The contract with the property owner governs the terms of the tow. The tow truck driver may tow a vehicle as soon as you leave the lot; it does not matter if you were only parked for “a few minutes.”

Q: When towed from private property, how much can a tow company charge to release my car from impoundment?
A: The towing charges are established by state law. Virginia Code § 46.2-1233.1 currently provides as follows:

  • No hookup and initial towing fee shall exceed $135. For towing a vehicle between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. or on any Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, an additional fee of no more than $25 per instance may be charged; however, in no event shall more than two such fees be charged for towing any such vehicle. No charge shall be made for storage and safekeeping for a period of twenty-four hours or less. Except for fees or charges imposed by this section or a local ordinance adopted pursuant to § 46.2-1233, no other fees or charges shall be imposed during the first 24-hour period.

Q: My car was damaged during the tow and the lot employee would not let me file a damage claim. What should I do?
A: Most likely, you will end up filing with your insurance company and/or taking the matter to civil court.

Q: Why doesn’t the Town of Blacksburg force businesses to share parking outside of normal business hours?
A: Blacksburg does not have the authority to tell private property owners how to control their property. Blacksburg encourages businesses to share parking, and some successful arrangements are in place.

Q: If I return before the tow truck removes my car, do I still have to pay?
A: Yes. The Town Code does permit a drop fee of $25. (Town Code § 12-419 (b)). A drop fee is charged when the vehicle has been hooked up, or is in the process of being hooked up. The process of hooking up shall be defined as (i) the removal and/or unreeling of any towing equipment from the tow truck after the truck is positioned to effect the tow, whether or not the equipment has been attached to the vehicle, or (ii) the lowering of a hydraulically-operated lift in preparation for loading the vehicle after the tow truck is positioned to effect the tow.

Q: Can a tow company only accept cash, and refuse to accept a credit card?
A: No. The company must accept cash, an insurance company’s check, travelers’ checks or money orders, or debit, credit, or charge cards. (Town Code § 12-419 (e))

Q: What should I do if I think I have been overcharged or towed illegally?
A: If your car has been towed from private property and you have a complaint about an overcharge, damage, or signage at the tow location, please contact the Blacksburg Police Department at 540-443-1400. Please keep in mind, however, that the police department’s authority is limited to investigating criminal violations of the town’s towing ordinance.

Q: How does a driver know that towing is enforced on a property?
A: Signs not less than 18x24 inches must be posted at all entrances to the premises alerting drivers that trespassing vehicles will be towed at the expense of the vehicle owner or custodian. The warning statement “towing enforced” or “24 hour towing enforced” must be on the sign in reverse lettering, so that it stands out. Other information which the sign must contain includes the cost of the tow and either (i) the name and telephone number of the tow truck service or (ii) the non-emergency number of the police department. (Town Code § 12-418).

Police Requested Towing Quick Points 

  • If a vehicle is left unattended, abandoned, or is immobile, the Blacksburg Police Department is authorized by Virginia Code § 46.2-1217 to have the vehicle towed when the owner or operator is not present or when the owner or operator has not requested a specific service provider for towing. 
  • The towing contract between the Blacksburg Police Department and the towing and recovery operators sets specific fees or charges to be paid by the owner or operator of the towed vehicle. 
  • The Town of Blacksburg appoints an advisory board to advise the governing body with regards to the appropriate provisions of the terms of the contract. The advisory board includes representatives of local law enforcement agencies, towing and recovery operators, and the general public.
  • If you need information about locating a towed vehicle or you believe that your vehicle was towed illegally, contact the Police Department at 540-443-1400.

FAQs about Police Requested Towing

Q: Why would the police request that a vehicle be towed?
A: In certain situations it is necessary to move an abandoned or disabled vehicle because of traffic congestion, traffic hazards, or posted no parking tow away zones.

Q: What are the charges to a vehicle owner or operator if the police request that my vehicle should be towed?
A: The fee charged by the towing facility for a wrecker weighing less than 5000 pounds to a customer may not exceed $175 dollars for a normal crane and tow taking less than one (1) hour between and including the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and up to, but not exceeding $200.00 dollars for a normal crane and tow taking less than one (1) hour, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Additional fees may be charged for additional personnel, dollies, rollback, winching and other services. In determining the charge for a tow, the time required for a tow begins when the towing vehicle leaves the towing facility and ends when the towed vehicle is secured at the towing facility’s storage area.

Q: What are the fees for storing a vehicle?
A: The storage fee for a vehicle for each day after the first day may be up to, but shall not exceed, $40 dollars for each calendar day, or portion thereof, of storage. No additional fee will be charged for towing or storage to any storage facility which is outside the corporate limits of the Town of Blacksburg.

Q: What are the fees that could be associated with police requested towing?
A: See table below.

Towing Fees

Not to Exceed 

Day Tow (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) $175 each first hour
Additional Hourly Rate $175 each hour (driver & wrecker)
Night Tow (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) $200 each first hour
Storage Charges (per calendar day after first per day 24 hours period) $40 per day
Dolly Charge $40
Winch Charge $75
Roll Back $40
Additional Personnel $90 per hour
Inclement Weather (snow, sleet) $100
Wrap Charge $45
Clean Up Charge (fuel removal or other fluids) $30


Q: What if the vehicle owner or operator returns to remove the vehicle before it is actually towed?
A: If the vehicle is on a public roadway, the owner will not be charged a fee if the vehicle is moved before actually being towed. A fee will be charged if the vehicle has been physically hooked to the wrecker regardless of whether or not it has actually left the area. If the vehicle is on private property, the towing facility may charge a fee not to exceed $25 in lieu of towing based on the Town of Blacksburg Ordinance 12-417. In the event of a disabled vehicle where the owner/operator has called their own wrecker, no fee will be charged to owner/operator by the towing facility called by the police department.