22651 CVC - Circumstances In Which Removal Is Permitted

Have you gotten a piece of mail saying that you’ve violated 22651 CVC, but you’re not sure what that relates to, exactly? Below, we’ll explain what it is, what you should know about it.  This includes:

What is 22651 CVC?

The legislation of a 22651 CVC is long and segmented, but the basic definition, in part, reads: “A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, or a regularly employed and salaried employee, who is engaged in directing traffic or enforcing parking laws and regulations, of a city, county, or jurisdiction of a state agency in which a vehicle is located, may remove a vehicle located within the territorial limits in which the officer or employee may act, under the following circumstances:”

In other, simpler words, a peace officer, or any one else employed in the world of traffic control and enforcement, is able to remove a car when it violates one of the conditions that is listed below in the full legislative definition.

What does it mean to have violated 22651 CVC?

There are nine ways in which you can violate 22651 CVC according to the complex legislation.  The best way is to list them all out and then pair an example with our California driver, James.

  1.  Parking in an handicapped space without showing a placard: James doesn’t have a placard or plates for legal handicapped parking, but leaves his hard parked there anyway.  His car can then be towed since he is illegally parked.
  2. The driver is arrested: James has illegal substances in his car and, after being pulled over, he is arrested when his car is searched and they’re discovered. Since he is arrested and is unable to drive his car home, it’s allowed to be towed.
  3. Blocking the flow of traffic: James has decided to park his car in the aisle of a parking lot because there are no parking spots left. Since he is blocking the flow of traffic and his car is a safety risk, his car is able to be towed.
  4. A car accident: James gets in a car accident and is unable to drive home, or he’s taken to the hospital. In this case, his car is towed away.
  5. A parked car without proof of registration: James has parked his car in a legal spot, but has no visible signs of registration, outdated registration (more than 6 months), or forced registration and/or licence plates. In any or all of these cases, his car can be towed.
  6. No licence: This one is a bit tricky, but a valid towing option. If James has no licence or his license has been suspended or revoked, his car can be towed.
  7. Debt collection: James has five unpaid parking tickets, or he hasn’t paid a garage parking fee. When his car is spotted, it can be towed as a debt collection.
  8. Unlicensed car dealer: James bought a car from an unlicensed dealer.  Since it is from an unlicensed dealer, it can be towed.

In any, or all of these examples, James would be considered guilty of violating 22651 CVC and his car can be legally towed and impounded (aka put in a locked lot where you have to pay to get it out). While one of these violations doesn’t necessarily guarantee that James’ car would be towed, peace officers and other employees are entitled to initiate the tow if they wish to.

The towing of a vehicle doesn’t require permission of the driver. That being said, many places will have something that acts as a warning sign (such as a “no parking” sign or a “tow-away zone” with a handicapped spot). James could simply come back to find his car gone!

What can I do about this violation?

Firstly you’ll have to figure out where your car is, if it’s been impounded (think of it as a jail for your car).  This can be done by contacting your local police department, and it may be included in the citation in the mail, too, assuming you receive one.  The hold on your car may be for 30 days.  This means that you’ll need to wait at least 30 days before having it released.  If it doesn’t say that it is on a 30-day hold, it means you have to get it back within 30 days otherwise it will be auctioned off!

In order to get your car back, you’ll need to show up at the lot with a valid driver’s license, current registration and insurance for your impounded car, and the money for the fee with releasing your vehicle. Even if you are not the registered owner, you can show up to get the impounded car.  Just make sure you have a letter from the registered owner!

In terms of the fee that you’ll have to pay, the dollar amount will vary depending on where it is impounded and how long it was impounded for. The fee includes the individualized fees such as administrative fees, towing fees, transfer fees, a daily storage fee, and a gate fee.  If your car is auctioned off, these fees will also be topped with a lien fee and an auction fee.

No matter how you look at it, receiving a 22651 CVC is always going to cost you a hefty fee and be inconvenient — which is precisely the point!

Other possible CVC code violation connections

In some cases, a 22651 CVC may be switched out for another CVC that is more accurate,  Or, this violation could be connected with another one.  Some of the popular, related options include:

  • 22653 CVC: Leaving or parking a stolen car on private property that doesn’t belong to you.
  • 22656 CVC: Leaving a car in a place where a train would have a right-of-way.
  • 22659 CVC: Leaving a car long-term on private property without the property owner’s permission.
  • 22660 CVC: Abandoning or leaving a wrecked or undrivable vehicle.
  • 22669 CVC: Abandoning a vehicle on general principle (this would often be timed)
  • 34506.4(a) CVC: Parking a car somewhere in which it, or its connection to the surroundings, is unsafe (this can also apply to driving, too).

If you think these violations sound pretty similar, you’re absolutely right!  Sometimes you will be charged with one of these, or sometimes with a combination depending on the situation requiring the towing.  The decision rests with the peace officer or other employee who issues the violation along with the call for a tow.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

Unfortunately, a ticket like this is not eligible for traffic school.  One of the qualifications for any traffic school, including MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, is that the ticket must be related to a moving violation.  Since this violation is related specifically to parking, and the car is not in motion, it’s considered ineligible. If you want more information, however, please contact us directly, or the court that issued your violation ticket.

How can I avoid a citation for 22651 CVC?

Since impoundment is a huge hassle, no matter how minor the parking incident may be, the best thing to do is, you know, avoid it!  The good news is, this is as simple as being attentive and careful with how you park!

For instance, if you don’t have a handicapped placard, don’t park in a handicapped spot — not even for 5 minutes.  If there are no parking spots available, circle around the parking long until you find one.  If you do get a parking ticket, make sure you pay the fine promptly.  Never park and leave your vehicle blocking a driveway or fire hydrant, etc.  Parking is a crucial part of being a responsible driver, so make sure that you treat it as such!

Please note: some of the conditions of a 22651 CVC violation may be outside of your control (such as being injured in an accident and transported to the hospital).  In this case, they can sometimes be waived, they’ll be covered by insurance, or other arrangements can be made to release your car from the impound lot.  If not, remember that there is only so much you control.  Just always park as legally and as responsibly as you can.

San Diego Ticket Fighter
California Vehicle Code Legislation