7-700 Vehicle Impounding and Towing

7‑701          IMPOUNDING VEHICLES (06/01/12)
Responsible Occupant: A person in the vehicle, who after reasonable inquiry, appears to be in lawful possession of the vehicle. 
A.    Officers shall impound vehicles in the following circumstances:
1.      As authorized by a “Pick-up and Hold” Order;
2.      As directed by an MPD investigator or supervisor;
3.      The officer has probable cause to believe the vehicle is stolen and the owner is not present.
B.     Officers may impound vehicles in the following circumstances:
1.      The officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle constitutes evidence of a crime and impoundment is necessary to preserve the evidence;
2.      There is probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime and impoundment is reasonably necessary to obtain or preserve the evidence;
3.      The vehicle impedes traffic, threatens public safety, or threatens public convenience and the owner/driver cannot immediately remove the vehicle on his/her own;
4.      Impoundment is specifically authorized by Minnesota state statute or Minneapolis ordinance, including, but not limited to, Minn. Stat. §§ 168B.04 and 169.041. This includes, but is not limited to, retaining control over a vehicle that is subject to forfeiture;
5.      The vehicle has license plates that are more than 90 days past expiration;
6.      The vehicle is parked on private property and the vehicle is not owned by the property owner, or the property owner (or his/her representative) has not given specific permission for the vehicle to remain parked there.
7.      The owner/driver is arrested, absent, or otherwise incapacitated and impoundment is appropriate for the safekeeping of the vehicle and its contents, unless prohibited below.
C.     Officers shall not impound a vehicle for safekeeping in the following circumstances:
1.      When the owner/responsible occupant has been cited rather than arrested, and has requested to make his/her own arrangements for the removal of the vehicle;
2.      When another person with a valid driver’s license is available at the scene and has the owner’s/responsible occupant’s permission to take custody of the vehicle, even if the owner/responsible occupant has been arrested;
3.      The vehicle is legally parked and the owner/responsible occupant requests the vehicle to be left legally parked.
D.    Officers are not required to ask an owner/driver if he/she wishes to make his/her own arrangements for the removal of the vehicle in lieu of impoundment.
E.     In all cases in which a CAPRS report is required and a vehicle is towed, officers shall state the reason for towing in the CAPRS report. If a CAPRS report is not required, officers shall state the reason for impounding vehicle on the tow sheet.
F.      In all cases in which a CAPRS report is required and a vehicle is left legally parked, officers shall note the reason it was left parked, including a summary of the owner/driver’s requests, if any, in the CAPRS report.


All requests for towing or impounding shall be made through the precinct or command where the tow is being made. Requests shall indicate the location of the vehicle, the license or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and the type of tow required. Heavy duty towing shall be ordered if the vehicle to be towed has three or more axles, or a gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds, or if an officer determines that heavy-duty equipment is necessary. (03/14/97)

A "White Tag Tow" means that an officer is waiting at the scene for the tow truck. A White Tag Tow is used when it is necessary to immediately remove a vehicle to safeguard the vehicle and its contents, (i.e. when the vehicle is needed for evidence or when the vehicle is creating a traffic hazard). When using a White Tag Tow, officers shall complete a Vehicle Impound Report "Tow Sheet" (MP 6925) and determine that the VIN and license numbers affixed to the vehicle correspond with the registration on file with the Department of Motor Vehicle Registration. A citation may also be issued depending on the reason for towing the vehicle. (10/25/89)

Prior to removal by the towing service, the vehicle shall be searched according to the section on Vehicle Searches. (03/14/97)

A "Red Tag Tow" means that an officer is not waiting for the tow truck. Officers using or requesting a "Red Tag Tow" shall complete a red tag tow report and attach it with the citation(s) issued to each towed vehicle's windshield. (10/25/89)

"Red Tag Tows" are separated into two (2) categories: IMMEDIATE and DELAYED. (10/25/89) (01/19/90) (10/31/90) (08/14/92)

Immediate "Red Tag Tows" include:

Delayed "Red Tag Tows" require a four-hour delay before the vehicle may be towed. The time the vehicle will be first eligible for towing should be listed on the front line of the tow report. (10/25/89) (01/19/90) (05/23/90) (10/31/90) (08/14/92)

Delayed "Red Tag Tows" include:

It should be noted that at no time shall a vehicle be towed solely for the violation of expired license plates less than ninety (90) days expired or when parked at an expired meter without five (5) or more outstanding warrants. (10/31/90) (04/01/93)

Investigative and hit and run tows involving pedestrian victims shall be impounded at the Forensic Garage. (04/12/89) (10/25/89)



A vehicle legally parked on private property may be towed only under the following conditions:

Officers shall advise parties seeking tows from private property for illegally parked vehicles that they must make their own arrangements with a private towing service.



The contracted towing service will tow from anywhere in or near the City of Minneapolis. However, if it is necessary to tow a vehicle for MPD business from far enough out of the city to justify a private towing service, officers shall contact the Fleet Manager or the on-duty Watch Commander for permission. The bill for such service will be accompanied by a memorandum and forwarded to the Auto Desk.



Officers will not push or pull any stalled vehicle with a police vehicle. If no telephone facilities are reasonably available, officers may notify an official police impounding agency. However, the operator should be made aware that neither the officers or the Department will assume responsibility for the reliability or cost of services rendered.



When a hold is placed on a vehicle for evidentiary reasons, officers shall write "Hold" on the Vehicle Impound Report (MP 6925) along with the reason for the hold. The tow truck driver should be advised on how to handle the vehicle to protect any evidence. Officers shall note in the remarks section of the Vehicle Impound Report what the charges are against the driver or occupants of the vehicle.

When officers arrest a driver for DUI and impound the vehicle, officers shall indicate on the Impound Sheet "DWI Arrest, Hold for Proof of Insurance and Ownership." The owner of the vehicle must provide proof of ownership and proof of insurance before their car can be released per Minn. Stat. §169A.42. (01/04/93) (10/22/15)



Only vehicles impounded and held for forensic examination shall be towed directly to the Forensic Garage. Other vehicles placed on a "Hold" shall be towed directly to the City Impound Lot. A supervisor must authorize impounds for forensic examination.

The respective division or unit will be responsible for promptly ordering the examination by the Forensic Garage staff or for release of the vehicle. The completion of the examination should not exceed eight days following notification to the Forensic Garage by the respective division or unit. (02/09/04)

Forensic Garage personnel will notify the Auto Desk immediately upon completion of their examination.

If circumstances exist that would prevent completion of processing in eight days, the City Impound Lot towing coordinator shall be notified by the investigator assigned to the case and arrange to have the "Hold" period extended. If this is not done, the vehicle will automatically be towed from the Forensic Garage to the City Impound Lot in eight days. (02/09/04)

The Forensic Garage is responsible for notifying the supervisor or investigator of the respective division or unit that the examination has been completed. (02/09/04)

All vehicle "holds" will automatically expire 15 business days after the date a vehicle was towed to the City Impound Lot. Investigative divisions or units may extend that period, if necessary, for further investigation or for seizure. The investigator handling the case must send or fax the Auto Desk a completed investigator’s Vehicle Hold form (MP-8897) and the exact amount of extended "hold" time required. The Vehicle Hold form can be found on the MPD Net under "MPD Forms." (01/11/89) (02/09/04)



When a vehicle is released (with the permission of the owner) at the scene of an arrest to a responsible party, the Vehicle Impound Report will be filled out and the party to whom the vehicle was released will sign the release.

The holding or investigating division or unit will authorize the release of impounded vehicles. This will be done in writing by placing the name, address and the phone number of the party to whom the vehicle is to be released on the original Vehicle Impound Report (MP-6925).

7-709 ADMINISTRATIVE IMPOUNDMENT OF LICENSE PLATES (01/28/91) (04/01/93) (04/18/08)


Minnesota state law requires that police officers impound the license plates in the following circumstances: (04/18/08)

Upon arresting a suspect for DUI, an officer shall check the suspect's driving record and determine if license plate impoundment is required. If impoundment is required, the license plates shall be removed and a Notice and Order of License Plate Impoundment form (PS2486-14) shall be completed. If the operator of the vehicle is the owner or lessor, a seven-day permit shall be issued. If the operator is not the owner or lessor, a 45-day permit shall be issued. The Notice and Order of License Plate Impoundment form shall be completed (including the expiration date of the permit, which shall be printed in large numerals). The "vehicle" copy will be taped to the inside rear window, left corner. The "Department, Operator and Issuing Agency" copies shall be forwarded to the Records Unit, who will file the Issuing Agency copy and forward the other two copies to the State of Minnesota on a weekly basis. (04/18/08)

If for any reason, the car is released before the plates can be removed for impoundment, the Notice and Order of License Plate Impoundment form shall still be completed. The "Vehicle" and "Operator" copies will be given to the operator of the vehicle who shall be advised to post the "Vehicle" copy on the inside of the rear window and surrender the vehicle plates along with the "Operator" copy to any law enforcement agency. The "Department" and "Issuing Agency" copies will be forwarded to the Records Unit.

License plates that are surrendered shall be turned in to the City Impound Lot and they will be responsible for their destruction. It will be the responsibility of each precinct/unit/division to ensure that the impounded plates are delivered to the City Impound Lot weekly.

Notice and Order of License Plate Impoundment forms are available from the MPD Stores Unit.

Last updated Jul 2, 2018



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