Removal by police officer — Definition.
(1) Whenever the driver of a vehicle is arrested for a violation of RCW 46.20.342 or 46.20.345, the vehicle is subject to summary impoundment, pursuant to the terms and conditions of an applicable local ordinance or state agency rule at the direction of a law enforcement officer.
(2) In addition, a police officer may take custody of a vehicle, at his or her discretion, and provide for its prompt removal to a place of safety under any of the following circumstances:
(a) Whenever a police officer finds a vehicle standing upon the roadway in violation of any of the provisions of RCW 46.61.560, the officer may provide for the removal of the vehicle or require the driver or other person in charge of the vehicle to move the vehicle to a position off the roadway;
(b) Whenever a police officer finds a vehicle unattended upon a highway where the vehicle constitutes an obstruction to traffic or jeopardizes public safety;
(c) Whenever a police officer finds an unattended vehicle at the scene of an accident or when the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident is physically or mentally incapable of deciding upon steps to be taken to protect his or her property;
(d) Whenever the driver of a vehicle is arrested and taken into custody by a police officer;
(e) Whenever a police officer discovers a vehicle that the officer determines to be a stolen vehicle;
(f) Whenever a vehicle without a special license plate, placard, or decal indicating that the vehicle is being used to transport a person with disabilities under RCW 46.19.010 is parked in a stall or space clearly and conspicuously marked under RCW 46.61.581 which space is provided on private property without charge or on public property;
(g) Upon determining that a person is operating a motor vehicle without a valid and, if required, a specially endorsed driver's license or with a license that has been expired for ninety days or more;
(h) When a vehicle is illegally occupying a truck, commercial loading zone, restricted parking zone, bus, loading, hooded-meter, taxi, street construction or maintenance, or other similar zone where, by order of the director of transportation or chiefs of police or fire or their designees, parking is limited to designated classes of vehicles or is prohibited during certain hours, on designated days or at all times, if the zone has been established with signage for at least twenty-four hours and where the vehicle is interfering with the proper and intended use of the zone. Signage must give notice to the public that a vehicle will be removed if illegally parked in the zone;
(i) When a vehicle with an expired registration of more than forty-five days is parked on a public street.
(3) When an arrest is made for a violation of RCW 46.20.342, if the vehicle is a commercial vehicle or farm transport vehicle and the driver of the vehicle is not the owner of the vehicle, before the summary impoundment directed under subsection (1) of this section, the police officer shall attempt in a reasonable and timely manner to contact the owner of the vehicle and may release the vehicle to the owner if the owner is reasonably available, as long as the owner was not in the vehicle at the time of the stop and arrest and the owner has not received a prior release under this subsection or *RCW 46.55.120(1)(a)(ii).
(4) Nothing in this section may derogate from the powers of police officers under the common law. For the purposes of this section, a place of safety may include the business location of a registered tow truck operator.
(5) For purposes of this section "farm transport vehicle" means a motor vehicle owned by a farmer and that is being actively used in the transportation of the farmer's or another farmer's farm, orchard, aquatic farm, or dairy products, including livestock and plant or animal wastes, from point of production to market or disposal, or supplies or commodities to be used on the farm, orchard, aquatic farm, or dairy, and that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,258 kilograms (16,001 pounds) or more.
[2011 c 167 § 6; (2011 c 167 § 5 expired July 1, 2011); 2010 c 161 § 1120. Prior: 2007 c 242 § 1; 2007 c 86 § 1; 2005 c 390 § 5; prior: 2003 c 178 § 1; 2003 c 177 § 1; 1998 c 203 § 4; 1997 c 66 § 7; 1996 c 89 § 1; 1994 c 275 § 32; 1987 c 311 § 10. Formerly RCW 46.61.565.]
| *Reviser's note: RCW 46.55.120 was amended by 2013 c 150 § 1, changing subsection (1)(a)(ii) to subsection (1)(b)(ii).|
Effective date -- 2011 c 167 § 6: "Section 6 of this act takes effect July 1, 2011." [2011 c 167 § 8.]
Effective date -- 2011 c 167 § 5: "Section 5 of this act expires July 1, 2011." [2011 c 167 § 9.]
Short title -- 2011 c 167: See note following RCW 46.55.350.
Effective date -- Intent -- Legislation to reconcile chapter 161, Laws of 2010 and other amendments made during the 2010 legislative session -- 2010 c 161: See notes following RCW 46.04.013.
Finding -- 1998 c 203: See note following RCW 46.55.105.
Short title -- Effective date -- 1994 c 275: See notes following RCW 46.04.015.
Intent -- 1984 c 154: "The legislature intends to extend special parking privileges to persons with disabilities that substantially impair mobility." [1984 c 154 § 1.]
Application -- 1984 c 154: "This act applies to special license plates, cards, or decals issued after June 7, 1984. Nothing in this act invalidates special license plates, cards, or decals issued before June 7, 1984." [1984 c 154 § 9.]
Severability -- 1984 c 154: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1984 c 154 § 10.]