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TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5635, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE TOWING, STORAGE, AND DISPOSITION OF CERTAIN VEHICLES AND PERSONAL PROPERTY, SO AS TO DELETE THE TERM "LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER" AND REPLACE IT WITH THE TERM "OFFICER"; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5810, RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF TERMS REGARDING THE PROVISIONS THAT REGULATE THE DISPOSITION OF ABANDONED OR DERELICT MOTOR VEHICLES ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTY, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THESE DEFINITIONS APPLY TO THE SAME TERMS AS THEY APPEAR IN ARTICLE 39, CHAPTER 5 OF TITLE 56, TO REVISE THE DEFINITIONS OF THE TERMS "OFFICER" AND "DERELICT VEHICLE", AND TO DELETE A DUPLICATE TERM AND ITS DEFINITION; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5850, RELATING TO THE PLACEMENT OF A COLORED TAG ON UNATTENDED VEHICLES AS NOTICE THAT IT MAY BE CONSIDERED TO BE ABANDONED, SO AS TO REVISE THE CONDITIONS UPON WHICH A COLORED TAG MAY BE PLACED UPON A VEHICLE, THE LEVEL OF NOTICE CONVEYED BY THE COLORED TAG, THE PERIOD FOR WHICH THE COLORED TAG AND NOTICE ARE VALID, AND TO PROVIDE THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN ADDITIONAL NOTICE IS REQUIRED; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5880, RELATING TO THE RIGHT OF CERTAIN GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIALS TO ENTER PRIVATE PROPERTY TO ENFORCE THE PROVISIONS THAT REGULATE THE DISPOSAL OF ABANDONED VEHICLES, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5920, RELATING TO VEHICLES THAT ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS THAT REGULATE THE DISPOSAL OF ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLES, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A VEHICLE HOUSED OR PROTECTED FROM THE ELEMENTS MUST BE KEPT WITHIN A CLOSED PERMANENT STRUCTURE TO BE EXEMPT FROM THESE PROVISIONS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-5950, RELATING TO PENALTIES THAT MUST BE IMPOSED ALSO UPON A PERSON WHO ABANDONS A VEHICLE, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THESE PENALTIES MUST BE IMPOSED UPON A PERSON WHO FAILS TO ABATE A DERELICT VEHICLE WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME PERIOD.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 56-5-5635(A) and (B) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(A) Notwithstanding another provision of law,
a law enforcement an officer who directs that a vehicle be towed for any reason, whether on public or private property, must 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 vehicle collision, vehicle breakdown, or vehicle recovery incident to an arrest, is considered a law enforcement towing for purposes of recovering costs associated with the towing and storage of the vehicle 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 an officer's towing request, the proprietor, owner, or operator of any towing company, storage facility, garage, or repair shop must provide to the sheriff or chief of police a list describing the vehicles remaining in the possession of the proprietor, owner, or operator of any towing company, storage facility, garage, or repair shop. A person who fails to provide the law enforcement agency with this list forfeits recovery of any storage fees that have accrued from the date of towing until the day after the mailing of the notification to the owner and all lienholders by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, pursuant to Section 29-15-10. Within ten days of receipt of this list, the sheriff or chief of police must provide to the towing company or storage facility, the current owner's name, address, and a record of all lienholders along with the make, model, and identification number or a description of the vehicle at no cost to the proprietor, owner, or operator of the towing company, storage facility, garage, or repair shop. The proprietor, owner, or operator of the towing company, storage facility, garage, or repair shop having towed or received the vehicle must 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."
SECTION 2. Section 56-5-5810 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5810. For the purposes of this article and Article 39:
(a)(1) 'Officer' means any state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer, including county and municipal code enforcement and sanitation officers.
(b)(2) 'Abandoned vehicle' means a vehicle required to be registered in this State if operated on a public highway in this State that is left unattended on a highway for more than forty-eight hours, or a vehicle that has remained on private or other public property for a period of more than seven days without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property.
(c)(3) 'Derelict vehicle' means a vehicle required to be registered in this State if operated on a public highway in this State:
(1)(a) whose certificate of registration has expired and the registered owner no longer resides at the address listed on the last certificate of registration on record with the Department of Motor Vehicles; or
(2) whose motor or other major parts have been removed, are damaged, or are poorly maintained, so as either to render the vehicle inoperable or the operation of which would violate Section 56-5-4410; or
(3)(b) whose manufacturer's serial plates, motor vehicle identification numbers, license number plates, and any other means of identification have been removed so as to nullify efforts to locate or identify the registered owner; or
(4)(c) whose registered owner of record disclaims ownership or releases his rights thereto; or
(5)(d) which is more than eight years old and does not bear a current registration.
(d)(4) 'Demolisher' means any person, firm, or corporation whose business is to convert a vehicle into processed scrap or scrap metal or otherwise to wreck or dismantle such a vehicle.
(e)(5) 'Colored tag' means any type of notice affixed to an abandoned or derelict vehicle advising the owner or the person in possession that it has been declared an abandoned or derelict vehicle and will be treated as such. The tag shall be of sufficient size to be easily discernable and shall contain such information as the Department of Public Safety deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.
(f) "Demolisher" means any person whose business is to convert a vehicle into processed scrap or scrap metal for recycling purposes or otherwise to wreck or dismantle vehicles.
(g)(6) 'Salvage yard' means a business or a person who holds a license issued by the State required of all retailers, possesses ten or more derelict vehicles, and regularly engages in buying or selling used vehicle parts."
SECTION 3. Section 56-5-5850 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5850. (A) When
any an officer determines that a vehicle is left unattended on a highway or on other public or private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property, an abandoned or derelict, the officer may shall place a colored tag on the vehicle which is notice to the owner, the person in possession of the vehicle, or any a lienholder that it may be is considered to be derelict or abandoned and is subject to forfeiture to the State.
(B) The colored tag serves as the only legal notice that the vehicle will be moved to a designated place to be sold if the vehicle is not removed by the owner or person in control of the vehicle, or if the vehicle is not registered or repaired such that it is no longer defined as a derelict vehicle. The vehicle must be removed or repaired within the following times from the date the tag is placed on the vehicle:
(1) forty-eight hours if it is located on a highway, or
(2) seven days if it is located on other public or private property.
Abandoned After the appropriate time has expired, the abandoned or derelict vehicles vehicle must be disposed of pursuant to Sections 29-15-10 and 56-5-5635. The colored tag and notice on it is valid for a period of twelve months, regardless of the previous or subsequent locations of the vehicle. However, additional notice is not required when an owner or person in control of a vehicle has moved it, and the vehicle remains abandoned or derelict."
SECTION 4. Section 56-5-5880 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5880. All officers, employees, and agents of
any a person under contract with the Department of Public Safety, county, or municipality, are authorized to go on private property for the purposes of enforcing this article. No officer, employee, or agent or employee of any a federal, state, county, or municipal government or other political subdivision, no person or occupant of the premises from which any derelict or abandoned motor vehicle shall be removed, nor any person or firm contracting for the removal of or disposition of any such motor vehicle shall be held criminally or civilly liable in any way arising out of or caused by carrying out or enforcing any provisions of this article unless such person is guilty of willfulness wilfullness, wantonness, or recklessness."
SECTION 5. Section 56-5-5920 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5920. The provisions of this article shall not apply to vehicles housed or protected from the elements within a permanent structure that has a closed top and that can be easily and immediately closed on all sides, those classified as antiques and registered pursuant to Sections 56-3-2210 and 56-3-2220, those exempted from registration pursuant to Section 56-3-120, or those
vehicles reported as stolen in accordance with Section 56-5-5900, unless any such vehicle presents an immediate safety or health hazard or constitutes a nuisance."
SECTION 6. Section 56-5-5950 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 56-5-5950. A person who abandons a vehicle either on public or private property, or fails to abate a derelict vehicle upon which an officer has placed a colored tag within the time period contained in Section 56-5-5850
shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, and shall pay all costs of having such abandoned vehicle removed, stored, and sold as provided for in Section 56-5-5850. All such vehicles shall be removed and disposed of in accordance with Section 56-5-5850."
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Monday, June 22, 2009 at 2:58 P.M.