State of Indiana Towing Regulations & Impound Laws

Tow truck towing a car on the street
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Towing and impound regulations are the concern of every driver, as there may come a time when your car isn't where you left it. In Indiana, certain basic regulations govern when a vehicle may be towed, and additional regulations may be found in local jurisdictions and municipalities. None of the local laws can be less strict than state laws, but any of them can be more strict.

Towing Circumstances

Vehicles may be towed under a variety of circumstances. When someone who was driving a car is arrested, that person's car is towed. When a car has been abandoned and an appropriate amount of time has passed (21 days sitting idle or 24 hours after a vehicle has been visibly marked for towing), the abandoned vehicle may be towed. Whenever a car is found to have a false license plate, that car will be towed and impounded until the owner provides the proper plate.

Impound Practices

Once a vehicle has been taken to the impound, it can legally be searched. When this happens, investigators keep stringent records of what is found in the car, including a record of what is taken away as evidence and what is left behind. If the owner of a vehicle is unknown, police will search through court and Bureau of Motor Vehicle records to identify the registered owner as well as any parties who may have a lien placed on the vehicle.

Read More: Car Impound Rules

Signage and Regulations

Signs regarding parking regulations have to be clearly visible. If you are towed and your car is impounded, one defense strategy is to show that you were not properly informed of the consequences.


Notification that a vehicle is about to be towed is required in many parts of Indiana. In Indianapolis, a car that's been abandoned must be visibly tagged for 24 hours to let the owner know it must be moved. If you choose to contest the matter in court, you can significantly weaken the government's case against you by proving proper notice was not given.

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