If you have an abandoned vehicle on your property, whether private or business, or if you are a mechanic who hasn't been paid for your work, you may have a legal right to claim ownership of that vehicle. Your local county revenue offices can help you process a request to title your newly acquired vehicle.
Contact your local county revenue office, or the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration to make sure that you are in compliance with the vehicle abandonment laws (see Resources).
Contact the local police department and give them the vehicle's VIN (vehicle identification number) so they can run it through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to determine if the vehicle is stolen. The search will provide titling information and possibly the name(s) of the previous owner(s) and/or lien holder, as well as their contact information. The previous owner and lien holder will be notified and will then have 45 days to claim interest in the vehicle.
Request a lien release with the revenue office. The office will send notification to the previous lien holder, after which they will have 10 business days to reply or else the issued title will be sent to the new owner of the vehicle instead of the lien holder. If they do reply, they will fill out the lien release form that was sent to them that will state whether there is a lien against the vehicle.
File car title forms with your local revenue office. Once it is determined that the abandoned vehicle was not stolen and that you can legally title the vehicle, the revenue office will provide you with the titling forms and help you in processing them with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Pursuit to Arkansas Code 27-50-1101, the definition of vehicle abandonment includes: "(A) Being unattended by the owner who has overtly manifested some intention to not retake possession; (B) Remaining unattended, whether in the location first found or in another location that the vehicle has been removed to pursuant to this subchapter, for a period of thirty (30) days, during which the owner has given no evidence of an intent to retake possession; (C) Having been left for repairs at a vehicle repair business by the vehicle owner and left unclaimed for forty-five (45) days from the time that the repair work is complete or; (D) Having been left for repairs at a vehicle repair business by the vehicle owner who has failed to pay for repair work performed by the vehicle repair business for forty-five (45) days from the time that the repair work is complete."
If there is not an owner or lien holder listed on the title or registration, or pulled from the VIN search, a one-time publication in a generally circulated newspaper where the vehicle was found abandoned will be issued. Anyone staking an interest will have 45 days from publication to respond.
Don't assume that your newly acquired vehicle falls under the state's statutes regarding abandonment. Explain your situation to a county revenue office and let them determine your eligibility.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images