Abandoned Vehicle Definition
According to Arizona law, an "abandoned vehicle" is a vehicle, trailer or semitrailer that is subject to registration and has been abandoned on public or private property, whether lost, stolen, abandoned or otherwise unclaimed.
Qualifying to File for an Abandoned Vehicle
A person must have knowledge and custody of a vehicle that is either:
- abandoned or otherwise unclaimed that has been seized according to law
- removed from a public highway or public property by order of a law enforcement officer
The owner/operator of a commercial repair facility, public garage or parking lot may use the abandoned vehicle process when the vehicle was left without a verbal or written contract.
Example: MVD receives a request from a tow company to file a vehicle as abandoned. MVD sends notice to the owner, lien holder and any other interested party providing information that they have 30 days to reclaim the vehicle. If the vehicle is not claimed, ownership may be transferred free and clear to the towing company.
These are some examples of when a vehicle would not qualify for the abandoned vehicle process:
- A person purchases a vehicle but does not have the proper documentation to complete the title transfer.
- A vehicle is a mobile home that is 8' x 40' or larger.
- A vehicle is left in a public garage or parking lot, under a written or verbal contract.
- A vehicle is left in a self-service storage facility.
- A historic vehicle is being stored or maintained on the vehicle owner's private property.