Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) The owner or other person lawfully entitled to possession of an impounded vehicle shall have the following three (3) options with respect to such vehicle:
(1) The owner or other person lawfully entitled to possession of such vehicle shall pay a towing charge of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for an ordinary tow or thirty-five dollars ($35.00) for a dolly tow, all outstanding fines for violating provisions of this Traffic Code, and a storage fee of three dollars ($3.00) for each day or part thereof the vehicle is impounded after the first twenty-four (24) hours. Upon such payment, the vehicle shall be released.
(2) The owner or other person lawfully entitled to possession of such vehicle shall furnish a bond in an amount as set by rule of the Municipal Court. Such bond shall be upon condition that such owner or other person appear in the Municipal Court to answer the violation which caused the vehicle to be impounded. The date for such appearance shall be scheduled when the bond is posted. Upon the posting of such bond, the vehicle shall be released.
(3) The owner or other person lawfully entitled to possession of such vehicle shall request a probable cause hearing. The hearing shall take place on the day after such owner or other person has given written notice to the Cleveland Police Division Vehicle Impound Unit of his or her intention to challenge the towing. If, however, such day is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the hearing will be held on the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.
The hearing shall be held before a judge in the Municipal Court. The scope of the hearing shall be confined to the issue of whether there was probable cause to believe the vehicle was parked in violation of law at the time of towing. The Court shall receive into evidence the Police Division’s dispatch card on the vehicle or the traffic citation or notice which led to the impoundment of the vehicle. The Court shall also receive into evidence a computer printout from the Cleveland Alert Law Enforcement System (CALES) if the vehicle was towed pursuant to Section 405.02(j). The admission into evidence of the dispatch card or traffic citation or notice, or the dispatch card or traffic citation or notice and the computer printout where the vehicle was towed pursuant to Section 405.02(j), shall constitute a prima facie showing of probable cause. Additional evidence however, may be offered by the City. The owner or other person lawfully entitled to possession of the vehicle may offer evidence at the conclusion of the City’s case, which may be followed by rebuttal. The hearing shall be conducted under the rules of evidence prevailing in criminal trials generally. Upon conclusion of all the evidence, the Court shall do one (1) of the following:
A. Find that there was no probable cause to believe that the vehicle was parked in violation of law at the time of towing, in which case the vehicle shall be released without charge.
B. Find that there was probable cause to believe that the vehicle was parked in violation of law at the time of towing, in which case the vehicle shall be held pending trial on the traffic citation. The trial on the merits of the traffic citation shall be scheduled upon a finding of probable cause. However, the owner or other person lawfully entitled to possession of the vehicle may furnish a bond as provided in subsection (a)(2) hereof, and claim the vehicle pending trial.
(b) If at the trial on the merits of the traffic citation, the Court finds the defendant not guilty, the vehicle, if impounded, shall be released without charge. If the Court finds the defendant guilty, the Court shall, in addition to court costs and any sentence on the traffic citation, impose a fine consisting of the impounding fee and towing fee established by Section 405.04. The fine comprised of the impounding fee, the towing fee and the storage fee is mandatory, and the Court shall not suspend any part of such fine. Upon the payment of all of the foregoing sums, the vehicle shall be released.
(c) No vehicle shall be released pursuant to this section unless the person claiming ownership or lawful possession produces proof of identity and ownership.
(Ord. No. 1054-A-80. Passed 1-12-81, eff. 1-16-81)