Chapter 12.40


12.40.010    Definitions.

12.40.020    Procedure for impoundment.

12.40.030    Impoundment for license violations.

12.40.040    Private remedies.

*    For provisions relating to the city’s authority to impound junk vehicles from private property see Chapter 11.76.

12.40.010 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter:

(1)    “Abandoned vehicle” means any vehicle or hulk left within the right-of-way of any public street, highway, alley or way open to the public for a period of twenty-four hours.

(2)    “Automobile hulk” or “hulk” or “junk vehicle” means a motor vehicle or remnant or remains thereof which is apparently inoperable and is extensively damaged or missing vital parts or mechanisms.

(3)    “Registered tow truck operator” or “operator” means any person who engages in the impounding, transporting, disposal or storage of unauthorized or abandoned vehicles and who is properly registered or licensed pursuant to RCW Chapter 46.55.

(4)    “Unauthorized vehicle” means a vehicle that is subject to impoundment at the direction of the city after being left unattended in one of the following locations for the indicated period of time:


Subject to removal after:

(a) Constituting a traffic hazard (see RCW 46.55.113)


(b) Abandoned and tagged (see RCW 46.55.085) (for instance)

24 hours after attachment of tag

(c) Coming within a provision of Chapter 12.44 or 12.48 which authorizes impoundment


(Ord. 3385 § 1, 1993: Ord. 2975 § 1 (part), 1986)

12.40.020 Procedure for impoundment.

An unauthorized vehicle may be impounded by a registered tow truck operator at the direction of a police officer, parking enforcement person, or other public official authorized by the chief of police. Removal and storage of a vehicle impounded under this section shall be at the registered and legal owners’ expense as provided in RCW Title 46. Within twenty-four hours after an unauthorized vehicle is impounded, the police department shall send notification by first class mail to the last known registered and legal owners of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is redeemed prior to the mailing of the notice. The notification shall include the name, address, and phone number of the impounding tow firm and the location and time of impound. Further, the notification will inform any owner of an opportunity for a hearing to contest the basis of the impoundment which shall contain a certificate of mailing and which shall be accompanied by a form to be directed to the Kirkland municipal court for requesting a hearing. Unless otherwise specified, any impoundment pursuant to this code or other ordinances of the city shall follow the procedure set forth in this section. (Ord. 4573 § 1, 2017: Ord. 2975 § 1 (part), 1986)

12.40.030 Impoundment for license violations.

A vehicle which is being operated by a person committing a driver’s license violation for which immediate impoundment is authorized (see RCW 46.20.435) may be impounded according to the procedure set forth in Section 12.40.020; provided, that if possible, the notification described therein will be immediately served upon the driver. (Ord. 2975 § 1 (part), 1986)

12.40.040 Private remedies.

Nothing in this code or other ordinances of the city shall restrict a private landowner’s authority to have vehicles removed under the common law or pursuant to state statutes, such as RCW 46.55.230 or 46.55.080. Upon request of a landowner, the police department shall provide information as described in RCW Chapter 46.55 relating to removal of a junk vehicle. (Ord. 2975 § 1 (part), 1986)