Monday, September 8, 2014


This is a map of the 5 boros of New York City and its suburb, the counties of Nassau and Suffolk that make up the rest of Long Island, New York, about 115 miles total. Our reader is concerned that the City of New York will go out to the Island to tow her boyfriend's car for scofflaw tickets issued inside the city. I will explain to her why that theoretically can happen:
Dear Al,

I got your email from your Blog site. I read several entries there . . .

My boyfriend has several parking tickets in judgment from New York City. He lives on Long Island [the suburbs outside of the New York City jurisdiction in either Nassau or Suffolk Counties]. He received a letter from the New York City Department Of Finance two days ago, warning him that he's in danger of being towed and that there are six parking tickets in judgment [this means he was found summarily guilty and now has to pay a fine for each one]. So, I hope he pays them soon.

I don't believe they'd come out here just to tow his car. The letter did say they would take legal action such as preventing renewal of registration and restraining bank accounts.

Do they really freeze accounts? Can they tow his car from Long island for NYC tickets? He will be paying them in next two weeks, the parking tickets. Thanks for the quick reply!



UPDATE 9/20/14: Continue reading my response below as it still applies, but I recently learned this information to give your questions an even better answer: Although the NYC Department of Finance cannot directly have your car towed from one of its government enforcement arms I listed below outside the city of New York as I explain below, they recently acquired the capability of having a private collections agency do their dirty work that the Marshal, Sheriff, or NYPD can't do: according to this article by the New York Daily News, the city just recently hired a collections agency called Law Enforcement Systems, which specializes in collecting out of state vehicle registration databases and going after the vehicle registrants who have outstanding NYC parking violations with balances due. The City of New York after all these years of not being able to collect scofflaw fines from millions of people who illegally park their out of state cars inside the city, now will have to pay the piper, including being subjected to the risk of having their cars towed even when parked out of the city, even out of New York State. 

According to the article the number of cars towed in the past 6-1/2 months as of this blog post date for NYC parking ticket scofflaw were 21 from West Virginia (?? of all places, this is scary), 65 from Vermont, 166 from Rhode Island (you would think there were only 166 cars total inside RI), and 243 from Ohio. Pennsylvania and Connecticut seem to be the most vulnerable to out of state tow (New Jersey obviously shouldn't be a surprise as well), and for now it seems that Delaware and New Hampshire are the collection agency's weak spot, as according to the Daily News, no one has been towed from those states as of yet as they are not able to access those databases. But I'm sure it won't take long before they are able to . . .

SO if I were you, I would still follow the advice below, tell your boyfriend don't park his car on the street or in a public lot (park it in a privately owned garage), and pay those tickets ASAP. I hope this new info helps all of you.

Humbly Yours,




Greetings to you, my former Long Island neighbor, wherever you live on the Isle of LONG. I’m a Los Angelino now no doubt, but I never forget where my roots took hold. Hope you didn’t freeze to death last winter and hope the recent summer rainstorms didn’t drown your home. We sure could use some of that wetness here in Los Angeles, although it’s been sunny and warm year round. I can’t complain, we’re just dry and thirsty way over here.

Thank you for your great questions. Generally, no, the sworn NYC enforcement services cannot tow your BF’s car if he keeps it out on Long Island, but if I were him I’d be careful coming into the city leaving it parked on a NYC street. I’d park it in a garage and a private one at that. Since the geographical area of employment (GAOE) of the enforcement arms of the NYC Parking Violations Bureau of the Department of Finance includes the NYC Sheriff, the NYC Marshal, either of their deputies or agents, the DOT Enforcement, or the NYPD, all of which have a GAOE within the five boroughs of NYC and not anywhere else (because of civil process the Marshal has a little more latitude in his/her authority to pursue scofflaws), that means their authority to ticket, boot, and/or tow parking violation vehicles, are only within the City of New York, and no where else. Very much like an NYPD officer who cannot just simply take a cruise in a NYPD radio car on the LIE (Long Island Expressway) to Nassau or Suffolk counties (trust me this has been done before to the NYPD brass’s chagrin) to start tagging parked cars in, say Mineola, NY, or issue a red light ticket in, say Riverhead, NY, then head on back into the city (because Nassau and Suffolk are not the NYPD’s GAOE), an NYPD officer cannot issue a traffic ticket outside NYC unless he/she, for example, observed a speeder in Queens and then chased that speeder “in hot pursuit” all the way out to, say Exit 70 on the LIE, to finally stop that speeder there in Manorville NY to finally cite the motorist. So it goes for the arms that reach to tow your boyfriend's car: the furthest they (the government enforcement arms) can usually go to tow is at the NYC border and no further.

But I'd be careful parking it anywhere on a NYC street, however, as either the NYC Sheriff, NYC Marshal, either of their deputies or agents, the DOT, or the NYPD and their traffic agents could tow it depending on the circumstances. I would also be careful ANYWHERE IN NEW YORK STATE as depending on how many NYC parking tickets he has or how long they been unpaid, as his NYS registration may become suspended if they go unpaid that length of time. The NYC Department of Finance cannot DIRECTLY have a law enforcement agency tow an out-of-city registered vehicle for scofflaw outside the city or for a parking violation outside the city, but they do have the authority to interrupt your registration validity statewide (thus nationwide), or levy your checking account for fines past due from scofflaw. I'd also be careful ANYWHERE ELSE INCLUDING OUTSIDE NYS. They now can hire a private collections agency to tow your parked car outside the city, including outside New York State. Your BF would get a notice by mail first to warn him, if that were to happen (he got a warning letter about the judgment so the good news is that his DMV mailing address is up to date . . .).

If the IRS or a state tax agency can levy a checking account for unpaid taxes, youbetcha they can levy an account for unpaid tickets, in fact you can say that they probably have gotten more aggressive at revenue collection given the state of government finances of late (see my PS above). They could also withhold registration renewal at expiration time, which unresolved could lead to things such as a registration or even a driver’s license suspension. If his registration or driver’s license gets suspended then any law agency throughout the state up to the NYS Police can tow him if he gets pulled over or tagged for illegal parking anywhere in the state of New York if they stop him and run his license plate. If you read my PS note above, you also now know that the NYC Department of Finance can now also hire a collections agency to do what the City once couldn't: tow your car from out of state and collect unpaid parking ticket fines while you are out of state.

BOTTOM LINE: Just make sure he pays the tickets, and keeps a receipt, preferably inside the car in case he gets towed accidentally after payment (this does happen). If he does all this he should be in good shape, and back in your good graces, once again, if he is not. If he isn't, kick him in the pants to make sure he doesn't do this again, and make it look like you're really mad at him so he can take you out on a nice dinner date to make up with you (wink). 

If this storyline is more complicated than what you write here, then I suggest you speak to a traffic attorney to iron this all out . . . 

LONG ISLAND PARKING SOUND: the arm of the NYC Parking Violations Bureau is a large and long one no doubt, to levy your checking account and effect your registration, maybe even your driver’s license, AND NOW long or strong enough for a private tow truck company working for a collections agency to just hop on the LIE and find your BF’s car to tow it way out there on Long Island. There was a time that only the AAA can do that. NOT ANYMORE. I hope this answers your question, and may you never need towing for any reason at all . . .

Safe Driving and Parking,

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