20-219.2. Removal of unauthorized vehicles from private lots.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person other than the owner or lessee of a privately owned or leased parking space to park a motor or other vehicle in such private parking space without the express permission of the owner or lessee of such space if the private parking lot is clearly designated as such by legible signs no smaller than 24 inches by 24 inches prominently displayed at all entrances thereto, displaying the current name and current phone number of the towing and storage company, and, if individually owned or leased, the parking lot or spaces within the lot are clearly marked by signs setting forth the name of each individual lessee or owner. A vehicle parked in a privately owned parking space in violation of this section may be removed from such space upon the written request of the parking space owner or lessee to a place of storage and the registered owner of such motor vehicle shall become liable for removal and storage charges. Any person who removes a vehicle pursuant to this section shall not be held liable for damages for the removal of the vehicle to the owner, lienholder or other person legally entitled to the possession of the vehicle removed; however, any person who intentionally or negligently damages a vehicle in the removal of such vehicle, or intentionally or negligently inflicts injury upon any person in the removal of such vehicle, may be held liable for damages. The provisions of this section shall not apply until 72 hours after the required signs are posted.

(a1) If any vehicle is removed pursuant to this section and there is a place of storage within 15 miles, the vehicle shall not be transported for storage more than 15 miles from the place of removal. For all other vehicles, the vehicle shall not be transported for storage more than 25 miles from the place of removal.

(a2) Any person who tows or stores a vehicle subject to this section shall inform the owner in writing at the time of retrieval of the vehicle that the owner has the right to pay the amount of the lien asserted, request immediate possession, and contest the lien for towing charges pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 44A-4.

(a3) Any person who tows or stores a vehicle subject to this section shall not require any person retrieving a vehicle to sign any waiver of rights or other similar document as a condition of the release of the person's vehicle, other than a form acknowledging the release and receipt of the vehicle.

(b) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an infraction and upon conviction shall be only penalized not less than one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) in the discretion of the court.

(c) This section shall apply only to the Counties of Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Orange, Richmond, Robeson, Wake, Wilson and municipalities in those counties, and to the Cities of Durham, Jacksonville, Charlotte and Fayetteville.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not be interpreted to preempt the authority of any county or municipality to enact ordinances regulating towing from private lots, as authorized by general law. (1969, cc. 173, 288; 1971, c. 986; 1973, c. 183; c. 981, s. 1; c. 1330, s. 36; 1975, c. 575; 1979, c. 380; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1119; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1251, s. 3; 1989, c. 417; c. 644, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 383; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2008-68, s. 1; 2010-134, s. 1; 2013-190, s. 1; 2013-241, s. 2.)