Gopher State Grabs Any Vehicles It Can, The Magnolia State Gives Them Away

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While Minnesota is not the kind of state where someone can hope to get their abandoned vehicle back in a couple of days, if it broke down on the road, in Mississippi people have up to five days to recover it.
Sometimes in the middle of a road trip, a flat tire happens, or some malfunction that will end your journey prematurely. While in some states, it is ok to leave the car where it is, hitch-hike to the next motel, call a friend and wait for the next day, in Minnesota and Mississippi that would be a terrible mistake. Instead, the owner should call a tow truck or the AAA to remove it. Otherwise, things might get very expensive.

The 10,000 lakes state hates junk, but praises pioneer cars

Milky-Way is one of the most known products coming Minnesota, and it is produced since 1923, when it was called Mar-O-Bar. Also, the great Bob Dylan was born there and became a famous songwriter, singer, and Noble prize winner. These are just a few things that made the North Star State (or Gopher State) famous. But the true beauty of it are the number of lakes and the gorgeous scenery, which the local government tries to preserve for future generations. This is why they are removing abandoned vehicle just four hours after a peace officer properly posted them. And since most residents are proud of the state’s beauty, don’t expect them to close their eyes when passing by an abandoned car.

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In Minnesota, a vehicle is considered abandoned very fast. The owner might get lucky and get it back before it is marked and removed by police. The police removes all vehicles left on public property. We know that there is the “finders keepers” rule in other states, but that does not apply here. But what if you just find a vehicle abandoned on your property, either left behind by the previous landlord, or by someone else who suddenly decided to leave their vehicle rot on your land?

In both cases, the property owner has to call the police, and they can remove the car. But, you might want to keep that vehicle. Then, what’s the solution? Well, there are not too many ways to keep it. Since 2020, the law has been extensively modified so the property owners cannot claim that vehicle. They have to call a peace officer who will come and pick it up and remove it with an authorized towing service. Then, if the vehicle's owner won’t reclaim it, it will be auctioned off (if it is not considered junk, or without a certain value). An important exception is that vehicles manufactured prior to 1936 are considered pioneer cars in Minnesota. But even those might end up in police custody, so in this case you really need legal advice.

Magnolia State residents can grab abandoned cars

Squeezed between four other states and the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi owns its name to the river that crosses it, which is a translation from the Chippewa Indians language meaning “large river.” The king of rock&roll, Elvis Presley, came from here, as do other famous singers such as Britney Spears or Rick Ross. It is a very religious state and it has the largest number of churches per capita in the entire U.S. Thus, the government truly believes citizens when they say that they found a car on their property. Moreover, it allows them to keep it.

In 2010, the local government renewed the Mississippi Code and declared a vehicle as abandoned if it was left on private property for more than 40 days. But the story changes when it comes to those left in public places. While in some states they would be gone in four hours, here they are waiting for five days.

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Yet, if the vehicle is left in a repair shop, a private property where it was towed at the request of a law enforcement officer, the car’s owner has 40 days to claim it. Of course, they will have to pay a storage fee for that. But the alternative would be losing the vehicle, which will be heading to auction, held no sooner than 30 days since it was removed. The seller will have to inform the last known owner ten days after authorities consider it abandoned about the intention of selling it. If there is no answer within thirty days, then it’s a done deal. If the last owner’s address is unknown, the seller may post announcements for three consecutive weeks in a local newspaper where it found the relic.

Basically, if you find a car on your property, chances are you'll have a clean title for it in just a few months. But you have to try and find the previous owner either with some help from DMV, or without. It they do show up, they'll have the option to reclaim the car after they pay the storage fees.
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Editor's note: The information in this article are not legal advice; for any requests regarding an abandoned vehicle, refer to local law enforcement agencies.

About the author: Tudor Serban
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Tudor started his automotive career in 1996, writing for a magazine while working on his journalism degree. From Pikes Peaks to the Moroccan desert to the Laguna Seca, he's seen and done it all.
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