Navigating the Process of Claiming an Abandoned Vehicle Title in Alabama

Defining an Abandoned Vehicle in Alabama

In Alabama, if you find an abandoned vehicle, there's a specific procedure to follow to potentially claim its title. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process.

Defining an Abandoned Vehicle in Alabama A vehicle is considered abandoned in Alabama if it's left unattended for over 48 hours on private property without the owner's consent, or if it remains uncollected more than 48 hours after repair work is completed.

Step 1: Report to the Alabama DMV Within five days of deeming the vehicle abandoned, report it electronically through Alabama's Unclaimed/Abandoned Vehicle Portal. This report must include details like the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year, license plate number, and the date it was deemed abandoned.

Step 2: Check the VIN Concurrently, verify the vehicle's VIN against the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to identify its last titled state. The DMV will then put a hold on the title for 45-60 days.

Step 3: Request Owner Information Depending on where the vehicle was last titled, you'll either need to request records from the Alabama DMV or submit a DPPA request to the state where the vehicle was last titled.

Step 4: Notify the Owner Within five days of receiving owner information, enter it into the Unclaimed/Abandoned Vehicle Portal and send a certified notice of possession to the current owner and any lienholders. They have 30 days to claim the vehicle.

Step 5: Publicize the Auction After notifying current owners and lienholders, announce the public auction in the Portal and a local newspaper at least 35 days before the auction. Include details like your contact information, vehicle information, and the auction date.

Step 6: Conduct the Auction Post-auction, update the report in the Portal with information such as the bill of sale, vehicle description, auction details, and sale proceeds.

Key Reminders

  • Follow all procedural steps and maintain accurate records in the Portal.
  • The process is strictly for vehicles deemed abandoned as per the state's definition.
  • Misuse of the process, like falsely claiming a vehicle is abandoned, can lead to legal consequences.

This guide is intended to assist you in understanding the steps to title an abandoned vehicle in Alabama. Remember, compliance with these steps is crucial to successfully navigate the process.

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