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Q:        I got a call that a wrecker was repossessing my car from my house. When I arrived, officers were there and my car was  being towed by the wrecker. I wanted to file charges on the wrecker driver but the officers said it was legal for him to take my car.

A:         Car repossessions are governed by the Universal Commercial Code (UCC) and Texas in is agreement with this code.

When buying a vehicle, consumers often make a full or partial purchase on credit.
When someone buys a car, truck, or other vehicle on credit, they should be aware that until they have made the last payment their creditor retains significant rights over the vehicle. Until the consumer pays the debt off entirely, the car dealer or lien holder/creditor legally owns the vehicle.

Failure to pay a loan payment or contractual lien agreement on time is known as "defaulting." If the consumer defaults on a loan by not making payments on time, the lean holder/creditor may repossess the consumer's vehicle with no prior notice.

The creditor does have legal authority to enter the consumer's property and seize the vehicle at any time and without prior notice to or consent of the consumer, even in the middle of the night, so long as it is done peaceably without entering into an enclosed structure such as a garage.

It is unlawful for the consumer to knowingly hide or otherwise prevent the lien holder/creditor from repossessing a vehicle. Concealing the car can be a crime. Concealment of a vehicle with intent to hinder a creditor is a felony in Texas.

When seizing the vehicle, your creditor may not commit a "breach of the peace" by, for example, using physical force or threats of force. Taking your car over your protest or removing it from a closed garage without your permission also may constitute a breach of the peace, depending on the law. However, once the towing company driver has the vehicle attached to thier equipment for removal, protesting the fact does nothing as the vehicle has already conveyed.

A private attorney can provide guidance about how courts have dealt with these matters.

As for the officer being present when a vehicle is repossessed, click here for information regarding a Civil Standby.