What to Do If You Find an Orange Tag on Your Windshield

source: City of Turlock

Have you ever come across a car with an eye-catching orange tag on its windshield or rear window and wondered what it signifies? These conspicuous orange tags are not just for decoration; they hold a significant meaning. 

The Purpose of Orange Tags

When you spot an orange tag on a vehicle, it’s not a random act of tagging but rather a deliberate action taken by local law enforcement. These tags are typically placed on cars that are deemed abandoned, inoperable, or hazardous to the community. The primary purpose of tagging such vehicles is to initiate the process of impoundment.

Abandonment Criteria

The criteria for labeling a vehicle as abandoned can vary from state to state and even among municipalities. However, some common factors that might lead to a car being tagged as abandoned include:

Inoperable Condition: A car that is visibly non-functional or lacks the necessary components to operate safely, such as missing wheels, a damaged engine, or extensive body damage.

Long-Term Parking: Parking a vehicle in the same spot for an extended period without moving it can also raise suspicion of abandonment.

Public Safety Concerns: If a car poses a hazard to public safety due to its condition or location, it may be tagged and impounded to prevent accidents.


The Timeline for Consideration

One of the most critical aspects of the orange tag system is the timeline for considering a vehicle as abandoned. While state laws can differ, it’s essential to note that the window of time can be relatively short, sometimes as little as 72 hours. In some cases, local ordinances may extend this period slightly, but it remains a relatively brief timeframe.

What to Do If You Find an Orange Tag on Your Windshield

Discovering an orange tag on your vehicle can be a distressing experience, but it’s essential to handle the situation correctly. Here are the steps you should take if you find an orange tag on your windshield:

Contact Local Authorities: The first step is to contact your local law enforcement agency or city’s parking authority. They can provide information on why your vehicle was tagged and the specific steps you need to take.

Resolve the Issue: Depending on the reason for the tag, you will need to address the underlying problem. This may involve repairing your vehicle, moving it to a legal parking spot, or complying with local regulations.

Appeal if Necessary: If you believe your vehicle was wrongly tagged, you may have the option to appeal the decision. Be prepared to provide evidence to support your case.

Orange tags on cars serve as a clear indicator that local law enforcement has identified a vehicle as abandoned, inoperable, or hazardous. The timelines for considering a car as abandoned can be relatively short, which is why it’s crucial for vehicle owners to be aware of their local regulations and act promptly if they find an orange tag on their windshield. By understanding the purpose of these tags and following the appropriate steps, you can navigate this situation effectively and ensure the safety and functionality of your vehicle.