So, you find your car is in the process of being towed.......

Say you parked your car in a wrong place and after running errands you find that there are people who are attaching your car to a tow truck, or, just about to attach your car to a tow truck.
Do you still have the legal property rights to say, “Hey, my car, get away, I’m going to drive it away now?” Or by that point can the towing team say, “Sorry, too late, you’re going to pay a fine and/or have the car towed by this point?”

It was parked illegally. Would be best to negotiate with the tow team for a just settlement instead of paying for a tow.

In some of the TV reality shows I’ve seen involving parking issues the rule seemed to be that if you can move it before they hook up you’re OK. Once they hook up its going to cost you.

There was a show called “Parking Wars” on A&E about the parking enforcement officers in Philadelphia and Detroit. In those cities, the law said once your car is on the hook, the tow truck driver can’t drop it. You have to go pay your fines and impoundment fees to get your car back.

I had the opposite problem once – I wanted my car towed but couldn’t arrange it unless I was there.

[SPOILER]My car broke down (caught fire actually!) so, too despondent to deal with it, I hopped on the BART and went home.

My friend was horrified: “You abandoned your car in that part of the city?? It’ll be ransacked by the morning!” Oh; good point. I’ll just have it towed to the repair shop. But I didn’t want to go all the way back to the city.

I called the tow company. “If you’re not there to show and sign papers, we can’t tow your car without permission from the police.” Logical.

So I called the police: My car’s a safety hazard and needs to be towed. “No problem; tell us where it is and we’ll tow it to our impound lot.” (A detour to the police lot would add an extra $180 or so to the towing cost.) – No, no; the towing company’s all set up to tow it; they just need your permission. “Watcha talking about, boy? We don’t give permission. We can’t do anything but tow it to the police lot.”

I was ready to hang up, despondent that my most valuable possession was going to be ransacked overnight. But the cop must have been bored or something: “What’s the matter with the car anyway?” – Sprung an oil leak. “Sprung an oil leak!! It’s a fire hazard; it needs to be towed!” (Yeah, that’s why I called.) “Where did you say this car is?”

I hung up.[/SPOILER]

You’ll hate this answer but: It depends. It depends on where you are and what the law says.

As a LEO I’ve had a zillion cars towed. But every time I was there so when the owner showed up in the middle of towing it was me they had to deal with, not the towboys.

In a lot of jurisdictions it’s a very fine (and many times, legally undefined ) line.

In some areas if the tow company has a contract with the local municipality (county, state, etc.) it’s like being deputized and they can continue with what they are doing and you interfering can be a violation of law. But like I said, YMMV depending on location.

If it hasn’t been hooked up yet and you can drive away safely, why not?

On the other hand, I once saw my car being hooked up…and it was too late at that point, I owed them money. But the driver threw me a bit of a bone, instead of taking it back to the tow yard, he let me run to the ATM and grab cash. Whether it went into his pocket or the till at the company I’m not sure, but I got my car back pretty quickly.

This. In Florida, once the process begins (i.e., the wrecker is on site), you can be charged half the towing fee.

40 years ago, I got to my care just as they had put the hook under the axle and started to lift the car.(the car was an inch or two off the ground already. )
The guy reversed the winch, gave me my car back, and said “you’re lucky I hadn’t written it up yet”, showing me his clipboard with a blank form similar to a parking ticket.

Nowadays, I assume the “writeup” is electronic. So I assume that if your license number has been typed into the handheld unit, it’s too late to cancel.

It is in the UK. The Traffic warden writes a ticket and calls the tow truck. If you can get there before the truck arrives you should get away with ‘just’ £100 or so fine. Any later then it’s arm and leg time. Moral - don’t do it.

Oh yes - on one of those fly-on-the-wall programmes, the crew made no secret of their joy on finding a Porsche or Ferrari etc.