​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Getting your car or number plates back early

If the police removed your number plates or impounded (took away) your vehicle you can apply to the local court to get them back before the end of the confiscation or impound period.  

You do not need to be the registered owner of the vehicle to make an application. For example, if you were driving the vehicle at the time of the sanctionable offence or if you need to use the car that was impounded or had the plates removed, you can also apply to get the vehicle or the number plates back.

Icon: Page with numbered list  Getting your vehicle or number plates back early - Step by step guide​

​​Step 1: ​Get the application form

You will need the following form:

  • Application Notice - General

You can get copies of this form from your nearest local court, or the local courts website.

Step 2: Fill out and​ file the application form

Instructions: Instructions for filling out an application notice - early release.

Samples: Sample application notice - early release.

There is an $93.00 fee (as at July 2017) that you have to pay when you file the form at the local court. 

You can file your application at any local court registry.

When you file your application, the date that your matter will be heard will be written on the form and a copy given to you. This is the date you have to attend court and explain to the magistrate why your vehicle or number plates should be given back to you. The date that your appeal will be heard may be several weeks or months away, depending on how busy the court is.

Step 3: Prepare d​ocuments to support your application

Before you go to court, you will need to prepare the evidence to support your application.

The court may decide to order early release of the number plates or the vehicle if:

  • it is unlikely that the vehicle will be used for another sanctionable offence, for example, speeding, street racing or burnout offences, or
  • someone other than the registered owner will experience extreme hardship because the vehicle or number plates have been taken away.

Examples of extreme hardship may include:

  • you care for a person who is very ill and you or another person needs to drive the vehicle to take them to doctors' appointments
  • you live in a remote area and there is no access to public transport and you or someone else will not be able to take your children to school unless the vehicle is available.

You should take the following with you to court:

  • if you are the registered owner of the vehicle, a copy of your latest registration papers
  • if you are not the registered owner of the vehicle, proof that you need or use the vehicle, such as a letter from the registered owner
  • references from two or three people who will say you are of good character
  • a letter to the court from a person (but not the registered owner) that states they will experience extreme hardship because you or they cannot drive the vehicle
  • a medical certificate or doctor's letter setting out the medical condition of the person (not the registered owner) who relies on the use of the vehicle
  • a map which shows where you live and the availability of public transport.

Instructions: Instructions for writing a character reference.

Samples: Sample character reference.

Step 4: Attend ​court

On your court date, your case may be listed at a certain time. It is a good idea to get to the court half an hour earlier to find out which courtroom your case will be heard in. If you think you are going to be late, you should ring the court registry and let them know. If you do not go to court on this date the court can decide your case without you.

There are often many cases listed on the same day and you have to wait until your name is called. You can take a seat in the courtroom or if the courtroom is full you can wait outside. Make sure you are close enough to the courtroom to hear the court officer call your name. If you leave, or are not there when you are called, your case can be decided without you.

The magistrate or registrar may close (adjourn) the courtroom for morning tea (usually around 11:30am) and for lunch (usually from 1:00pm to 2:00pm). You will have to leave the courtroom during these breaks. You can check what time the courtroom will reopen with the court officer or the registry.

It is possible that you could be at the court for a few hours, and sometimes for most of the day, so you should make arrangements with your work or childcare if necessary.

Icon: Hint  Remember to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom.

Step 5: Present your case

When your name is called, go and stand at or near the bar table (where the lawyers sit). The magistrate may ask you if you have anything to show them to support your application. If you have brought character references and other documents, you should give these to the court officer to give to the magistrate.

The magistrate will then ask you to explain why you want your number plates released or your vehicle returned. This is called making submissions. You could explain to the magistrate:

  • why the vehicle's number plates were confiscated or the vehicle impounded
  • your driving history, how long you have been driving, and any other offences you have committed and why
  • why it is unlikely that the vehicle will be used for any more speeding, street racing or burnout offences
  • if you are the registered owner of the vehicle, why someone else will suffer extreme hardship if the vehicle cannot be used
  • if you are not the registered owner, why you or someone else (but not the registered owner) will suffer extreme hardship
  • why you think you are of good character.

Some magistrates may want you to give evidence and you will be asked to go into the witness box. You will have to take an oath or affirmation (promise to tell the truth). The magistrate will then ask you questions. The prosecutor may also ask you some questions.

After the magistrate has heard from you and from the prosecutor, he or she will make their decision.

You cannot appeal the decision of the magistrate. If the magistrate decides not to allow the early release of your number plates or vehicle, there is nothing else you can do and you will have to wait until the end of the confiscation period to get your number plates or vehicle back. ​

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