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, you can also apply to get the vehicle or the number plates back.
You will need the following form:
You can get copies of this form from your nearest
local court, or
the local courts website.
Instructions for filling out an application notice - early release.
Sample application notice - early release.
There is an $87.00 fee (as at July 2014) 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.
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:
Examples of extreme hardship may include:
You should take the following with you to court:
Instructions for writing a character reference.
Sample character reference.
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.
Remember to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom.
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:
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.