The police can impound (take away) your car or number plates if they have reason to believe that the car was involved in:
The power of the police to do this is called a 'sanction' and these offences are called 'sanctionable offences'. The laws that allow this are often called 'hoon laws'.
If your car was involved in a sanctionable offence, the police officer can:
If you do not hand over your vehicle or number plates when directed to, you may be given a fine or be charged. If you are convicted, you could be fined and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) may suspend your registration for up to 3 months.
If your number plates are confiscated you may have to arrange for your car to be towed to avoid parking fines. If your vehicle is impounded you may have to pay towing fees as well as impound fees.
Driving your vehicle during the number-plate confiscation period is a criminal offence. If you are charged and found guilty, you could be fined.
At the end of the impound period, you should contact the police to find out where your car has been impounded to arrange to pick it up.
The police can ask you to pay towing and storage fees before they will release the car. If you cannot pay these fees you can ask the police to waive the charges.
Police should have delivered your number plates to RMS. At the end of the confiscation period, you should contact RMS to arrange to pick up your number plates.
If your number plates were damaged when they were removed, they should give you replacement number plates.
If you have any trouble getting your car or number plates back, you should get
If the vehicle is registered in your name but you were not driving the vehicle when it was involved in an offence, RMS may send you a warning notice. If your vehicle is involved in any further sanctionable offences in the next five years, the vehicle's registration may be suspended for up to three months.
If you receive a warning letter from RMS, you should get
You can apply to the local court to get your car or number plates back before the impound or confiscation period ends. You do not need to be the registered owner of the vehicle to make the application but you will need to show the court that you need or use the vehicle.
The court will consider:
The court cannot release your vehicle or your number plates earlier than five days after they were confiscated.
If you want to apply to the court for early release of your vehicle or number plates, you should get
legal advice first.
For more information, see
Getting your car or number plates back early.