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Some driving offences can result in your vehicle being impounded, immobilised or forfeited.
These offences are known colloquially as ‘hoon’ driving offences and are governed by Part 6A of the Road Safety Act.
Hoon driving offences are divided into two levels of offences. Tier one offences are considered more serious than tier two offences. Any penalty imposed by the Court will depend on whether you have committed a tier one or tier two offence.
In addition to the usual penalties for traffic offences (fines, demerit points, licence suspension or cancellation and gaol), your vehicle may be impounded or immobilised.
The police have a discretion to immobilise or impound your vehicle if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that it is being or has been used to commit a tier one or tier two offence.
Impoundment or immobilisation means that your car is locked at a secure facility for a period of time. The police may impound or immobilise the vehicle within 48 hours of the time they believe the offence to have occurred, regardless of whether the driver is the registered owner.
If the police do not act within 48 hours, they can still impound or immobilise the vehicle if they serve a Surrender Notice on the registered owner. The Surrender Notice must be served within 10 days of the alleged offence, unless the offence was picked up on a speed camera.
The length of the impoundment depends on the offence. All ‘hoon’ offenders can have their vehicle impounded or immobilised for at least 30 days. You will be required to pay the cost of towing and storage of the vehicle before you will be able to get it back.
The law surrounding the impoundment or immobilising of vehicles is complex. If your vehicle has been impounded or immobilised, you should seek legal advice to discuss your options for getting your vehicle back.
The Court can make an order that your vehicle be forfeited and sold if you are found guilty of:
It is an offence to fail to surrender your motor vehicle under a Forfeiture Order, punishable by a fine of up to $9,000. The law surrounding vehicle forfeiture can be complex and quite technical. If the police have indicated to you that they will be seeking a Forfeiture Order for your vehicle, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible to discuss your options.
If your vehicle has been impounded or immobilised, you have the right to appeal on the basis that it will cause you, or any other person, exceptional hardship.
If you have been found guilty of a hoon driving offence and your vehicle has been impounded, immobilised or forfeited, the Court must make an order that you complete the Safe Driving Program (unless you have already completed it for a previous traffic offence).
If you fail to complete a Court ordered Safe Driving Program, your licence will be suspended until you have completed the program.
Traffic offences are treated seriously in Victoria. If you have been in an accident, received a licence suspension or received a charge and summons to attend court, it is important to obtain competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100