Vehicle impoundment and forfeiture are serious consequences for individuals convicted of certain vehicle-related offences in Queensland. These measures are in place in order to deter repeat offenders and ensure road safety. In this blog post, we will explore the circumstances that may lead to your vehicle being impounded under Queensland law and discuss the options available to you.
What is Vehicle Impoundment in Qld?
If your vehicle has been “impounded” it has been taken in to police possession.
In Queensland, there are specific laws in place under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) (PPR Act) that grant the police the authority to seize and impound motor vehicles for certain prescribed offences. It may be impounded for a specific period, or it may be forfeited indefinitely.
The decision to impound or forfeit your vehicle to the state depends on the seriousness of the offence.
What Is Vehicle Immobilisation?
When your vehicle is “immobilised,” the police have the authority to impose restrictions on its use, typically by confiscating your number plates. This means that you will not be able to operate the vehicle on public roads until the immobilisation period ends or the necessary conditions for its release are met. Confiscating the number plates is a common method used by the police to enforce this restriction and ensure compliance with the immobilisation order.
What’s the Law on Vehicle Impoundment in Qld?
Under the PPR Act, you may have your vehicle impounded by Qld police for two classes of
offences, which are categorised as Type 1 and Type 2 offences.
Type 1 offences include:
Any of the below offences in circumstances that involve a speed trial, a race between vehicles or a burn out –
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle; or
Driving without due care and attention; or
Racing and speed trial offences; or
Offences involving starting or driving a motor vehicle that produces excessive noise or smoke.
Failing to stop for the police.
Type 2 offences include:
• Driving both an unregistered and uninsured vehicle
• Unlicensed driving
• Driving under the influence of alcohol (but not drugs)
• Failure to provide roadside test or specimen for analysis (not including saliva) or driving under 24-hour suspension
• Failure to comply with a defect notice requiring inspection of vehicle
For each subsequent offence, the penalties imposed increase, irrespective of whether different vehicles were involved in each instance. The vehicle or car impounded will be whichever was used in the most recent offence.
How Long Will My Vehicle Be Impounded For?
This will depend on whether you have committed a Type 1 or Type 2 offence, and whether you have been convicted of any previous type 1 or type 2 offences.
If this is your first Type 1 vehicle-related offence, the police may impound your vehicle for up to 90 days.
If this is your first Type 2 vehicle-related offence, the impoundment period is 7 days.
If it is your second or subsequent Type 1 offence, your vehicle will be impounded until the end of proceedings for the new charges. If you are found guilty of an additional Type 1 charge or charges, you vehicle will be forfeited to the police permanently.
If this is your third or subsequent Type 2 offence, your car may be impounded for up to 90 days.
If this is your fourth or subsequent Type 2 offence your vehicle will be impounded until the end of proceedings for the new Type 2 charge. If you are later found guilty of a fourth Type 2 offence your vehicle will be forfeited to the police permanently.
How Can I Get My Car Back?
If your vehicle was seized and immobilised during the time of being charged with an offence, but later you are found not guilty or the proceedings are discontinued, the vehicle must be promptly released back to you.
In cases where your vehicle has been impounded or immobilised, there are certain circumstances under which you may be eligible to apply for its early release. These circumstances may include:
Severe hardship caused by the impoundment or immobilisation of your vehicle. The offence for which the vehicle was seized occurred without the consent of the vehicle’s owner.
The circumstances that led to the offence have been rectified, such as properly registering an unregistered vehicle.
The impoundment or immobilisation of the vehicle was deemed unreasonable.
Need Help With Vehicle Impoundment in Qld?
If you find yourself facing vehicle impoundment or have questions regarding this process, Guest Lawyers can help. Our experienced team understands the complexities of Queensland’s criminal law and can guide you through the intricacies of vehicle impoundment cases.
We offer personalised advice and strong representation to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome for your situation. Whether you require guidance on challenging the impoundment or need assistance with navigating any other traffic matters or criminal matters, we are dedicated to providing you with effective solutions. We offer a free initial consultation to assess your case and provide you with comprehensive advice tailored to your situation.
To schedule your consultation, call us on 07 3211 3007 or contact us via our online form.