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      can police impound your vehicle nsw

      When Can Police Impound Your Car?

      If Police impound your car or confiscate your number plates on the spot, it can be a distressing experience. However, there are only certain circumstances when they are allowed to do so.

      There are also avenues to appeal such a decision which can allow your vehicle or number plates to be returned to you.

      Despite this, if you re-offend, police are able to seize, sell or destroy your car.

      Can Police Impound Your Car in NSW?

      Police can impound your car if you commit a serious driving offence using a vehicle registered in your name. The impounding of it can occur immediately or a 10-day notice can be given.

      The notice will provide details on where to hand over your vehicle. If you fail to hand over the vehicle to the correct location within the designated time, you may incur further penalties.

      If someone other than the registered owner is driving, the police can still impound the vehicle. This includes any vehicles registered in the name of a company.

      If the driver is not the registered operator of the vehicle, Transport for NSW may issue a suspension warning to the registered owner and the driver. This notice warns the owner that if the same vehicle is used in a second offence, the registration of the vehicle may be suspended for 3 months.

      For a first offence, the notice served to the vehicle owner is a warning. This means that it does not penalise the vehicle owner. However, any subsequent offence will result in a penalty. This is because the vehicle owner has failed to properly supervise the use of their vehicle.

      If you are driving a company-registered vehicle and you commit a serious driving offence, then NSW police can confiscate the vehicle and its number plates.

      What is the Penalty for Failing to Provide Your Vehicle?

      If you fail to provide your vehicle to police or you fail to remove your number plates the maximum penalty is a fine of $3300 under Part 7.6 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

      If your vehicle has been impounded or your number plates confiscated, you should speak to experienced traffic lawyers in Sydney. Contact Astor Legal on 7804 2823 or email us at

      How to Appeal

      You can appeal against police impounding your vehicle or confiscating your number plates by addressing the following grounds under Section 249 of the Road Transport Act 2013:

      1. The safety of the public and public interest in preventing the use of a motor vehicle that the Court considers is reasonably likely in all the circumstances to be used for further sanctionable offences;
      2. Any extreme hardship to a person other than the registered operator of the motor vehicle arising from the impoundment of the vehicle or confiscation of the number plates.

      If the Local Court orders that the vehicle or number plates are to be returned, the owner of the vehicle must pay any applicable movement, towing, or storage fees before the car can be handed back to them.

      If the same vehicle is used to commit a subsequent offence within five years, NSW police may impose a forfeiture of your vehicle. Under Section 245 of the Act, forfeiture allows police to seize, sell or destroy your car.

      Your vehicle may alternatively be sold at a public auction or used for crash testing and driving education programs.

      It is important to note that the Act does not recognise financial loss, difficulty attending employment or travelling to any place for education, training or study as an example of extreme hardship. Severe medical issues which require the use of a vehicle may satisfy the extreme hardship requirement in combination with other factors.

      What are Vehicle Sanctions?

      Vehicle sanctions under Part 7.6 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) include:

      1. Number plate confiscation;
      2. Vehicle Impounding (confiscating your vehicle).

      Serious driving offences may be sanctioned immediately by a police officer. Sanctions are usually in place for 3 months. Sanctionable offences are:

      • Street Racing
      • Aggravated burnout
      • Engaging in a police pursuit
      • Speeding by more than 45km/h
      • Repeat unauthorised driving
      • Repeat high range drink driving
      • Combined drink and drug driving
      • Repeat offences

      For a combined drink and drug driving offence, roadside drug tests may need to be confirmed by a laboratory. As a result, police may apply for vehicle sanctions up to 60 days after the offence until these results are received.

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