Car Impoundment in Victoria
Car Impoundment in Victoria can be the result of a range of behaviours. A number of different offences can result in the police having the right to impound your vehicle on the spot, including but not limited to:
- Excessive speed 45km/hr or above
- Drink driving BAC reading of 0.10 or above on a first offence (or any reading whatsoever for a second offence)
- deliberate loss of traction
- unnecessary noise/smoke
- organising or participating in street racing
- riding a miniaturized motorcycle on a road/road-related area
- dangerous driving (including whilst pursued by police)
- careless driving
- failure to have proper control of a vehicle
- deliberately or recklessly entering a level crossing when a train is approaching
- refusing to stop when directed by police
- carrying more passengers than there are seat belts
- First offence for unlicensed driving, disqualified driving or driving in breach of a relevant licence condition (alcohol interlock ‘I’, zero blood alcohol concentration ‘Z’) (from 29 October 2018)
- drink-driving or combined drink and drug-driving where the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.10 or more
- Intentionally or recklessly exposing an emergency services worker or custodial worker to risk by driving (from 29 October 2018)
- Damaging an emergency services vehicle (from 29 October 2018)
If impounded, your vehicle will be held by police at the Vehicle Impound Unit on Raglan Street, Preston, for anywhere between 30-45 days, depending on the offence.
Only a properly licensed individual will be able to retrieve the vehicle, so you should bear this in mind if you have lost your licence as a result of the impoundment offence that resulted in the vehicle being taken.
The cost to release the vehicle is approximately $900-$1,100 AUD.
Can I Defend the Charge?
Under section 84O of the Act, you may be able to apply to the court to have your vehicle released early (with 7 days notice of the application) if the impoundment will cause extreme hardship to yourself or another person affected directly, and/or if you can show that the vehicle does not belong to you. There are also other circumstances that may give rise to a defence, so it is important you get the right help from an expert traffic lawyer.
A successful application can also result in the waiving of the impoundment costs so it is important to prepare properly and attend with a lawyer who may be able to assist you in recouping your losses in the circumstances.