Impoundment Information


Impoundment Information

The impoundment period for the qualifying offences varies depending on the offence type and the number of charges or convictions for a ‘like’ offence. Further, upon application by police, an additional impoundment period or an order for confiscation may be issued by a court depending on the offence type and number of convictions.

Roadside impoundment

Roadside impoundment by police applies to hoon and unauthorised driving offences only. In relation to hoon offences, previous charges apply when determining the impoundment period. Police are required to interrogate both IMS and Briefcase to ensure quality assurance of the data. Charges that have been withdrawn or have resulted in an acquittal are not to be considered as a previous charge. The following roadside impoundment periods apply:


Based on previous
convictions or charges
1st offence 2nd or subsequent
Impounding Offence
Charges 28 days 3 months
Impounding Offence
(driver’s licence)
Convictions 28 days 28 days

Court ordered impoundment or confiscation

Upon conviction of a qualifying impounding offence, police may make application to the court, depending on the offence type and number of convictions, for the court to order an impoundment period or confiscation order. In relation to offence types that already attract a roadside impoundment, this is in addition to the period already served. The following table identifies when a court application may apply and the penalty associated with it:

1st conviction 2nd or subsequent conviction 3rd or subsequent conviction
Impounding Offence
N/A N/A Confiscation order must be granted
unless hardship applies to a person
other than the driver or alternatively
6 months impoundment
Impounding Offence
(driver’s licence)
N/A 3 months impoundment 6 months impoundment or confiscation
order may apply
Road rage 6 months impoundment
or confiscation order may apply
6 months impoundment
or confiscation order may apply
6 months impoundment or confiscation
may apply

There are currently three types of offences that are subject to vehicle impoundments:

  • Impounding Offence (driving);
  • Impounding Offence (driver’s licence); and
  • Road Rage offences.

Specifically, the offences include:

Impounding Offence (driving)

  • s.60 Driving in a reckless manner
  • s.60A Driving at a reckless speed; and
  • s.62A Causing excessive noise or smoke

Impounding Offence (driver’s licence)

  • s.49(1)(a) that is committed by a person described in s.49(3)(a), (b) or (c):
    • the driver had applied for the grant or renewal of a driver’s licence and had been refused;
    • the driver had never held a driver’s licence AND is also disqualified from holding a driver’s licence for any reason other than fine suspension;
    • the driver has held a driver’s licence but ceased to hold it for any reason other than voluntarily surrendering the licence, the licence expired or fines suspension; or
    • the driver’s licence is suspended for any reason other than fines suspension;
  • s.38(1)(a) driving contrary to extraordinary licence (EL) conditions:
    • the driver is driving contrary to an EL in regards to time, purpose or location only.

Road Rage offences

  • s.78A is a road rage offence where the offender:
    • assaults a victim;
    • damages the victim’s property; or
    • commits a reckless driving offence where the victim is endangered,
  • where the offence is committed as a reaction to, and motivated by, an event that occurs on a road or any place accessible to the public while:
    • the offender is driving a vehicle on the road or in the place; and
    • the victim of the offence is using the same road or place, whether as the driver, or a passenger in another vehicle.

Note: Photo identification must be included in the 100 points.

Note: A vehicle will not be released unless photo identification is supplied, if you are unable to produce photo ID you must attend your local Police station for a stamped release form.

The documents below can be used for the 100 points of identification.

70 Points

Only one of the following may be claimed:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Birth Card issued by a Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • Citizenship Certificate
  • Current Passport

Secondary Documents

40 Points

  • Any of the following, which must contain a photograph and a name. Additional documents from this category are awarded 25 points.
  • Driver licence issued by an Australian State or Territory
  • Licence or permit issued under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory Government - (e.g. a boat licence)
  • Identification card issued to a public employee
  • Identification card issued by the Commonwealth, a State or Territory Government as evidence of the person's entitlement to a financial benefit
  • An identification card issued to a student at a tertiary education institution

35 Points

  • Name and address of signatory verified from any of the following:
  • A mortgage or other instrument of security held by another financial body
  • Must have name and address on:
  • A mortgage or other instrument of security held by a financial body
  • Local government (council) land tax or rates notice
  • Document from your current employer or previous employer within the last 2 years
  • Land Titles Office record

25 Points

  • Must have name and signature on:
  • Marriage Certificate (for maiden name only)
  • Credit Card
  • Foreign Driver Licence
  • Medicare Card (signature not required on Medicare Card)
  • Membership to a Registered Club
  • NRMA Membership
  • EFTPOS Card
  • Must have name and address on:
  • Electoral roll compiled by the Australian Electoral Commission and available for public scrutiny
  • Records of a public utility - phone, water, gas or electricity bill
  • Records of a financial institution
  • Lease/rent agreement
  • Rent receipt from a licensed real estate agent

A Senior Officer working within the Property Management Division may authorise an impounded vehicle to be released prior to the expiration of the impounding period if the owner of the vehicle involved provides sufficient justification of the existence of “exceptional hardship”.

The burden of proof of exceptional hardship rest with the applicant and is a legislative requirement not a police requirement. A senior Officer will conduct an appreciation of the application to ensure a fair and just process has been undertaken. The officer’s determination is based on all of the circumstances presented and if those circumstances are considered to have met the requirements of the legislation.

An Early Release of an Impounded Vehicle application received at the Vehicle Impound Unit will be processed, unless exceptional circumstances exist, within two (2) working days of receipt of the application. See Vehicle Impound forms.

Information to consider when applying for an early release

The application must include as much information as possible to substantiate the applicant’s claim of exceptional hardship.

Some examples of what is not exceptional hardship is

  • “I need the car for work”
  • ”I need to visit the Doctor or go to the hospital.”
  • “I need the car to travel to school or university”
  • “I’ll lose my job”
  • “It’s my boss's car and if he finds out he will sack me”

Some examples of what may constitute exceptional hardship is

  • “I need my car for work, to assist you I have attached a letter from my employer stating I need the vehicle to undertake my job”. It is specially modified and another vehicle cannot be used. I have attached some photographs of the vehicle to show the modifications.
  • “I’ll lose my job as I am a plumber and need to use my vehicle for work. It carries my tools and specialist equipment”. I have attached a photograph of the vehicle and the tools and a letter from my employer to assist you in your determination.
  • “I am a shift worker, to assist you I have attached a copy of my shift hours and a letter from my employer” this proves I am unable to use public transport and without a vehicle I will loose my job.
  • “I have a medical condition, to assist you I have attached a letter from my Doctor or information from the hospital regarding my condition” this will allow the Senior Officer to make a fair assessment of your condition.

Access to other vehicles.

If another licenced vehicle could be accessed and used by the applicant during the impound period the application will be rejected. Some examples are

  • Another vehicle is registered to the applicant’s or
  • Another vehicle is registered to the applicant’s business or
  • Another vehicle is registered to the applicants spouse or partner.

The application will be rejected unless the application includes proof as to why another other vehicle accessible to the applicant could not be utilised by the applicant. Some examples of the proof to be included on the application is

  • Mechanic’s report stating that the other vehicle is not in a working order
  • Disposal slip from a scrap metal company that the vehicle has been disposed of
  • The other vehicle is not modified or suitable for the purpose of the applicants business or intended use.
  • The other vehicle is un-road worthy or unlicensed.

Substitute vehicles

Impounded vehicles can be released if a suitable substitute vehicle is provided by either the driver or owner of the impounded vehicle. The substituted vehicle must be of equal or a higher value, licenced and road worthy. Included with the details of the vehicle such as registration number, owners name and address and proof of licence must be included with a detailed explanation required as to why a substitution is required.

Owner not the Driver

  • “I am the owner of the car but not the driver” or
  • “I loaned the car to someone who loaned it to someone else”

An application made on this basis will be rejected as Section 79 (d) (6) of the Road Traffic Act 1974 deems the owner of the vehicle fully responsible for what happens to it.

Financial hardship

Financial hardship due to the vehicle’s impound is taken into consideration but WA Police are unable to reduce costs.

  • A payment plan is available at the expiry of the 28 day impound period but cannot be used in conjunction with early release.
  • For low value vehicles, it is worth considering completing an 80JA form giving the Commissioner of Police authority to dispose of the vehicle on your behalf. On receipt of an 80JA form all further storage costs cease.

The Process

If you have considered all of the information provided and have formed the opinion that your circumstances could be considered as Exceptional Hardship you should complete the form provided. You should attach all and any documentation that supports your application and forward it to the VIU.

On receipt of an Application the Vehicle Impound Unit will use all of the resources available to investigate your application. Be assured we will check your criminal driving history and who owns what vehicles within your household or business. We will if considered necessary contact all or any of the people or businesses nominated by you in your application that supports your application. This includes but is not limited to Doctors, vehicle owners, wives, husbands, friends, relatives and associates. You should assume we will do the following

  • Confirm the owner is the applicant for the early release
  • Confirm that the owner, partner, spouse or relative or company has no other vehicles registered.
  • Confirm that all documents applicable to the application are attached, Some examples may be but are not limited to:
    • Letter from the applicants Doctor
    • Medical appointment information
    • Hospital discharge information
    • Work rosters
    • Letter from the applicants employer
  • Review the data to establish if the vehicle or driver was the subject of previous impounds
  • Review the availability of Public Transport in the vicinity of the applicants home
  • Review the time and distance from home to school or work
  • Investigate all reasons given on the application and find possible solutions
  • Complete the application and seek the adjudication of the senior officer

If our inquiries determine that the circumstances described in the application are not as stated, your application will be rejected.

Email: Email us
Address: PO Box 106
Belmont WA 6984
Office hours: 07.00am to 03.00pm
Monday to Friday
Direct line:
08 9373 2440
Early release: 08 9373 2422
Payment plans: 08 9373 2421
Surrender notice: 08 9373 2424
Encumbered vehicles: 08 9373 2490

310, Treasure Road N, Welshpool