Early Release

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.

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