What to do if your vehicle is impounded under ‘hoon laws’

Queensland has a range of strict dangerous driving laws known as ‘anti-hooning’ laws. Hooning offences are covered under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000. Penalties include impoundment, immobilisation or your vehicle, impoundment and possibly the forfeiture of your vehicle.

If your vehicle is seized under a hooning law, you should hire a traffic lawyer on the Gold Coast to help you. You may be able to apply for early release of the vehicle and a lawyer can assist with this. There may also be additional charges, such as dangerous driving or driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Types of hooning offence

Hooning offences are divided into two categories. Type 1 offences are more serious, and comprise:

  • Dangerous driving
  • Careless driving
  • Organising, promoting or taking part in racing or speed trials
  • Wilfully starting or driving a vehicle in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke
  • Evading police

Type 2 offences are:

  • Driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle
  • Driving without a licence, or while your licence is suspended
  • High range drink driving
  • Speeding by more than 40kmh over the limit
  • Driving a modified vehicle that does not comply with vehicle safety standards
  • Driving while under a 24-hour suspension notice
  • Failing to supply a specimen of breath or blood when requested

What happens if I am charged with a hooning offence?

Depending on how serious the offence is, you may be:

  • Issued with an infringement notice;
  • Issued with a notice to appear in a Magistrates Court; or
  • Arrested

You may have to pay a hefty fine, and for more serious offences, even face a possible term of imprisonment.

For a first Type 1 offence, the police have the power to impound your vehicle for 90 days. If you have had one or more previous Type 1 offences, the police can impound your vehicle until all proceedings for your charges are complete, or require that the vehicle is permanently forfeited.

For a first Type 2 offence, your vehicle will not be immobilised or impounded. However, for a second offence the police have the power to impound your vehicle for 7 days, increasing to 90 days for a third offence and until the end of all proceedings or permanent forfeiture for a fourth offence.

What happens if my car is impounded?

The police may order that your car be impounded at a stated place and time. You must pay the costs of the vehicle towing to the holding yard, the storage fee and the release fee.

Alternatively, the police officer may choose to remove and confiscate the vehicle’s number plates, and to attach a ‘number plate confiscation notice’ to the vehicle stating the period during which the vehicle must not be operated. They may also choose to attach an immobilising device to the vehicle.

The vehicle must not be moved or interfered with during the immobilisation or impoundment period. At the end of the period, you must collect the vehicle to reclaim the number plates and pay any costs associated with the impoundment.

If your vehicle is to be forfeited because you have committed two Type 1 offences or four Type 2 offences, it can be sold at auction or crushed for scrap metal.

Can I appeal against an impoundment or immobilisation?

You may apply for the release of your vehicle on the grounds that you will suffer severe hardship without it. The application process can be complicated and requires you to provide substantial supporting evidence. A traffic lawyer in the Gold Coast can help you through the steps so that your application stands a stronger chance of success.


The initial application is made to the police. If they refuse, you can appeal in the Magistrates Court. Having a traffic lawyer at your Gold Coast court appearance will help give you the best chance of getting your vehicle released.