Queensland has recently introduced the most severe anti-hooning legislation within Australia and perhaps the world. It is now much easier for the police to impound or permanently take an offenders motor vehicle (forfeiture).
If you commit a “hooning charge” then depending on how many previous offences you have your vehicle will be impounded or forfeited to the state to be sold or destroyed.
What is a hooning charge?
Hooning charges are classified as either a type 1 offence or a type 2 offence. A type 1 offence is considered the most serious while type 2 offences are less serious. The Government classification of serious and not so serious does however appear poorly drafted as doing a burnout is considered more serious than high range drink driving for the purpose of impoundment and forfeiture.
Type 1 hooning offences include;
- evading police.
- taking part in racing or speed trials
- wilfully starting a motor vehicle or driving in way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke
- dangerous driving
- careless driving
Type 2 hooning offences include;
- driving a vehicle that is uninsured and unregistered
- driving without a licence or when your licence has been suspended
- high range drink driving—with a blood alcohol level above 0.15%
- exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h
- driving a modified vehicle that does not comply with vehicle safety standards
- driving while under a 24 hour suspension order.
When can a vehicle be impounded or forfeited?
For a first type 1 offence, the vehicle will be impounded immediately for 90days, for a second type 2 offence the vehicle will be impounded and may be forfeited to the at the end of the proceedings.
For type 2 offences;
- for a second offence the vehicle will impoundment or immobilised for 7 days
- for a third offence the vehicle will impoundment or immobilised for 90 days
- for a fourth offence the vehicle will be impounded and may be forfeited at the end of the proceeding against you
Do I have to pay the costs of the impoundment?
Yes, all the costs must be paid by you and if you fail to pay then your car can be sold to pay the debt. For a type 1 offence where the vehicle is impounded for 90 days the costs will almost certainly be over $2,000.
What is the difference between impounding and immobilisation?
Impounding is where the vehicle is taken to a holding yard and kept there during the period of impoundment.
Immobilisation means the police will take the rego plates and at the end of the impoundment period give them back to you.
Will my car really be forfeited?
If you commit two type 1 hooning offences within 5 years or four type 2 hooning offences then your vehicle will be forfeited to the state for sale or crushing unless you have applied for the early release of the vehicle. It does not matter if you still owe money on the vehicle or how much the vehicle is worth your vehicle will be forfeited unless you apply for early release of the vehicle.
Can I get my vehicle released from impoundment or not have it forfeited?
There are limited ground that you or if you are not the owner the actual owner or usual driver of the vehicle can apply to the court for your vehicle to be released from impoundment. Those grounds include;
- That you or your family would suffer severe financial hardship;
- That you or a member of your family would suffer severe physical hardship;
- That the owner of the vehicle did not give consent to the offence been committed;
- That the grounds for the impoundment based on a type 2 vehicle related offence have been rectified (unlicensed or unregistered/uninsured only);
- That there were no reasonable grounds to impound/immobilise the vehicle.
The procedure for releasing the vehicle from impoundment or for applying not to have the vehicle forfeited are the same.
How do I apply for early release of the motor vehicle?
All application for early release must be made in writing or online to the Queensland Police Service. It is a separate process than the court hearing for the hooning charge.
Once the application is received then the police may;
- grant the application with or without conditions; or
- refuse to grant the application.
If the police refuse the application then you are able to appeal that decision to a Magistrates court. It is critical that your application contain all the necessary documents and information to substantiate the grounds to release the vehicle. If you do not put all the material in the application to the police you may not be able to raise those issues with the Magistrate.
There is a time limit of 28 days from the date of the police decision to appeal to the Magistrates Court. In our opinion the application for release and any appeal must be finalised before the Hooning charge is finalised otherwise there is a risk the vehicle will be automatically forfeited to the state.
It is fairly obvious that the police are unlikely to grant an early release of the motor vehicle as they are the ones who originally impounded the vehicle. In most cases the best outcome will be to make the application to the police and when, as it almost always happens, the police refuse the application to then appeal the decision to a Magistrate who will in almost all circumstances be more sympathetic to the early release of the motor vehicle.
Do I need a lawyer?
Do not attempt to represent yourself if you are seeking to recover your vehicle. The application for early release is complicated and easy to make a mistake on. More evidence needs to be provided to support the application for early release than most people think. If you fail to provide all the correct evidence to the police in the initial application then you will be likely prevented from raising new evidence on any appeal to the Magistrates Court.
Whether you need a lawyer for the hooning charge depends on how serious the charge is. For more information see one of our webpages on
Engaging Clarity Law to act for you
Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest penalty or if necessary to have your vehicle released early. We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland. We appear every week in the courts with people charged with various traffic offences, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients. Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the judges like we do. Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include;
What courts do you appear in?
We appear in every court in South East Queensland. Just some of the courts we appear in for hooning charges are;
1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
5. Gympie Magistrates Court
6. Holland park Magistrates Court
7. Ipswich Magistrates Court
8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
9. Noosa Magistrates Court
10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
11. Southport Magistrates Court
12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
13. Wynnum Magistrates Court
For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.
Will I need to come in to the office to see you?
We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office. We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.
What do you charge?
We charge a flat upfront fee for our services that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. We don't charge any travelling fees either; if you are in Maroochydore or Southport you will pay the same price as if you are Brisbane.
We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you. To see what we will charge click here
How do I get more information or engage you to act for me?
If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
- Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
- Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 8pm