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What happens to a forfeited vehicle?

Information about when a vehicle may be sold or disposed of under the hoon driving law.

When can the vehicle be forfeited?

The order allowing a vehicle to be forfeited takes effect when the period for an appeal against the conviction for the offence or against the sentence has passed.

Note: Appeals must be filed in either the Magistrates' Court or the Children's Court within 28 days from the date of sentence.

Police must not sell or dispose of the vehicle that is subject to a forfeiture order until they serve a notice to all interested parties (owner, driver, VicRoads and anyone else they believe has an interest) 14 days before the sale.

See ss. 84ZB, 84ZR, 84ZRA, 84ZRB, 84ZRS—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

Proceeds of sale following a forfeiture order

After a motor vehicle has been sold (following a disposal or forfeiture order) any profits from the sale must be distributed according to the following priorities:

  • pay for the cost of the sale or disposal
  • unpaid costs of impoundment or immobilisation
  • discharge any security interest in a vehicle (such as a bank loan or finance company),
  • pay to the registered operator and
  • if the registered operator cannot be found, any remaining goes into consolidated revenue (state government bank account).

A person who purchases a vehicle or any item has good title to ownership.

See ss. 84ZS, 84ZT—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

If vehicle not collected after being immobilised or impounded

Police may sell a vehicle by auction or by public tender. They may also dispose of the vehicle in some other manner, such as crushing the vehicle. They can not do this until the vehicle remains uncollected for 2 months from the release date. They are also able to sell or dispose of any items that have been left inside the vehicle.

There are several steps the police must take before they can dispose of the vehicle. They must:

  • serve a 'warning notice' to all interested parties at least 28 days before applying to court for a disposal order
  • apply to court for a disposal order (not less than 28 days after serving the warning notice)
  • serve a notice to all interested parties (owner, driver, VicRoads and anyone else they believe has an interest) 14 days before the sale, and
  • make all reasonable attempts to find the owner of any property that has been left behind in the vehicle.

See s. 84ZQ—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

An affected person may attend the court hearing

The court must allow any person who has been notified to convince the court why the order should not be made. If the applicant was also the offender there are limits on the exceptional circumstances that the court may consider.

The court may not consider the hardship of an offender if:

  • the accused has been suspended or disqualified from driving
  • driving the vehicle is essential and not merely convenient for transport to employment, and
  • no other transport is available to the person's workplace.

See s. 84ZW(1), (3), (4)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

Proceeds of sale following a disposal order

After a motor vehicle has been sold (following a disposal order) any profits from the sale must be distributed according to the following priorities:

  • pay for the cost of disposal
  • unpaid costs of impoundment or immobilisation
  • discharge any security interest in a vehicle (such as a bank loan or finance company)
  • any money remaining is unclaimed money under the Unclaimed Money Act 2008.

A person who purchases a vehicle or any item has good title to ownership.

See s. 84ZX—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

Items left in the vehicle

Police must make reasonable attempts to return the item to its owner. If police have followed all of the steps set out in the Act then the title of any property left behind passes to the police. They may sell or dispose of this as they choose.

See ss. 84ZQA, 84ZRA—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

More information

Legislation

Road safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 84ZB—when an order (for forfeiture, immobilisation or impoundment) takes effect
  • s. 84ZQ—sale or disposal of an uncollected vehicle or items
  • s. 84ZR—sale or disposal of a vehicle subject to a forfeiture order
  • s. 84ZQ(4)—if all steps are properly carried out by police, the title of the property passes to the police
  • s. 84ZQA—sets out what has to be included in the notice and how it must be served
  • s. 84ZR—sale of disposal of motor vehicle subject to forfeiture order
  • s. 84ZRA—notice to be given of intention to sell or dispose of vehicle subject to forfeiture order
  • s. 84ZS—distribution of profits from sale of vehicle
  • s. 84ZT—disposal of a motor vehicle, item or thing, subject to a disposal order
  • s. 84ZW—hearing for disposal order application
  • s. 84ZX—application of the proceeds of sale

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic)

  • s. 255—how an appeal is commenced

See Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic).

Children, Youth ad Families Act 2005 (Vic)

  • s. 425—how an appeal is commenced

See Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic).

Unclaimed Money Act 2008 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a sum of money from wages, interest, dividends, bonuses, profits or any other source that is legally payable to the owner that has been unpaid for at least 12 months.
  • s. 28—unclaimed money register must be kept and published regularly.

See Unclaimed Money Act 2008 (Vic).

Updated