If your vehicle is impounded, you have a right of appeal to the Police and from there to the District Court (see below).
The Police have authority under the LAND TRANSPORT ACT 1998 to impound motor vehicles in certain cases.
A Police officer must seize and impound a motor vehicle for 28 days (or authorise someone else to do so) if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the driver drove the vehicle on the road while
The Police must also seize and impound a driver's car if
A Police officer may seize and impound a motor vehicle for 28 days if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that a person
The officer must issue a notice directing that the vehicle is not to be driven on a road, subject to any exceptions that the officer includes in the notice.
If the officer impounds the car, he or she must complete a notice that acknowledges that the vehicle has been seized and impounded, and that includes the following information:
Unless the driver has left the scene, the Police officer must give the driver a copy of this notice. If the driver is not the registered owner, the officer must give the owner a copy of the notice if the owner is present or, if the owner is not present, send them a copy as soon as practicable. The officer must also ensure that the storage provider receives a copy.
Any personal property that is in the car must be released to you, on request, when the vehicle is seized, provided you can supply satisfactory evidence that you were lawfully entitled to the vehicle or the property immediately before it was impounded. (This does not include any property attached to or used in connection with the operation of the vehicle.)
Once the vehicle is impounded it will be stored where the Police direct.
The owner of the vehicle is liable to pay any fees and charges associated with towage and storage of the vehicle.
A storage provider is entitled to release a vehicle only as authorised under the Act, and must release the vehicle to the owner (or an authorised person) once release is authorised.
If the Police decide that proceedings will not be taken against the driver, or if proceedings are taken and the driver is acquitted, then the vehicle must be released.
Further, if the car was impounded on drink-driving grounds (see above under "Situations when Police must seize vehicles"), the car must be released to the owner if a blood test shows the driver's blood-alcohol level was 80 milligrams or less per 100 millilitres of blood.
Once the 28-day period has expired, the registered owner or a person whom the owner authorises is entitled to remove the vehicle from storage, provided he or she can show the storage provider:
You can defend the impoundment of your vehicle by exercising your rights of appeal under the LAND TRANSPORT ACT 1998.
The owner of a motor vehicle that has been impounded may appeal to the Police on the following grounds:
Your appeal must be in the form of a statutory declaration.
If they are satisfied that there has been an injustice the Police must direct the vehicle to be released immediately to the owner (or an authorised person).
The Police must determine the appeal within:
If your appeal to the Police is unsuccessful then you may appeal to the District Court. However, this must be on the same grounds as those that apply to appeals to the Police; the court is not permitted to consider any other grounds. After it has heard your appeal, the court must either: