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Your vehicle can be impounded or clamped for a variety of reasons. The particular offences that can result in impoundment and the relevant legislative instruments are outlined below:


  • Speeding – Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)
  • Property Damage – Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA)
  • Misuse of a motor vehicle – Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident – Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)
  • Graffiti – Graffiti Control Act 2001 (SA)
  • Failing to obey police direction – Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)
  • Driving without a license – Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA)
  • Driving to escape police pursuit – Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA)
  • Driving an uninsured vehicle – Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA)
  • Driving an unregistered vehicle – Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA)
  • Drink and Drug Driving – Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)
  • Dangerous Driving – Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)


Under the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007 (SA), vehicles can be impounded for 28-days. Nevertheless, there are ways to retrieve your car from the police station or impound earlier. Section 8 of the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007 outlines these early retrieval mechanisms. These are listed below;


Section 8 (2) – the motor vehicle was, at the time of the offence, stolen or otherwise unlawfully in the possession of the person or was being used by the person in circumstances prescribed by regulation.

If the motor vehicle was stolen at the time of apprehension, then the conduct of the offender is inherently no fault of the owner. Therefore, a valid application can be made for the vehicle’s early release to the legal owner.


Section 8 (2a) (a) – the offence occurred without knowledge or consent of any person who was an owner of the motor vehicle at the time of the offence.


This is underlined by the same principles as the aforementioned Section 8 (2) and therefore, is a valid grounds for early release.


Section 8 (2a) (b) – continued clamping or impounding of the motor vehicle would cause severe financial or physical hardship to a person other than the alleged offender or a person who was knowingly involved in, or who aided or abetted, the commission of the offence.


The above circumstances would arise if the impounded vehicle was, for example, a family car, and its withholding imposes severe financial or physical hardship upon other members of the family, who in no way, partook or had knowledge of the offence. This requirement is not merely limited to this example and there are various situations that may fulfill its elements.


Section 8 (2a) (b) – other grounds exist that warrant bringing the clamping or impounding period to an end


The abovementioned element is quite broad in nature, however, if you believe to have an arguable case not prescribed in any other section, then you may file an application under this section.


Furthermore, if the vehicle is not collected within 10-days, following the 28-day period, the Commissioner may dispose of the vehicle.


Given this, if you require assistance in retrieving your vehicle from impoundment or contesting an unfair impoundment, Straits Lawyers are here to help you.


We offer online services in both English and Chinese. Simply book an online consultation with us via this link: or email us at or call at 08 8410 9069 to arrange an appointment.


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Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice, and H&O Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.