The Highway Safety Code prescribes that a peace officer may seize a vehicle for a period of 30 days when the licence of the person driving is sanctioned for accumulation of demerit points or an unpaid fine when the licence has expired. The peace office can also proceed to a vehicle seizure if the driver had exceeded the speed limit of 60 km / h or when the driver had a blood alcohol concentration above 160 mg per 80 ml of blood.
When the vehicle is seized, it is impounded for 30 days and the vehicle owner must wait for the expiry of this period before recovering his vehicle.
However, there is recourse named release from seizure, which allows the owner of the seized vehicle to make an application to retrieve his vehicle before the expiry of the 30-day period. The appeal is said to be ADMINISTRATIVE when the owner fills out his request to the SAAQ which decides whether or not, within 48 hours, the vehicle can be recovered. In case this request is refused or if the owner decides to directly deposit his application to the Court of Québec, the application is then LEGAL. The owner will have to go to his district Courthouse for a hearing before a judge.
The owner can make his request for release from seizure as he is:
- The vehicle owner and driver at the time of entry
- The owner of the vehicle and another person was driving the car at the time of entry
Many people think that when you lend your vehicle, the driver of the vehicle at the time of the seizure should be held responsible.
Make no mistake! In fact, when a person decides to lend his vehicle to another person, it must ensure the validity of the driving licence of the person to whom it lends his vehicle. Furthermore, in case of a vehicle seizure, it is the owner’s responsibility to enforce his rights through an application for the release from seizure. At the hearing, the owner can demonstrate to the judge, for example, that he was unaware that the permit of the person driving the car was suspended and that he had done all the necessary verification to find out.
When the owner is also the driver, he can make his request that he was unaware the licence was sanctioned. In all cases, the owner must give strong reasons and convince the judge that he is entitled to his request.
PLEASE NOTE: You only get one chance to make your plead and retrieve your vehicle or your restricted licence. It is therefore important to be well prepared and to do so, please contact our office who will be able to better represent you in such a situation.
Text written by Me Julie Paradis / Translated by Andrey Leshyner
The use of the masculine gender has been adopted to facilitate the reading and has no discriminatory intent.