Often people are completely overwhelmed by the thought of attending the Brisbane Magistrates Court for a drink driving or DUI charge. In Australia these types of matters are never televised and so people often have no idea what the process will be like or worse think it will be something like the American process they have seen on TV.
This article gives some idea what a typical Court appearance will be like for an unrepresented person in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. It is important however to note that in almost all cases having a Lawyer represent you will result in a shorter disqualification period, smaller fine and much less stress.
What will happen in Court?
Firstly you should arrive at least 25 minutes before your scheduled Court start time. In the Brisbane Magistrates Court all drink driving matters begin at 9am and are generally heard in court 33 on level 7.
The Brisbane Magistrates Court is located at 363 George Street. There is another Magistrate Court in Brisbane known, very confusingly, as the Brisbane Magistrates Court – Roma Street. It would be very unusual if your matter were to be held in the Roma Street Court as this is reserved for criminal matters.
When you enter the Brisbane Magistrate Court there is a security point which you must go through. Once you have been through this on your right hand side is a number of electronic noticeboards which will list the Court number your matter will be heard in. You should then take the elevator to the floor where the Court is.
Eventually a Police Prosecutor will arrive you should then go and speak to them in the Court room. The Prosecutor will provide you the outline of the case against you, breath analyst certificate and your traffic history. This document is generally known as the “QP9”. The Police Prosecutor will only want to know whether you are pleading guilty, not guilty or seeking an adjournment. Given the large amount of people waiting to see the Prosecutor they cannot and won’t be able to engage in any real discussion of your matter.
Check the QP9 while you wait for the Court to start to ensure it is correct. If it isn’t go and talk to the Police Prosecutor. If the details on the QP9 are wrong it might be appropriate to seek an adjournment.
The Court will start when the Magistrate enters, please stand whenever the depositions clerk (the Magistrates assistant) or Police Prosecutor calls ‘all rise’ and then wait for the Magistrate to sit down before sitting yourself.
Typically those with Lawyers will go first and then those people seeking an adjournment will go next and finally those people who are pleading guilty will go last. There may be 30-60 people on any given day in the Court so it is not unusual for a unrepresented person pleading guilty not to be heard until 11am or even later.
Wait for your matter to be called and then approach the table where the Police Prosecutor is. You will stand to the far left of the table. Remain standing while the Magistrate asks what you are doing. At this point you must tell the Magistrate what you want to do. Please ensure you address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”. If you are pleading guilty the Magistrate will ask you to confirm this and then the Magistrate will then ask you to sit.
The Police Prosecutor will read a brief statement of facts and give the Magistrate a copy of your traffic history and breath analyst certificate. All of these documents will be in the QP9 so you should have already seen them.
Once the Police Prosecutor finishes the Magistrate will read the traffic history and breath analyst certificate and if they have any queries they will ask you. If you have not already filed any character reference tell the Magistrate if you have some, the Police Prosecutor will take them from you and will give them to the Magistrate. You then have an opportunity to explain to the Magistrate what happened with your drink driving charge and anything else you wish to raise.
Once you have finished speaking and when the Magistrate has no further questions for you they will impose the sentence. Given that all drink driving charges in Queensland carry a mandatory period of disqualification then you will be required to surrender your licence to the Prosecutor. Once this is done you may leave the Court.
If you are eligible to apply for a work licence and are choosing to do so your matter will be adjourned to another day to hear that work licence application. You must apply for a work licence before the court imposes your sentence, you cannot apply afterwards. More details about work licences can be found here
For more information about drink driving or DUI’s visit our drink driving website.
While you are free to represent yourself in Court, engaging Clarity Law to act for you has a number of benefits including;
We appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court several times for with people charged with drink driving, 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. We offer one of the most competitive prices for drink driving charges in Queensland click here to see what we will charge. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Its represents information about the law in Queensland and since publishing the law, the practice of the court or the interpretation of that law may have changed.