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South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

Displaying items by tag: drink driving

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.

 

Getting representation

While you are free to represent yourself in Court, engaging Clarity Law to act for you has a number of benefits including;

  • We know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the lowest penalty
  • We have good relationships with the Police prosecutors meaning we can often have them support the penalty we are asking the Court to impose or make changes to what they will tell the Court 
  • We will be able to get a copy of your QP9 before the Court date
  • We are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in Court
  • Engaging us shows the Court you are taking your charges seriously
  • Your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 30-50 other matters to be heard before you
  • You will be fully informed of what is to happen in Court and what this means for you after Court
  • Unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

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;

  1. Use our contact form,
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

 

 

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.

Published in Legal Blog
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:17

High Range DUI

A high range drink driving is one of the most serious charges a person who has likely never been to court in Queensland can commit.

There are three different levels of drink driving for a Queensland open licence driver:

Low Range

.05-.099

Mid Range

.1-.149

High Range

.15 and above

If you are charged with a high range drink driving charge in Queensland (also known as DUI or UIL) the mandatory minimum disqualification, for a first time offender, is 6 months and the court can impose a disqualification of anything up to an absolute disqualification.  Obviously your penalty will vary based on your exact alcohol reading, your traffic history, personal circumstances and the Magistrate handling your case.  This article is written to give someone facing a high range drink driving charge some idea of the court process.

 

What penalty will the court impose?

It is a given that someone charged with a high range drink driving charge is going to get a more severe penalty than that of a low or mid-range offender.  The law states that the licence disqualification period cannot be less than 6 months and will be imposed no matter what other penalties are also imposed.  The court will also almost always impose a substantial fine.

Where the reading is particularly high or if a crash is involved the court may be looking to impose a penalty more than fine.  Typical options for a court would be probation or community service.

If you have similar offences on your traffic history then the court might be looking at whether imprisonment should be imposed.

 

What can I do to minimise the penalty?

You should always engage a traffic lawyer to represent you if charged with high range drink driving.  Your lawyer can work out what things you need to do to reduce your penalty especially considering what Magistrate might be hearing your case.  In general we have found the following things useful in trying to reduce the penalty:

  • Character references
  • Attending a driving course like Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”).  We are a proud sponsor of QTOP and believe it is one of the most powerful things people facing a high range drink driving charge can do before their court date.
  • If you have any alcohol or mental health issues then obtaining appropriate medical help

 

Will I go to prison?

Generally first time offenders would not be likely to be sent to prison however this depends on a number of factors including;

  • Was there a crash
  • Was any other cars or property damaged
  • Was anyone injured
  • What the blood alcohol reading was
  • If the person has a poor traffic history
  • Which Magistrate hears the matter

Only an experienced traffic lawyer can advise if a prison sentence is likely, even if it the courts have the option of potentially suspending that sentence.  If you are worried about a prison sentence then get legal advice.  We have a article all about penalties for high range drink driving.

 

DUI, UIL and high range drink driving what’s the difference?

In practice DUI, UIL and high range all refer to the same thing.  DUI is driving under the influence, its term more associated with America rather than Australia but has been gaining more popularity over the years.

UIL means under the influence, it is largely being replaced by the term DUI but it is the more correct term used in Queensland and the term used in the law and in court.

High Range drink driving is a term commonly used in the court and by lawyers and prosecutors.  It can be used interchangeably with UIL.

 

I’m being charged with refusing a breath test

The police can charge you if you refuse to give a breath or blood test.  The law then treats the offence like a high range drink driving charge with the same type of penalties.  This is a complicated area of the law.  We have an article that can provide some more information, that article can be found by clicking here.

 

Can I apply for a work licence?

No, Work licences can only available to low to mid-range drink drivers. Regardless of your situation there is no way around this. There are other requirements you must meet to be eligible but if you are charged with high range drink driving you cannot apply for a work licence nor any other licence such as a special hardship licence  

If you are facing a high range drink driving charge it is important to have an experienced traffic lawyer and traffic law firm represent you to ensure you obtain the absolute shortest disqualification period and fine possible.

 

Will I be subject to an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device?

Anyone charged in Queensland with a high range drink driving charge (or 2 low or mid-range drink driving charges within 5 years) will be subject to having an alcohol ignition interlock device fitted to their vehicle at the conclusion of their suspension. The alcohol ignition interlock device is similar to a breath test device and is connected to your vehicles ignition. You must blow into with a zero alcohol limit before your vehicle will start. You will need to have the alcohol ignition interlock device for a minimum of 1 year.

The alcohol ignition interlock device needs to be installed by an approved provider and costs vary depending on your vehicle size and if you are a pensioner.  You will incur the costs associated with the rental, installation, servicing and removal of the interlock from your nominated vehicle. 

If at the end of your suspension period you decide not to have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you will be unable to drive for a further 2 years from the date your Court suspension ended.

Whilst there are grounds for an exemption, there are few and it is difficult to obtain. Grounds of exemption can be if you are residing in a remote location (over 150kms from an alcohol ignition interlock installer) or living on an island, have a medical condition preventing you from being able to use the device or you have extenuating circumstances. Please note that extenuating circumstances cannot be that you are unable to install the interlock for employment or financial reasons. 

It’s important to note that the court does not impose an interlock condition, it is a requirement imposed by Queensland Transport to get your driver’s licence back.  More information can be found on the Queensland Transport website.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. Our fees are clearly posted on our website so that you know exactly what your costs will be.

To see what we will charge for a guilty plea to a drink driving charge click here

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then likely Steven Brough the firms founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 40 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your charge, all at no cost.

If you want to engage us then it’s easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don’t want to engage us or want to engage another firm that’s fine, you won’t be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your charge. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Everyone of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

 

My court case is tomorrow, is that enough time to engage us?

We can take on cases urgently so just contact us and we can sort it out. If there is not enough time to prepare before the court date then we can arrange for the charges to be adjourned for a few weeks.

How do I get more help or engage you to act for me? 

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken 1000’s of drink driving charges throughout South East Queensland.

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
  3. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Visit our main website or drink driving page  
  5. Visit our articles on high range drink driving and the penalty for high range drink driving

What Courts do you cover?

We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast out to Toowoomba.  We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people. The offices are locacted at 

Maroochydore

Brisbane

Brendale

Gold Coast

Ipswich

Loganholme

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about drink driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

 

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on drink driving on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

Published in Legal Blog

A QP9 (Queensland Police Form 9 or police court brief) is a document prepared by the Police Prosecutions unit when someone is charged with an offence. The QP9 lists the exact charge with a brief description of the facts which the Police are alleging against you as well as attaching any criminal or traffic history. Depending on what Court your matter is to be heard in, and how busy the Police are, the document will be provided prior to your Court date or at Court.

It is essential to carefully go over the QP9 prior to entering a plea before the Court, as you are not only pleading guilty to the charge but also to all the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge that the Police allege in the QP9, this may include the way you acted towards the Police, things that you said or admitted or information recorded by the Police that you may believe is incorrect or inaccurate. This should be remembered when being charged as harsher penalties or less leniency can apply if the document states that you were rude, unruly, unhelpful etc. Also being aggressive when being charged can easily result in a further charge of resisting arrest or obstructing or assaulting police.

Obtaining the QP9 or having a Lawyer obtain the document for you and having a thorough look over the QP9 before you enter your plea is essential so that if there is any discrepancies they are looked into.

In Court the Police will read out the charge and a brief rundown of their version of events from the QP9. It is then that your Lawyer, or yourself if you are self-represented, can have your say to the Magistrate. If there are significant factors from the QP9 in which you disagree with it may be possible to draft submissions and put them forward to the Police Prosecutions asking them to reconsider the charge or amend what is written in the QP9. A Lawyer can advise you as to the possibility of making submissions and if what the likely chances of the Prosecutor accepting them would be.

Some examples of our success in getting the Police Prosecutions to lower or dismiss charges are:

  • 1.       Our client was charged with dangerous driving whist effected by alcohol and drink driving. A person cannot be charged with both offences, only one or the other. We addressed this with the Police Prosecutions and the result was the charge of drink driving was withdrawn.

 

  • 2.       Our client was charged with unlicenced driving. At the time that the letter had come from Queensland Transport telling our client his licence was suspended our client had been suffering an extremely traumatic string of events. On these grounds we were able to convince the Police to withdraw the unlicenced driving charge.

 

  • 3.       Our client was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, being the higher of the two drug driving charges. Upon receiving the drug analysis certificate and after going over the QP9 document we were able to have the Police agree to downgrade the charge to driving with a relevant drug in the client’s system.

 

In more serious matters it is possible to request a full brief of evidence. This document is like a QP9 but much more detailed and will include any witness statements, CCTV or audio footage. Where applicable it is also possible to request any Police body camera or police vehicle camera footage that may be available.

Needless to say engaging a Lawyer to represent you ensures that all avenues are explored to ensure all aspects are covered and you ultimately receive the absolute best outcome possible.

Here at Clarity Law we appear in the Courts with clients all over South East Queensland. It is this experience that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices for representation in Queensland click here to see what we will charge.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm.

 

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Published in Legal Blog
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 16:41

DUI Charges

When most people hear DUI they usually associate it with a drink driving charge. Whilst this is correct, as DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’ it can in fact relate to either a drink or drug driving offence.

 

There are three levels of drink driving charges, being

 

Driving with a low BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .05 and .099. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving with a mid BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .1 and .149. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 3 month suspension of your licence.

 

Driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol charge is a result of a reading of .15 or above. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence.

 

A DUI drug charge means that you were charged with ‘driving under the influence of drugs’. Drug tests search for traces of THC (active ingredient in marijuana), MDMA (speed or ecstasy) and methamphetamine.

There are two levels of drug driving charges, being:

 

Driving with a relevant drug present in your system

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system but they appear to be unaffected by the drugs or substance. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of 24 hours. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving under the influence of drugs (“DUI”)

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system and/or the driver appears to be affected and impaired by drugs. This will be ascertained by the driver’s appearance (eyes, facials expressions etc), behaviour and mannerisms. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence. Whilst if you are sentenced to in excess of this period the Magistrate can take into consideration the length of time you have already had your licence suspended, if you receive the minimum of 6 months, this period will be served in full from your Court date.

 

Driving under the influence of drugs can be a result of illegal drugs, synthetic drugs (designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs) prescription drugs (Xanax, Valium) and even some over the counter medical prescriptions.  Anytime that you are effected by a substance which alters your abilities in any way you could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

A roadside drug test is simply an oral swab which is tested immediately and will indicate if there is traces of drugs in your system. If the test indicates the presence of drugs you will need to undergo another drug test which is sent to a Government laboratory for testing.  You will receive a drug analysis certificate when it is available from laboratory testing. If your roadside drug test indicates no drugs in your system, the Police are still able to order you to undergo a blood test if they believe you are under the influence of a drug or substance.

We have been successful in the past in having some drug DUI charges downgraded to driving with a relevant drug in the drivers system by in putting forward to the Police Prosecutions submissions giving reasoning and information as to why the client should not have been charged with a drug DUI and have only received a driving with the relevant drug in their system charge.

Whilst with alcohol there are rough guidelines to how long the alcohol will take to be processed and out of your system there is no such recommendation for how long drugs may stay in a person’s system for. Many people find themselves being charged with driving with drugs in their system long after they have consumed or ingested drugs. Because each person responds to the consumption of drugs in a different manner based on their personal chemistry, past use, type of drug taken, amount of drug consumed, height, weight and other factors, unlike alcohol consumption there is no way in when to tell when the drugs have left your system.

It is important to note that you do not have to be driving your vehicle to be charged with a drink or drug driving offence, you could be charged if you are merely sitting in the driver’s seat.

Charges of low or mid BAC or a driving with a relevant drug in your system, depending on your circumstances and previous traffic history, can allow you to apply for a work licence to be issued to you for the duration of your suspension period. An alcohol or drug DUI charge however eliminates this option.

Here at Clarity Law we represent people charged with drink and drug driving offences in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

 

How do I get more help or engage you to act for me? 

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken 1000’s of drink driving charges throughout South East Queensland.

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
  3. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Visit our main website or drink driving or work licence page

We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba.  We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people. We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about drink driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

 

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on drink driving on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drink driving and what effects a person’s BAC reading is based on our knowledge of representing thousands of drink driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Published in Legal Blog
Sunday, 01 November 2015 11:30

Driving under a police suspension

Depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading or drug driving status and what type of class licence you hold, in Queensland your licence may be suspended for 24 hours after you are charged with drink or drug driving or until your Court date.

 

Drink driving charge

For a driver on an open licence with a low range drink driving charge, between .051 and .099, you will usually be suspended for 24 hours, for a mid-range or higher (being anything over .1) you will usually be suspended up until your Court date.

The police will need to serve a notice of suspension on you and this notice will specify the length of the suspension.  

 

Drug driving charge

For drug driving generally if you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system you will be suspended for 24 hours, however if you are charged with driving with a relevant drug in your system you will be suspended up until your Court date.

 

It is a small comfort to know that, in circumstances where you are suspended until your Court date, the time in which you are charged and therefore unable to drive up until your matter is dealt with by the Court will be taken into consideration by the Magistrate when sentencing you. For example, if your Court date is a month after you are charged the Magistrate will take this into account and usually sentence you to a month less than they would have if you had been able to drive since you were charged. 

 

Driving during your suspension

If you are caught driving during your suspension period, being either the 24 hours after your charge or up until your Court date, the charge will be treated the same as a disqualified driving charge and will result in a mandatory minimum 2 year disqualification of your licence.

Further, whilst multiple traffic charge disqualification usually run concurrently any drink or drug driving charges will run cumulatively with any other driving charges.

We have numerous clients who are charged with a drink driving offence, and subsequently are suspended who leave the Police Station and go directly to their car to drive it home. Police are well aware that a lot of people do this and monitor it. The consequence are extreme and can result in, depending on the initial BAC or drug status charge a further drink or drug driving charge as the alcohol and/or drugs are still in the drivers system, as well as a mandatory cumulative suspension time for the disqualified driving charge. 

Regardless of your situation and circumstances absolutely nothing can be done to obtain less than a minimum of 2 year disqualification for a suspended driving charge.

Another consequence of being charged twice in one night with drink driving is that you will then, at the end of your disqualification period be subject to an interlock system.

If you are sentenced by the Court for in excess of 2 years, after you have served the minimum 2 years you are able to apply for a licence reinstatement application. You should engage a Solicitor to undertake the application on your behalf as you are only allowed to apply once per year.

 

 

Here at Clarity Law we appear several times a week in the Courts with people charged with drink driving, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients, every time.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the Magistrates like we do.  We also 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;

  • Use our contact form
  • Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

 

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.   

Published in Legal Blog
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