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Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Steven Brough

Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

Website URL: http://www.drivinglaw.com.au/about-us/our-team/121-steven-brough.html Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Navigating the legal landscape after a drink driving charge can be daunting, with the consequences in Queensland being particularly severe. As a law firm dedicated to providing expert legal advice and support, Clarity Law is here to offer a comprehensive guide on what you need to know about imprisonment for drink driving in Queensland.  While imprisonment for drink driving is rare there are circumstances when the court might impose a prison sentence.

 

Understanding Drink Driving Laws in Queensland

In Queensland, drink driving offences are treated with utmost seriousness due to their potential impact on road safety. The penalties can range from fines and license disqualification to, in the most severe cases, imprisonment. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone facing a drink driving charge.

 

Factors Influencing Penalties

Several factors influence the severity of penalties for drink driving offences, including:

  • BAC Level: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels play a significant role. Higher BAC levels result in harsher penalties.
  • Repeat Offences: Prior drink driving convictions can lead to more severe penalties.
  • Circumstances of the Offence: Aggravating factors such as causing an accident or having passengers in the vehicle can increase penalties.

 

When Does Imprisonment Become a Possibility?

Imprisonment is considered a last resort for drink driving offences, but under certain conditions, it can become a reality. These include:

 

High BAC Levels

If a driver has a BAC level significantly above the legal limit, particularly those classified under high-range drink driving (0.15% BAC and above), the courts may impose imprisonment, though usually if it is not the first offence or an accident was involved.

 

Repeat Offenders

For individuals with prior drink driving convictions, the likelihood of facing imprisonment increases. The court may impose a custodial sentence to deter repeat offences and protect public safety.

The law in fact mandates imprisonment must be imposed if this is your third high range drink driving charge in 5 years.

 

Aggravating Circumstances

Certain scenarios can aggravate the severity of the offence, leading to imprisonment. These include:

  • Causing an Accident: Drink driving leading to an accident, especially one resulting in injury or death, significantly increases the chances of imprisonment.
  • Driving with Passengers: Having passengers, particularly minors, in the vehicle at the time of the offence can lead to harsher penalties.

 

The Legal Process: What to Expect

Facing a drink driving charge can be overwhelming, but understanding the legal process can provide some clarity and preparation.

 

Initial Arrest and Charge

Upon being charged with drink driving, you will be required to appear in court. The specifics of this process vary depending on the severity of the offence and whether it is a first-time or repeat offence.

If you are charged with mid range or high range the police will also immediately suspend your drivers licence.

 

Court Appearance

During your court appearance, the magistrate will consider various factors, including:

  • BAC Level: The higher your BAC, the more severe the penalty.
  • Previous Convictions: Prior offences will weigh heavily against you.
  • Circumstances: Aggravating factors such as accidents or endangering passengers will be taken into account.

 

Legal Representation

Having expert legal representation is crucial. At Clarity Law, our experienced traffic lawyers will guide you through the process, ensuring your rights are protected and presenting the best possible case on your behalf.

 

Mitigating Factors: Reducing the Risk of Imprisonment

There are several ways to potentially reduce the severity of the penalty, including avoiding imprisonment:

 

Early Guilty Plea

Entering an early guilty plea can sometimes result in a reduced sentence. It demonstrates remorse and a willingness to accept responsibility for your actions.  Always seek legal advice before pleading guilty.

 

Character References

Providing character references from employers, community leaders, or other respected individuals can help portray you in a positive light, potentially influencing the court's decision.

 

Rehabilitation Programs

Participation in alcohol education or rehabilitation programs can demonstrate a commitment to addressing the underlying issues leading to drink driving. This can be a significant mitigating factor in sentencing.

Attending a traffic offenders program like QTOP is also strongly encouraged.

 

Will I go to prison for Drink Driving?

The main factors in determining if someone will be imprisoned for drink driving is the BAC reading, if an accident occurred or someone was hurt and the traffic history of the driver.

First or even second time offenders without a crash or very high reading generally wouldn’t be imprisoned.

The other factor is even if the court does sentence someone to imprisonment it doesn’t mean they will serve time in prison.  The court can decide to release the person immediately or suspend the whole of the imprisonment for the drink driving charge.

 

Professional Legal Advice

Engaging a knowledgeable traffic lawyer from Clarity Law can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. Our team will work tirelessly to present mitigating factors and argue for a lesser penalty on your behalf.

 

Conclusion: Navigating the Complexities of Drink Driving Charges

Drink driving charges, particularly those that can lead to imprisonment, are serious. However, with the right knowledge and legal support, you can navigate this challenging situation more effectively.

At Clarity Law, our mission is to provide expert legal guidance and representation to those facing drink driving charges in Queensland. Our extensive experience in traffic law ensures that you receive the best possible advice and support, tailored to your specific circumstances.

If you or someone you know is facing a drink driving charge, don't navigate it alone. Reach out to Clarity Law today for a confidential consultation and let our expert team guide you through the complexities of the legal process.

 

Contact Us

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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.  

 

Introduction

Drink driving remains a serious offence in Queensland, with strict laws in place to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. However, when it comes to repeat drink driving offences, the penalties escalate significantly, reflecting the heightened risk and potential harm to the community. This guide aims to shed light on the consequences of repeat drink driving offences in Queensland and why securing legal advice is crucial for anyone facing such charges.

 

What Constitutes a Repeat Drink Driving Offence?

A repeat drink driving offence occurs when an individual is charged with drink driving more than once within a specified period. In Queensland, this period is typically five years. Repeat offenders face harsher penalties compared to first-time offenders, as the law assumes that they have not learned from their previous mistakes and continue to pose a risk on the roads.

 

Consequences of Repeat Drink Driving Offences

  1. Increased Fines

Repeat drink driving offenders can expect to face substantial fines. The exact amount depends on several factors, including the level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offence and the number of prior offences. For instance, a second offence might attract a fine in the range of $1,500 to $2,000, while subsequent offences could see fines exceeding $2,500.

  1. Longer Licence Disqualifications

One of the most immediate and impactful penalties for repeat drink driving is licence disqualification. The duration of disqualification increases with each subsequent offence as the minimum disqualification imposed by law increases.  Further offences could lead to indefinite disqualification, significantly affecting one's mobility and employment prospects.

  1. Mandatory Imprisonment

Queensland law stipulates a mandatory prison term for people who have 3 high range drink driving charges within 5 years.

  1. Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program

Repeat offenders are usually required to participate in the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program. This program mandates the installation of an interlock device in the offender's vehicle, which requires the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle can start.

  1. Impact on Employment and Personal Life

The consequences of repeat drink driving extend beyond legal penalties. Licence disqualification can lead to job loss, especially for those whose employment depends on driving.  This is especially true for repeat drink drivers as the law states that you cannot apply for a work licence if you have had another drink driving charge within 5 years.

 

Why Good Legal Advice is Essential

Given the severe consequences of repeat drink driving offences, obtaining sound legal advice is critical. An experienced traffic lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in minimising the penalty.  Repeat drink driving offences in Queensland carry severe consequences.  Increased fines, longer licence disqualifications, mandatory imprisonment, and participation in the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program are just some of the penalties that repeat offenders can face. However, with the right legal advice, it is possible to navigate these challenges effectively and achieve a more favourable outcome.

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us, then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email or contact form. They have over 50 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 online in less than 15 minutes.  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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with many hundreds of courts appearances for drink driving charges each.

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.  

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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

Introduction

For provisional licence holders, driving represents newfound freedom and responsibility. However, with this responsibility comes the obligation to adhere to stringent road safety laws, particularly those concerning drink and drug driving. In Queensland, the legal system takes a hard stance on such offenses, especially for provisional drivers, due to their limited driving experience and higher risk profile. This blog post aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the laws, consequences, and practical advice for provisional drivers charged with drink or drug driving, as well as tips for preventing such situations.

 

Understanding the Laws

Drink Driving

In Queensland, provisional licence holders (P1 and P2) must maintain a zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving. This zero-tolerance policy means that even a minute amount of alcohol in your system can lead to serious legal repercussions. The law is clear: no alcohol is permissible for provisional drivers, and any detected BAC will result in charges and penalties.

 

Drug Driving

Similarly, Queensland law imposes a zero-tolerance policy for drugs. Provisional drivers must not have any detectable traces of illegal substances in their system while driving. The two primary charges for drug driving are:

  1. Driving with a relevant drug present in saliva, blood, or urine.

  2. Driving under the influence of drugs (DUI), indicating impaired driving ability due to drug consumption.

Both charges can have severe legal consequences, and being convicted of either can significantly impact a provisional driver’s future.

 

Consequences

The consequences of drink or drug driving on a provisional licence in Queensland are severe and multifaceted. These can include:

 

Immediate Penalties

  • Fines: Monetary penalties can be substantial, straining financial resources.
  • License Suspension: Provisional drivers can face immediate suspension and will face disqualification from driving for at least 3 months or 6 months if the charge is high range drink driving
  • Court Appearances: Charges will require a court appearance, adding to the stress and potential consequences.

 

Long-Term Effects

  • Criminal Record: A conviction if recorded can lead to a criminal record (though only recorded on the traffic history not criminal history), potentially affecting future employment prospects and travel opportunities.
  • Insurance Premiums: Convictions can cause a spike in insurance premiums, increasing the cost of driving.
  • Professional Impact: Certain professions require a clean driving record; a conviction can hinder career aspirations.

 

Court Appearance

Being charged with drug or drink driving while on your P Plates will require you to appear in court.  However depending on your age this might be a regular adult court or children’s court.

 

Childrens court

If you are under 18 years of age at the time the drink or drug driving charge then your court appearance will be in a children’s court.

This will mean;

  • Your appearance in court cannot be published

  • The court can decide not to disqualify your licence

  • You may not be fined

Learn more about Licence Disqualifications in the Children's Court

 

Adult court

  • Your appearance in court can be published

  • The court must disqualify your licence for no less than 3 months

  • You may will be fined

Learn more about Licence Disqualifications in the Adult Court

 

Work Licence

P Platers are barred under the law from applying for a work licence.  If the appearance is in the children’s court it may be possible to get no disqualification.

 

Advice and Next Steps

If you find yourself charged with drink or drug driving on a provisional licence, it’s crucial to take immediate and informed steps:

 

Seek Legal Advice

Engaging a specialized traffic lawyer is essential. At Clarity Law, we have extensive experience defending clients in Queensland traffic law cases. Expert legal representation can help navigate the complexities of your case, potentially mitigating penalties and protecting your future.

 

Support Services

Utilize available support services, such as counselling or rehabilitation programs, which can demonstrate a commitment to rectifying the behaviour and may positively influence court outcomes.  Also look towards completing a traffic offender program like QTOP to demonstrate to the court you are treating the charge seriously.

 

Conclusion

Navigating the legal landscape as a provisional licence holder in Queensland requires a clear understanding of the stringent laws surrounding drink and drug driving. The consequences of such charges are severe, but with the right knowledge and legal support, you can mitigate the impact and learn from the experience.

At Clarity Law, we are committed to helping good people through tough times. If you or someone you know is facing a drink or drug driving charge, don’t navigate this challenging situation alone. Contact us for expert legal advice and representation. Together, we can work towards the best possible outcome and ensure you continue to drive responsibly and safely.

 

What courts do you cover?

What cover every court from the Gold Coast to Bundaberg.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  The money goes into a trust account and cannot be taken by us until the matter is completed.

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure that although we are not the cheapest our prices, given our experience, is very competitive

Click here to see what we charge or see below for our current prices for a first time drink driving offence.

Drink Driving - Low range                                              $1,499

Drink Driving - Mid range                                              $1,599

Drink Driving - High range                                             $1,699

 

If this is not your first drink driving charge, you have other charges or an extensive history we will provide you with a fixed price quote. 

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us, then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email or contact form. They have over 50 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 online in less than 15 minutes.  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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with many hundreds of courts appearances for drink driving charges each.

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.  

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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 traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

 

Facing a drink driving charge in Bundaberg can be a daunting experience, but having the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. With numerous lawyers offering their services, finding the best one for your situation requires careful consideration and research. Here are some essential steps to help you find the right drink driving lawyer in Bundaberg to defend you against a drink driving charge:

  1. Expertise: Look for a lawyer or law firm with expertise in handling drink driving cases specifically. While general practitioners may offer legal services, a lawyer with specialized knowledge and experience in traffic and DUI laws is better equipped to navigate the complexities of your case.

  2. Experience: Evaluate the experience of potential lawyers by considering factors such as the number of years they have been practicing, their success rate in handling drink driving cases, and their familiarity with Queensland's legal system. An experienced lawyer will know the nuances of the law and how to build a strong strategy to get the best result on your behalf.  Check out their blog and see how many articles they have written about drink driving and traffic law.

  3. Reputation: Research the reputation of the lawyer or law firm you are considering. Look for online reviews, testimonials from previous clients, and any disciplinary actions or awards they may have received. A good reputation often reflects a lawyer's professionalism, integrity, and competence.

  4. Initial Consultation: Take advantage of free initial consultations offered by many lawyers to discuss your case and assess whether they are the right fit for you. Use this opportunity to ask questions about their experience, strategy, and fees, and pay attention to how comfortable you feel communicating with them.

  5. Communication and Support: Choose a lawyer who communicates clearly and keeps you informed throughout the legal process. You should feel supported and confident that your lawyer is working diligently on your behalf.

  6. Cost: Consider the cost of legal representation and ensure that it aligns with your budget. While affordability is important, prioritize the quality and experience of the lawyer over the price alone. Remember that investing in a skilled lawyer can ultimately save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

  7. Track Record: Inquire about the lawyer's track record in achieving favourable outcomes for clients facing drink driving charges in Bundaberg. A proven track record of success demonstrates the lawyer's ability to effectively advocate for their clients and negotiate with prosecutors.

 

Why Choose Clarity Law?

At Clarity Law, we understand the serious consequences that a drink driving charge can have on your life, including potential fines, license disqualifications and more. With our team of experienced lawyers dedicated to traffic and DUI matters, we have successfully represented numerous clients throughout Queensland, achieving favourable outcomes and helping them navigate the legal process with confidence.

Our expertise in drink driving cases, combined with our in-depth knowledge of Queensland's traffic laws and legal procedures, allows us to provide personalised and effective representation tailored to your unique circumstances. We prioritize communication, transparency, and client satisfaction, ensuring that you are fully informed and supported every step of the way.

Check out our blog with over 115 articles all about traffic laws in Queensland and our Guide to Drink Driving charges in Queensland in 2024.

With Clarity Law on your side, you can trust that your case will be handled with the utmost professionalism and diligence, with the goal of minimizing the impact of a drink driving charge on your life and future. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. 

We are upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other Bundaberg DUI lawyer can match our prices and experience. While we will never be the cheapest we do offer the best value in our opinion.

Our prices include;

  • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty

  • Contacting the prosecution unit to obtain your traffic history, charge documents and a copy of the prosecutor court brief (QP9) so we know what the prosecutor will tell the court occurred

  • drafting submissions for the court

  • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)

  • all telephone calls, emails and meetings with you

  • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards

  • appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge

We know there are a lot of DUi lawyers Bundaberg so we will work hard to prove we are your best option.

 

Click here to see what we charge or see below for our current prices for a first time drink driving offence.

Work Licence (includes price of guilty plea)             $2,200

Drink Driving - Low range                                              $1,499

Drink Driving - Mid range                                              $1,599

Drink Driving - High range                                             $1,699

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 45 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 drink driving 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them and they know the Caloundra courts and the magistrates and prosecutors.

 

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

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

 

  • Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

 

 

  • Click here to select a time for us to call you back

 

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 13:09

Work Licences for Drug Drivers

 

For many Queensland drivers, being charged with drug driving can be a daunting and life-altering experience. The prospect of losing your licence can impact your employment and, in turn, your ability to support yourself and your family. However, there is hope. Work licences are available to eligible drivers, allowing them to maintain their employment despite a drug driving offence.

This blog post will guide you through the process of obtaining a work licence for drug driving in Queensland, highlighting the importance, eligibility criteria, application process, and more.

 

Understanding Work Licences for Drug Drivers

A work licence is a special type of restricted licence that allows individuals convicted of a drug or drink driving charge to drive for work-related purposes. For those charged with drug driving in Queensland, a work licence can be a lifeline, enabling them to continue working and supporting their families while serving their driving disqualification.

Drug driving offences in Queensland are taken seriously, and penalties can be severe. However, the courts recognise that many individuals rely on their ability to drive for their livelihood. A work licence provides a balance between penalising offenders and maintaining their employment opportunities.

Learn more:  We have the most comprehensive article on work licences in Queensland

 

Why is a work licence important for drug driving charges?

In Queensland we have mandatory periods of disqualification.  This means that if you plead guilty to drug driving then you are going to be disqualified for a period of time.  A work licence would be important to enable a person to keep driving, for work, during that disqualification.

 

Eligibility Criteria for a Work Licence

To be eligible for a work licence in Queensland, drivers charged with drug driving must meet specific criteria:

Criteria for Eligibility:

  • You must hold a current Queensland open licence at the time of the offence.

  • The drug driving offence must be your first such offence within the past five years.

  • You cannot have had a licence suspended or cancelled (except in some limited circumstances like certain SPER suspensions that did not go to court) in the last 5 years.

  • The drug driving offence must be Driving with a relevant drug in your system not driving under the influence of a drug

  • You must not have been driving for work purposes at the time of the offence.

Conditions and Restrictions:

  • If granted a work licence, you will be subject to strict conditions, including driving only during specific hours and for work-related purposes.
  • The work licence will be valid for the duration of your disqualification period.
  • You must comply with all other conditions imposed by the court, such as completing a log book or restricting who can be a passenger in the vehicle.

 

How to Apply for a Work Licence

The application process for a work licence in Queensland involves several steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through it:

 

Step 1: Gather Required Documents

To apply for a work licence, you will need the following documents:

  • A completed Form F2581 (Application for a Restricted Licence)
  • A detailed affidavit outlining your personal circumstances, the need for a work licence, and the impact of losing your licence on your employment and family.
  • An affidavit from your employer (if not self employed) confirming your employment, the necessity of driving for your job, and the hours you need to drive.
  • Any supporting documents.

 

Step 2: Submit Your Application

Submit your completed application and supporting documents to the Magistrates Court where your drug driving charge is being heard.  Different courts have different procedures on how long before the court date the material needs to be filed.  All the material also needs to the served on the police prosecutor.

 

Step 3: Attend the Court Hearing

You will need to attend a court hearing where a magistrate will consider your application. Be prepared to present your case and answer any questions the magistrate may have. It is highly recommended to seek legal representation to improve your chances of a successful outcome and reduce the disqualification period.

 

Step 4: Comply with Licence Conditions

If your application is approved, you will be issued a work licence with specific conditions. Ensure that you comply with these conditions to avoid further penalties or disqualification.

 

 

Benefits of Obtaining a Work Licence

Obtaining a work licence offers several benefits for drivers charged with drug driving:

 

Maintaining Employment

A work licence allows you to continue working and fulfilling your job responsibilities, which is crucial for financial stability and career progression.

 

Supporting Your Family

By maintaining your employment, you can continue to provide for your family, ensuring their well-being and security.

 

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Knowing that you can still drive for work purposes can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with losing your licence and the potential impact on your livelihood.

 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The process of applying for a work licence can be complex, and making mistakes can jeopardise your chances of a successful outcome. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Incomplete or Inaccurate Documentation

Ensure that all required documents are complete, accurate, and up-to-date. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can result in your application being rejected.

 

Missing the Application Deadline

Different courts have different deadlines, you need to check the court registry to confirm that courts rules.

 

Failing to Seek Legal Advice

Navigating the legal process can be challenging, and seeking professional legal advice can significantly improve your chances of a successful outcome. An experienced traffic lawyer can help you prepare your application, represent you in court, and ensure that you comply with all legal requirements.

 

Tips for a Successful Application

To increase your chances of obtaining a work licence, consider the following tips:

Demonstrate Genuine Need

Clearly articulate the impact of losing your licence on your employment, family, and overall well-being. Provide specific examples and supporting documents to demonstrate your genuine need for a work licence.

 

Show Remorse and Commitment to Rehabilitation

Express remorse for your offence and commitment to rehabilitation. Attend drug education or rehabilitation programs and provide evidence of your participation.

 

Seek Professional Legal Assistance

Engage the services of a qualified traffic lawyer who specialises in work licence applications. Their expertise and experience can significantly improve your chances of success.

 

Real-Life Success Stories

John’s Story

“John”, a delivery driver from Brisbane, was charged with drug driving and faced the prospect of losing his licence. As the sole breadwinner for his family, John was desperate to maintain his employment. With the help of a traffic lawyer, John successfully applied for a work licence and continued to support his family without interruption.

Sarah’s Story

“Sarah”, a nurse from the Gold Coast, relied on her ability to drive to attend to her patients. After being charged with drug driving, Sarah feared losing her job and the impact it would have on her patients. With legal assistance, Sarah obtained a work licence and continued to provide essential care to her community.

 

Conclusion

Obtaining a work licence for drug driving in Queensland can be a lifeline for drivers facing the prospect of losing their licence. By understanding the eligibility criteria, following the application process, and seeking professional legal assistance, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome. If you or someone you know is facing drug driving charges and needs a work licence, contact our experienced team at Clarity Law for expert advice and assistance.

 

Our Team

Every one of our traffic lawyers is extremely experienced appearing in the courts every week representing people charged with drug driving.

Steven Brough – Founder and traffic lawyer (22+ years experience)

 

Russell Tannock – Traffic lawyer (8+ years experience)

 

Jack Marshall – Traffic lawyer (2+years experience)

 

Jacob Purden – Traffic lawyer (8+ years experience)

 

Belinda Smyth – Client Services Manager  (21+ years experience)

Between our lawyers we have appeared in court thousands of times representing clients with traffic offences from the Gold Coast to Bundaberg.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  The money goes into a trust account and cannot be taken by us until the matter is completed.

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure that although we are not the cheapest our prices, given our experience, is very competitive

Click here to see what we charge or see below for our current prices for a first time drink driving offence.

Work Licence (includes price of guilty plea)              $2,200

Drug Driving  (if no work licence possible)                  $1,499

 

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us, then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email or contact form. They have over 45 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 online in less than 15 minutes.  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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with many hundreds of courts appearances for drug driving charges each.

Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drug driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

 

What courts do you appear in?

We appear in every court in Southeast Queensland from Southport to Hervey Bay.  Just some of the courts we appear in are representing drink drivers include;

 

Brisbane

Beenleigh            Brisbane              Cleveland           

Holland Park       Pine Rivers          Richlands            

Sandgate             Wynnum

 

Sunshine Coast

Caboolture         Caloundra           Gympie

Maroochydore    Nambour             Noosa

 

Gold Coast

Beaudesert        Coolangatta        Southport

 

Darling Downs

Gatton     Toowoomba     Ipswich

Kingaroy   Toogoolawah

 

Fraser Coast

Maryborough    Hervey Bay    Bundaberg

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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 drug driving and work licences.

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.  

Facing a drink driving charge in Kingaroy can be a daunting experience, but having the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. With numerous lawyers offering their services, finding the best one for your situation requires careful consideration and research. Here are some essential steps to help you find the right drink driving lawyer in Kingaroy to defend you against a drink driving charge:

  1. Expertise: Look for a lawyer or law firm with expertise in handling drink driving cases specifically. While general practitioners may offer legal services, a lawyer with specialized knowledge and experience in traffic and DUI laws is better equipped to navigate the complexities of your case.

  2. Experience: Evaluate the experience of potential lawyers by considering factors such as the number of years they have been practicing, their success rate in handling drink driving cases, and their familiarity with Queensland's legal system. An experienced lawyer will know the nuances of the law and how to build a strong strategy to get the best result on your behalf.  Check out their blog and see how many articles they have written about drink driving and traffic law.

  3. Reputation: Research the reputation of the lawyer or law firm you are considering. Look for online reviews, testimonials from previous clients, and any disciplinary actions or awards they may have received. A good reputation often reflects a lawyer's professionalism, integrity, and competence.

  4. Initial Consultation: Take advantage of free initial consultations offered by many lawyers to discuss your case and assess whether they are the right fit for you. Use this opportunity to ask questions about their experience, strategy, and fees, and pay attention to how comfortable you feel communicating with them.

  5. Communication and Support: Choose a lawyer who communicates clearly and keeps you informed throughout the legal process. You should feel supported and confident that your lawyer is working diligently on your behalf.

  6. Cost: Consider the cost of legal representation and ensure that it aligns with your budget. While affordability is important, prioritize the quality and experience of the lawyer over the price alone. Remember that investing in a skilled lawyer can ultimately save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

  7. Track Record: Inquire about the lawyer's track record in achieving favourable outcomes for clients facing drink driving charges in Kingaroy. A proven track record of success demonstrates the lawyer's ability to effectively advocate for their clients and negotiate with prosecutors.

 

Why Choose Clarity Law?

At Clarity Law, we understand the serious consequences that a drink driving charge can have on your life, including potential fines, license disqualifications and more. With our team of experienced lawyers dedicated to traffic and DUI matters, we have successfully represented numerous clients throughout Queensland, achieving favourable outcomes and helping them navigate the legal process with confidence.

Our expertise in drink driving cases, combined with our in-depth knowledge of Queensland's traffic laws and legal procedures, allows us to provide personalised and effective representation tailored to your unique circumstances. We prioritize communication, transparency, and client satisfaction, ensuring that you are fully informed and supported every step of the way.

Check out our blog with over 115 articles all about traffic laws in Queensland and our Guide to Drink Driving charges in Queensland in 2024.

With Clarity Law on your side, you can trust that your case will be handled with the utmost professionalism and diligence, with the goal of minimizing the impact of a drink driving charge on your life and future. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. 

We are upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other Kingaroy DUI lawyer can match our prices and experience. While we will never be the cheapest we do offer the best value in our opinion.

Our prices include;

  • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty

  • Contacting the prosecution unit to obtain your traffic history, charge documents and a copy of the prosecutor court brief (QP9) so we know what the prosecutor will tell the court occurred

  • drafting submissions for the court

  • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)

  • all telephone calls, emails and meetings with you

  • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards

  • appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge

We know there are a lot of DUi lawyers Kingaroy so we will work hard to prove we are your best option.

 

Click here to see what we charge or see below for our current prices for a first time drink driving offence.

Work Licence (includes price of guilty plea)             $2,200

Drink Driving - Low range                                              $1,499

Drink Driving - Mid range                                              $1,599

Drink Driving - High range                                             $1,699

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 45 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 drink driving 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them and they know the Caloundra courts and the magistrates and prosecutors.

 

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

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

 

  • Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

 

 

  • Click here to select a time for us to call you back

 

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Introduction

For truck drivers, a single misstep of being charged with a traffic offence can have far-reaching consequences, not only for their careers but also for their personal lives.

Among the most serious traffic offences are drink and drug driving. These offences carry severe penalties and can devastate a truck driver's livelihood. This blog post delves into the implications of these laws, offering insights and practical advice for truck drivers charged with drink or drug driving in Queensland.

 

The Seriousness and Implications of Drink and Drug Driving in the Trucking Industry

Truck drivers hold a unique position on the roads, responsible for operating large vehicles that require heightened skill and concentration. Consequently, the laws governing their conduct, especially pertaining to drink and drug driving, are stringent.

The Queensland government has enacted some of the toughest legislation to deter and penalize drink and drug driving, reflecting the gravity of these offences. For truck drivers, understanding these laws is crucial to safeguarding their careers and ensuring road safety.

 

Specific Laws and Penalties for Drink and Drug Driving in Queensland

Drink Driving Laws

In Queensland, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for truck drivers is 0.00%. This zero-tolerance policy underscores the responsibility truck drivers bear. If a truck driver is found to have a BAC over this limit, they face significant penalties, including:

  • Fines
  • Immediate licence suspension
  • Disqualification by the courts

 

Drug Driving Laws

Drug driving laws are equally stringent. There are two primary offences related to drug driving:

  • Driving with a Relevant Drug in the System: This charge applies if a driver tests positive for drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, or methamphetamines.

  • Driving Under the Influence of a Drug (DUI): This more severe charge applies when a driver's ability to control the vehicle is impaired by drugs.

 

Penalties for drug driving include:

  • Hefty fines
  • Licence disqualification 

 

The law states that the zero alcohol limit applies to anyone driving a truck, a bus, an articulated motor vehicle, a B-double, a road train.

 

The Impact of These Laws on a Truck Driver’s Career

Licence Disqualification and Employment Consequences

The immediate consequence of a drink or drug driving charge is often the disqualification of the driver's licence. For truck drivers, whose livelihood depends on their ability to drive, this can be catastrophic. A disqualified licence means an inability to work, resulting in loss of income and potential job termination.

See below for more information on work licences.

 

Long-term Career Implications

Even after serving the suspension period, the long-term effects linger. A criminal record can make it challenging to secure future employment within the trucking industry, as employers often conduct background checks.

In Queensland a conviction for a drink or drug driving charge is not recorded on a person’s criminal history but can be recorded on their traffic history.  Given most employers would want to see a drivers traffic history if they apply for a job this can be a serious impediment to gain employment.

The recording of a conviction is not mandatory, it is up to the Magistrate to decide whether to record a conviction or not.  Section 12(1) of the Penalties and Sentences Act provides that the court may exercise a discretion to record a conviction or not.

In considering whether or not to record a conviction, the court must have regard to all circumstances of the case, including:

  1. the nature of the offence; and
  2. the offender’s character and age; and

  3. the impact that recording a conviction will have on the offender’s economic or social wellbeing; or chances of finding employment.

The law is in place as it recognises that the recording of a conviction can have a huge impact on a person even years after the offence has been resolved in court.

 

How does the Magistrate decide whether to record a conviction?

Section 12 is not exhaustive which means the court must consider the factors in section 12 but can consider other things as well. 

Generally the court will be looking at:-

 

The nature of the offence

This is fairly obvious the more serious an offence the more likely a conviction will be recorded.  With drink driving the court will look at the BAC reading and whether any accident occurred.

 

The offender’s character and age;

Younger offenders are more likely not to have a conviction recorded for a drink driving charge.  This does not mean older offenders will automatically have a conviction recorded as an offenders character is also taken into account.  Character would usually be judged on a persons traffic and criminal history (if any).

 

The impact that recording a conviction will have on the offender

The impact of the recording of a conviction must be taken into account by the court.  Given the conviction is going to be recorded on the traffic and not criminal history a person would have to show how a traffic conviction will impact them negatively.  A truck driver who if they get a conviction recorded their employer will fire them or they will find it hard to get employment in the future would have an argument why a conviction should not be recorded as trucking companies would likely ask new applicants for a job to show them their traffic history.

In the past the courts have generally considered they should record a conviction for a traffic offences however the cases of Wilson v Commissioner of Police Clinton v Commissioner of Police  have shown that a magistrate cannot simply automatically record a conviction for drink driving without properly considering the factors in section 12.

Learn more about the recording of a conviction for drink driving charges.

 

Getting a Work Licence

A truck driver who is charged with drug or drink driving would obviously be looking at whether they could apply for a work licence to keep driving.

Where a person was driving a truck, a bus, an articulated motor vehicle, a B-double or a road train at the time they were arrested the law does not allow them to apply for a work licence at all.  The truck is defined as any truck with a  GVM over 4.5t.

If a person was arrested while driving a motor vehicle but needs a work licence to earn an income as a truck driver then they may be able to apply for a work licence.

There are strict rules relating to work licences so go to our dedicated work licence page to learn more.

 

Conclusion

Compliance with drink and drug driving laws is crucial for truck drivers, not only for their safety but also for their professional and personal well-being. The stakes are high, and the consequences of a violation are severe.

At Clarity Law, we are committed to helping truck drivers through these difficult times with expert legal advice and representation. Our team understands the unique challenges faced by truck drivers and is here to provide the support and guidance needed to protect your career and livelihood. If you or someone you know is facing drink or drug driving charges, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

 

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

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

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to book a teleconference at a time that suits you

  4. Email our firms founder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

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 or drug driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drug driving charge will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

If you've recently faced traffic law charges or traffic offence in Queensland and are concerned about losing your licence, you may be considering applying for a work licence or special hardship licence in Queensland. These licences can be essential for maintaining your livelihood, but the process of obtaining one can be complex and fraught with legal pitfalls. The question then arises: should you get a lawyer for your application? The short answer is yes, and here’s why.

 

Understanding Work Licences and Special Hardship Licences

Work Licence

A work licence, also known as a restricted licence, allows Queensland Drivers convicted of certain offences, such as drink driving, to continue driving for work purposes. This licence is typically available to drink and drug drivers who have not lost their licence in the past 5 years who can demonstrate that losing their licence would cause them to lose their means of earning their income.

Learn more about Work Licences

 

Special Hardship Licence

A special hardship licence is available to individuals who have accumulated excessive demerit points on a good driving behaviour period or have been convicted of high-risk offences, such as driving 40 km/h over the speed limit. This licence allows individuals to drive under strict conditions to avoid severe personal or financial hardship.

Learn more about Special Hardship Licences

 

The Importance of Legal Expertise

Navigating Complex Legal Requirements

Both types of licences come with stringent eligibility criteria and require detailed evidence to support your application. A lawyer with expertise in Queensland traffic law can help you understand these requirements and gather the necessary documentation, ensuring your application is thorough and compliant.

Remember you get one shot at the court granting the licence, if they don’t that’s it game over.

 

Crafting a Strong Application

The success of your application largely depends on how well it is presented. Lawyers specialising in traffic law can help you craft a compelling case by:

  • Drafting affidavits that clearly outline your circumstances and the necessity of retaining a licence.

  • Advising on character references that can support your application.

  • Preparing you for court.

  • Representing you in court ensuring your arguments on why the application for a licence should be granted are persuasive.

  • Dealing with any issues that may arise from the prosecutor or the magistrate.

 

Mitigating Risks

Applying for a work licence or special hardship licence involves legal risks. Any mistakes or omissions can lead to your application being denied, which could severely impact your ability to work and maintain financial stability. An experienced lawyer can identify potential pitfalls and address them proactively, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

 

But I heard that…

 

Magistrates just give out special hardships or works licences

This is utterly incorrect, magistrates have to follow the law and if the application is not right or doesn’t have all the information that is necessary they cannot grant it.

 

Having a lawyer makes you look more guilty

Having a lawyer makes you look smart, it shows the court you are taking this application seriously.

 

Magistrates don’t like lawyers appearing for licence applications

Magistrates love lawyer appearing on applications as they know they should have everything correct so the application can proceed faster and easier.

 

Lawyers cost too much

The price for refusal of a licence application will cost people 10 times more than paying a lawyer to do the application correctly and sort out any problems.  Imagine not being able to drive for work for 6 months, you will wish you had hired a lawyer from the start.

 

 

Why Choose Clarity Law?

At Clarity Law, we understand the stress and uncertainty that come with facing traffic charges and the possibility of losing your licence. With over 60 years of combined experience and a track record of appearing in more than 1,000 licence applications, our team is well-equipped to guide you through the application process. Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Specialised Knowledge: Our lawyers specialise in traffic law and have extensive experience handling work licence and special hardship licence applications.

  • Personalised Service: We provide tailored advice and representation, taking into account your unique circumstances and legal needs.

  • Fixed Costs: Our costs are fixed so you can know exactly what it will costs for us to represent you.

  • Reasonable Costs: We charge $2,200 for everything which is the best piece of mind possible.

  • Reputation: Since 2010 we have had the best reputation for success work and hardship licence applications.

  • Proven Success: Our firm has an extremely high success rate in securing licences for clients, ensuring they can continue working and supporting their families.

  • Stress Reduction: We do everything meaning yours and your families stress levels are reduced.

 

 

Conclusion

While it is possible to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence on your own, the stakes are high and the process is complex. Engaging a lawyer can significantly improve your chances of a successful application, providing peace of mind and allowing you to focus on your work and personal life.

If you’re considering applying for a work licence or special hardship licence in Queensland, don’t leave it to chance. Contact Clarity Law today for expert legal advice and representation.

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s 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 drink driving 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them and they know the Caboolture courts and the magistrates and prosecutors.

 

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

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

 

  • Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

 

 

  • Click here to select a time for us to call you back

 

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 17:26

Special Hardship Licences for Tradies

In the bustling world of trades, mobility is not just a convenience; it's a necessity. Tradespeople rely on their ability to travel from site to site, carry essential tools and sometimes even transport team members. However, facing a licence suspension can bring this vital mobility to a grinding halt, potentially jeopardizing livelihoods and ongoing projects. This is where the special hardship licence may become an essential option for Queensland tradies.

 

What is Special Hardship Licence?

A special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence issued when you exceed 2 demerit points on a good driving behaviour period or have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension).  It is also known as a hardship licence, SHO, demerit point licence, good driving behaviour licence or special hardship order.

If you accumulate too many demerit points, Queensland Transport will write to you giving you the choice of a licence suspension (usually 3 months) or a 12 month good behaviour driving period where you have 1 demerit point for 12 months (a notice to choose).  If you choose the suspension or do not reply to this letter, then you have no appeal and cannot get a hardship licence.

If you opt for a good behaviour driving period and lose two or more demerit points during that period, in certain circumstances you can apply to a Magistrates Court for a special hardship order to enable you to drive for particular purposes only.  The grounds for applying are:

  • that losing your licence will result in extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of the means of earning a living; or

  • that losing your licence will cause you or your family severe or unusual hardship

Where you have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension) then once that offence is finalised (generally when the speeding ticket is paid) Queensland Transport will send a letter with a date your licence will be suspended for 6 months and it is at this point you may be apply for a special hardship licence.

 

 

Eligibility Criteria

The path to securing a special hardship licence comes with strict eligibility criteria. Understanding these requirements is the first step towards preparing a strong application:

  • Licence Status: Applicants must hold an open or provisional Queensland driver's licence. Importantly, if your licence has been disqualified by a court or suspended by Queensland Transport (excluding suspensions related to unpaid SPER debts) in the last five years, you may not be eligible.
  • Reason for Suspension: A special hardship licence is available to those who have exceeded the demerit points on a good behaviour period or have been caught driving over 40 km/h above the speed limit. It is not available for court-ordered disqualifications, drink driving offences (where a work licence is required), learners licence holders, or those without a licence.
  • Driving Conditions: If granted, the licence will specify conditions, generally allowing you to drive for work purposes and/or certain defined occasions, such as taking someone to regular medical treatments or driving children to school when no public transport options exist.

 

Applying for a Special Hardship Licence

The application process for a special hardship licence requires careful preparation and an understanding of the legal framework. From gathering the necessary documentation to presenting a compelling case in court, the guidance of experienced traffic law professionals can be invaluable.

The application must have detailed affidavits filed before the court date addressing all the things the court must consider when deciding whether to grant a special hardship licence or not.

Clarity Law Queensland, with its extensive experience in traffic law, offers expert assistance in navigating the complexities of applying for a special hardship licence. Our team is dedicated to helping tradespeople maintain their livelihoods and continue contributing to their communities without interruption.

If you're a tradie facing a licence suspension and believe you meet the eligibility criteria for a special hardship licence, don't hesitate to reach out for professional advice and support. The road ahead might seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you can secure the outcome you need to keep your business moving forward.

 

Key Benefits of Hiring Clarity Law to Represent you

Obtaining a special hardship licence can significantly mitigate the impact of a licence suspension. Here are the key benefits for tradespeople:

  • Increased Success Rate: With the right legal guidance and a compelling application, tradespeople have a strong chance of being granted a special hardship licence. This ensures minimal disruption to their business operations.

  • All Necessary Driving Permissions: A special hardship licence can be tailored to meet the specific needs of tradespeople. This means getting the approval to drive for work purposes during the days and hours necessary to fulfil job obligations.

  • Passenger Carrying Capability: Unlike standard licence restrictions, a special hardship licence can allow the holder to transport passengers. This is particularly beneficial for tradespeople who need to carry team members to various job sites.

Remember you get one change at this, if the application for a  special hardship order is denied you wont be able to drive for 6 moths at least.

 

FAQs about Hardship Licences

What happens if the hardship licence is granted?

  • If your hardship licence is granted, you need to visit Queensland Transport to have your licence re-issued as a special hardship licence. However, unless you are driving for work purposes or returning to work from Queensland Transport, you would need alternative transportation as your licence won't cover the trip between Queensland Transport and your home. During the validity of the hardship licence, you must comply with any court order requirements, such as completing a logbook, and keep a copy of the court order in any vehicle you drive.

What if the court doesn’t grant the hardship licence?

  • If the court decides not to grant a special hardship licence, there's currently no option to appeal this decision. It's crucial to ensure your application is accurate to avoid refusal by the Magistrate. Legal advice might be necessary to stay updated on any changes regarding appeals.

How many demerit points do I have on a hardship licence?

  • On a hardship licence, you have no demerit points. If you accumulate demerit points during this period, you risk losing your driver’s licence for double the initial suspension period.

Can I vary the hardship licence after it is granted?

  • Yes, if your circumstances change, you can apply to the court to vary your current hardship licence order. Refer to our article on varying a special hardship order for more information.

What happens if I’m caught driving outside the terms of the hardship licence?

  • Driving outside the terms of the hardship licence results in its cancellation, along with an additional three-month disqualification period. You may also face fines and be required to appear in court.

What happens when the hardship licence ends?

  • At the end of the special hardship order (SHO) period, you can return to Queensland Transport to have your licence reissued without the 'X3' condition code at no charge. Regarding demerit points incurred before the SHO and still on your record, it's advised to clarify with Queensland Transport upon reissuance of your licence. Note that demerit points from high-speed offences remain for three years.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  The money goes into a trust account and cannot be taken by us until the matter is completed.

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure that although we are not the cheapest our prices, given our experience, is very competitive

We charge $2,200 for drafting the affidavits and appearing in Court to argue the special hardship licence should be granted.

 

Which areas do you service

We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, in Strathpine, Loganholme, Ipswich and Hervey Bay but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office.  We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.

Most of the information we require you can complete with an online form from your phone or tablet.

You will also have the direct email address and mobile phone number of your lawyer so you can ask any question you may have.  We believe in given client the very best experience possible and that starts with great communication and fast responses to your queries.  Our client services manager Belinda is also just a phone call or email away to answer any questions you have.

We cover the following court in Queensland.

 

Brisbane

Beenleigh            Brisbane              Cleveland           

Holland Park       Pine Rivers          Richlands            

Sandgate             Wynnum

 

Sunshine Coast

Caboolture         Caloundra           Gympie

Maroochydore   Nambour             Noosa

Toogoolawah

 

Gold Coast

Beaudesert        Coolangatta        Southport

 

Darling Downs

Gatton   Toowoomba   Ipswich   Dalby   Kingaroy

 

Fraser Coast

Maryborough    Hervey Bay  Bundaberg

 

 

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

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken over 1,000 successful special hardship licence applications throughout 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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

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 special hardships. You will not be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, failing to get a special hardship licence or one that is too restrictive will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.

  

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Tuesday, 07 May 2024 17:05

Tickets for drink driving?

A new bill introduced into Queensland Parliament would allow the police to issue penalty infringement notices (tickets) to people found low range drink driving.  The ticket carries with it two options, accept a mandatory 2 month disqualification or elect to go to court.

 

What the proposed law says

Currently if a driver is caught low range drink driving they are issued a notice to appear in court.    Low range drink driving is a reading between .05 and .099.

The court can currently disqualify a persons licence for between 1 and 9 months for a first offence and impose a fine plus a court levy will apply.

The Queensland Community Safety Bill 2024 proposes that the police instead of issuing a notice to appear in court will issue a ticket that carries a mandatory 2 month disqualification along with a fine set at 7.5 penalty units (currently $1,161).  If the driver accepts that ticket they will lose their licence for 2 months but not have to go to court.  The law calls this an Administrative Disqualification.

If the driver does not accept the ticket they can elect to go to court but in court the minimum disqualification period a court can impose will be increased to 2 months (the same as the ticket) and can be up to 9 months.

The driver would have 28 days after being served the ticket to decide what they want to do.

 

Why is the Queensland Government doing this?

In the explanatory note to the bill the Government says it is doing this to free up time and resources for the police and the courts.

 

What it means in practice

It is expected that unless the driver is seeking a work licence the overwhelming majority of people issued with a ticket for drink driving will accept the ticket, take the 2 month disqualification and not go to court.

 

Who can’t elect to accept a ticket for drink driving

The following people cannot be issued with a ticket for drink driving.

  • Open licence holders who have a previous drink driving offence in the past 5 years

  • Unlicensed drivers

  • P Platers or learner drivers

  • People driving heavy vehicles, taxis or other prescribed vehicles where the alcohol limit is zero.

 

How do I elect to take the ticket?

This isn’t entirely clear.  It could be through an online election or by not making an election to go to court within 28 days.

 

How do I elect to not accept the ticket

Details would be attached to the ticket.  It is anticipated that it would be through an online or written election.

 

When would the disqualification start?

The disqualification starts 28 days after the ticket is issued by the police.

 

Should I choose to take a ticket?

You would need to take legal advice for your personal circumstances.  If you don’t intend to or can’t apply for a work licence or don’t care if a conviction is recorded then taking the ticket might very well end up the best decision for most people as it avoids court and guarantees the minimum disqualification period will be applied.

 

When should I choose not to take a ticket?

If you choose to accept the ticket you will be disqualified for 2 months.  If you need to drive to get to work or for work this could be devastating.

If you need a licence to maintain your employment or earn an income you should look at electing court and applying for a work licence.

If you accept the ticket you CANNOT later apply for a work licence.

See our article on work licences for more information.

 

Will a conviction for drink driving be recorded?

The law states that a court can decide not to record a conviction for a drink driving charge if it would impact a person’s economic or social wellbeing or chances of finding employment.

Given if a person accepts the ticket then no court will be involved and therefore the conviction would be recorded.  This recording may affect a person’s;

  1. Ability to travel

  2. Ability to get work

 

Is giving tickets for drink driving a good idea?

The government has stressed that drink and drug driving is a major contributor to the road toll.  The road toll is increasing again so it is hard to understand how giving tickets for low range drink driving will help reduce the amount of people drinking driving but it certainly could free up more police or court time and certainly the government is under pressure to divert more police resources to domestic violence and youth crime

In our opinion the following factors confuse us in how this proposal will reduce the road toll;

  • Going to court forces a person to confront their actions and understand the seriousness of drink driving. Paying a ticket and accepting a disqualification just does not have the same impact.

  • The is a big difference when it comes to road safety between someone who is .051 and .099 and yet all low range drink drivers no matter the reading will get the same penalty

  • These proposed laws do not apply to drug drivers

 

Will the proposals become law?

The bill is currently before the Parliament.  Public submissions are currently open. 

You can make a submission in regards to the law by clicking here.

The key dates are as follows;

Submissions close:

Thursday 16 May 2024 at 10.00am

Public hearing:

Friday 24 May 2024

Report due date:

Friday 14 June 2024

 

Key points

  • The proposed law would allow the police to issue a ticket for low range drink driving charges

  • The disqualification period would be set at 2 months with a fine of 7.5 penalty units (currently $1.161)

  • The driver could elect to go to court but this is likely to be limited to those seeking a work licence or who need to try and have no conviction recorded.

  • A person must elect to take the ticket or go to court within 28 days (or it they don’t elect they are taken to want to start the 2 month disqualification and avoid court.

  • P Platers and people who have had a drink driving charge in the last 5 years must go to court

  • A conviction would be recorded if someone accepts the ticket

 

Facing a drink driving charge in Caboolture can be a daunting experience, but having the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. With numerous lawyers offering their services, finding the best one for your situation requires careful consideration and research. Here are some essential steps to help you find the right lawyer to defend you against a drink driving charge:

  1. Expertise: Look for a lawyer or law firm with expertise in handling drink driving cases specifically. While general practitioners may offer legal services, a lawyer with specialized knowledge and experience in traffic and DUI laws is better equipped to navigate the complexities of your case.

  2. Experience: Evaluate the experience of potential lawyers by considering factors such as the number of years they have been practicing, their success rate in handling drink driving cases, and their familiarity with Queensland's legal system. An experienced lawyer will know the nuances of the law and how to build a strong strategy to get the best result on your behalf.  Check out their blog and see how many articles they have written about drink driving and traffic law.

  3. Reputation: Research the reputation of the lawyer or law firm you are considering. Look for online reviews, testimonials from previous clients, and any disciplinary actions or awards they may have received. A good reputation often reflects a lawyer's professionalism, integrity, and competence.

  4. Initial Consultation: Take advantage of free initial consultations offered by many lawyers to discuss your case and assess whether they are the right fit for you. Use this opportunity to ask questions about their experience, strategy, and fees, and pay attention to how comfortable you feel communicating with them.

  5. Communication and Support: Choose a lawyer who communicates clearly and keeps you informed throughout the legal process. You should feel supported and confident that your lawyer is working diligently on your behalf.

  6. Cost: Consider the cost of legal representation and ensure that it aligns with your budget. While affordability is important, prioritize the quality and experience of the lawyer over the price alone. Remember that investing in a skilled lawyer can ultimately save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

  7. Track Record: Inquire about the lawyer's track record in achieving favourable outcomes for clients facing drink driving charges in Caboolture. A proven track record of success demonstrates the lawyer's ability to effectively advocate for their clients and negotiate with prosecutors.

 

Why Choose Clarity Law?

At Clarity Law, we understand the serious consequences that a drink driving charge can have on your life, including potential fines, license disqualifications and more. With our team of experienced lawyers dedicated to traffic and DUI matters, we have successfully represented numerous clients throughout Queensland, achieving favourable outcomes and helping them navigate the legal process with confidence.

Our expertise in drink driving cases, combined with our in-depth knowledge of Queensland's traffic laws and legal procedures, allows us to provide personalised and effective representation tailored to your unique circumstances. We prioritize communication, transparency, and client satisfaction, ensuring that you are fully informed and supported every step of the way.

Check out our blog with over 115 articles all about traffic laws in Queensland and our Guide to Drink Driving charges in Queensland in 2024.

With Clarity Law on your side, you can trust that your case will be handled with the utmost professionalism and diligence, with the goal of minimizing the impact of a drink driving charge on your life and future. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. 

We are upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other Caboolture DUI lawyer can match our prices and experience. While we will never be the cheapest we do offer the best value in our opinion.

Our prices include;

  • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty

  • Contacting the prosecution unit to obtain your traffic history, charge documents and a copy of the prosecutor court brief (QP9) so we know what the prosecutor will tell the court occurred

  • drafting submissions for the court

  • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)

  • all telephone calls, emails and meetings with you

  • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards

  • appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge

We know there are a lot of DUi lawyers Caboolture so we will work hard to prove we are your best option.

 

Click here to see what we charge or see below for our current prices for a first time drink driving offence.

Work Licence (includes price of guilty plea)             $2,200

Drink Driving - Low range                                              $1,499

Drink Driving - Mid range                                              $1,599

Drink Driving - High range                                             $1,699

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s 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 drink driving 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them and they know the Caboolture courts and the magistrates and prosecutors.

 

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

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

 

  • Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

 

 

  • Click here to select a time for us to call you back

 

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Ensuring that your driver's license is valid and in good standing is an integral part of being a responsible driver. Oftentimes, we might lose track of the validation status, especially when it comes to renewals, endorsements, or demerit points. For Queensland residents, knowing how to stay on top of the status of your driver's license is a crucial step in maintaining your road legality and a clear driving record. Here is an all-inclusive guide to checking your driver's license status in Queensland, and how to interpret different facets of that status.

 

Understanding the Importance of License Status

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's easy to overlook the administrative tasks associated with maintaining a driver's license. However, having an awareness of your license status is not only a legal requirement but also offers assurance that you're conforming to the state's driving laws and can continue operating a motor vehicle without the risk of legal repercussions. Particularly in professions that require a clean driving history, continually monitoring your license status becomes even more essential.

 

The Basics of Queensland's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) System

Queensland operates under the GDL system, a progressive approach to licensing that sees new drivers through three stages before they're granted with a full, open license. The GDL helps each driver build their skills and experience progressively, with restrictions and conditions continuing to change as you move through the stages. It's critical for Queensland's drivers to understand which stage they're in and the requirements to progress and maintain their license status.

 

Checking Your Driver's Licence Status Online

The Queensland Government provides a secure online service that allows drivers to check the status of their licenses conveniently. By visiting the government's designated website and entering the required personal details such as your driver's license number, you can access a wealth of information about your license, including its current status, expiry date, and any demerit points accrued, if applicable.

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Checking Your Driver's Licence Status

  1. Navigate to the Service's Online Platform: Start by visiting Queensland's official website for road regulations and services.

  2. Enter Personal Information: You'll need your driver's license number, licence holders name and date of birth to proceed. Be sure to have these ready to enter.

  3. Access Your Licence Status: Once submitted, you should be able to access a summary of your driver's license status, including any restrictions or conditions that may be applied.

 

Alternatively you can visit any Department of Transport and Main Roads office in person or call  the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80.

By regularly performing this check, you can ensure your licence information is updated and accurately reflects your circumstances.

 

Interpreting Your Driver's Licence Status

Understanding what each element of your driver's license status means is just as important as the check itself. For initial drivers, special conditions might apply such as displaying 'P' plates and not being allowed to tow a trailer with more than 750kg of load capacity. Demerit points also play a significant role — they can be applied for various driving offences and can lead to the suspension of your license if you accumulate too many.

 

A Detailed Analysis of Each Component

  • License Expiry Date: Knowing your license's expiration is paramount — driving with an expired license is against the law, regardless of how short it has been expired.
  • Class of License: This describes the types of vehicles you're allowed to drive. Ensuring it is correct means no trouble with authorities in case you get pulled over.
  • Endorsements and Conditions: Any additional endorsements or license conditions should be carefully observed. These can include a requirement to use specific vehicle modifications or even restricted driving hours.
  • Demerit Points: Regular checks will alert you to the accumulation of demerit points and the consequent need to drive more cautiously to avoid a suspension or loss of your license.

By understanding and monitoring these facets, you're better equipped to drive within Queensland's legal boundaries at all times.

 

Addressing Common Concerns and Problems

What if you've lost your driver's license and don't remember the number? Or what if the information displayed is incorrect? These are common roadblocks, but they have simple solutions. Taking immediate action to retrieve your license number or correct any inaccuracies in the system will keep you legally protected and compliant with Queensland's laws.

Step-by-Step Solutions to Common Issues

  • Inaccurate Information: Should you find any errors in your online license status, communicating directly with the respective authorities is key. Having documented evidence to support your claim can expedite the resolution process.

 

Why Regular Checks Are Essential

Frequent changes to Queensland's road regulations could lead to modifications in license statuses, without you even being aware. Regular checks ensure that you're always in the loop, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to adhere to the current laws. It's also an excellent opportunity to verify that your personal details, such as your address, are up to date—another vital legal requirement for all drivers.

 

Conclusion

Keeping track of your driver's license status is a proactive and necessary aspect of maintaining your legal driving privileges in Queensland. Familiarising yourself with the GDL system, knowing how to check, and understanding what the status means for you are fundamental steps towards being a fully informed and responsible driver. By diligently following the guidance presented in this guide, Queensland residents can confidently take control of their driver's license status, ensuring compliance, safety, and ongoing driving privilege. Remember that safe driving is not just about following the law; it's a commitment to protecting yourself and others on the road. Happy and responsible driving!

Monday, 26 February 2024 18:10

Limited Licence in Queensland

People often call us seeking a limited licence.  So what exactly is a limited licence, when would it apply and how would I go about getting a limited drivers licence?

 

What is a limited drivers licence?

Well actually there is no such thing as a limited licence.  The term is not used in the law in Queensland and also not used in the courts.

When people are talking about a limited licence it is an overall term for two different types of restricted licenses namely

  1. Work Licence
  2. Special hardship licence

Lets look at them both in more detail

 

Work Licence

In Queensland, drivers convicted of specific offences such as low or mid-range drink driving or certain drug driving charges may be eligible to apply for a work licence. A work serves as a provisional permit allowing individuals to continue driving under specific circumstances for work purposes.

The Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for a work licence, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  1. Hold a current Queensland open driver's license.

  2. Have a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15% at the time of the offence.

  3. Not be driving for your job at the time of the offence.

  4. Not have been under a licence requiring zero blood alcohol level at the time of the offence.

 

Application Procedure

The application procedure for a works licence includes:

  1. Providing an affidavit detailing personal circumstances, work details, hours of work, inability to use public transport or taxis, financial circumstances, implications on income or employment, and details of the drink driving charge.

  2. If employed, your employer must furnish an affidavit corroborating the necessity of a work licence, accentuating the impact on the means of earning your income.

  3. Collection of an application form for obtaining a work licence from the court registry.

  4. Ensure both you and your employer sign the affidavits in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, Solicitor or Commissioner of declarations.

  5. Submit the original signed affidavits with two photocopies at the court registry and a copy to the Police Prosecutions unit.

 

Licence Conditions

It's important to be aware that the court can impose conditions on your work licence. These conditions may include restrictions on the days and hours you can drive, a limitation on the number of passengers you can carry, requiring a log book, and even stipulating that you wear a work uniform while driving.

Once your application is successful, you will have four demerit points available and a zero alcohol limit for one year after being granted a work licence.

 

 

Special Hardship Licence

A Special Hardship Licence is an order given by the court that allows you to drive under certain circumstances, even though your driver's licence has been suspended. It offers a lifeline for those faced with extreme hardship, promising to ease challenges whilst remaining within the borders of the law.

 

Who can apply?

The only circumstances in which you can apply for a special hardship licence is when either;

 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, you need to hold a current Queensland open or provisional driver's licence not have had your licence suspended or disqualified in the last 5 years.

 

The Application Process

Applying for a Special Hardship Licence is no walk in the park. It involves filing an affidavit, attending court, and serving documents on Queensland Transport.

 

Court Process

The court will evaluate whether you are a 'fit and proper person' and if the denial of the licence would cause extreme hardship. If the court deems the hardship as severe, restrictions may be imposed on the licence, such as limiting driving hours or carrying passengers.

If the court fails to grant the Special Hardship Order, your licence suspension will continue for the remainder duration.

After successful acquisition of a special hardship licence, it's essential to visit Queensland Transport to have your licence reissued and adhere to all court order requirements. If the terms of the licence need to be varied, you can apply to change the restrictions.

 

Conclusion

When people talk about a limited licence they are in fact referring to either a work licence or a special hardship licence. 

Works licenses are for certain drug and drink driving charges.

Special hardship licenses are for people who have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h or incurred 2 or more demerit points on a good driving behavior period.

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

Thursday, 22 February 2024 16:14

2024 Queensland Drink Driving Guide

At Clarity Law, we have since 2010 given a commitment to our clients of providing clarity in the middle of a stressful time along with fighting for the very best outcome for their drink driving charge.

 

Introduction to Drink Driving in Queensland in 2024

In this comprehensive guide to drink driving in Queensland in 2024, we delve into Queensland's drink driving laws, exploring the legal framework, penalties, and potential consequences individuals may face when charged with a drink driving offence. From understanding blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits to outlining legal defences and avenues for seeking legal representation, our aim is to empower Queenslanders charged with drink driving with all the information needed to make informed decisions on how to deal with a charge of drink driving in 2024.

Facing charges for driving under the influence or drink driving can be an immensely stressful experience. It's natural to feel unsure and apprehensive about the next steps to take.

In Queensland, the mandatory penalties for drink driving will result in the loss of your driver's licence, substantial fines, and repercussions that may impact your present employment, future career prospects, and freedom to travel.

However, by enlisting the support of our seasoned traffic lawyers, you can significantly enhance your chances of mitigating the charges. 

Drink Driving Terms

In Queensland, there are several terms used in relation to drink driving laws. Here's a summary of what they mean:

Drink Drive: This is the general term for driving with alcohol that exceeds the mandated levels for that driver. It encompasses all scenarios where your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the legal limit for your licence type.

 

Low Range: This refers to a BAC between 0.05% and 0.099%.

 

Mid Range: This refers to a BAC between 0.10% and 0.149%.

 

High Range: This refers to a BAC of 0.15% or more. This is considered a serious offence and carries the most severe penalties.

 

DUI: DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence".  In Queensland, this term is not often used officially in legal documents. It is more commonly used as a general term for high range drink driving.

 

UIL: UIL stands for " Driving under the influence of a liquor." UIL is a term used in the legislation in Queensland and means high range drink driving.

 

PCA: PCA stands for "Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol." This refers to the specific BAC levels that define the different drink driving offence categories (low, mid, high range).  The term PCA is not used in Queensland either in the law or in the courts.

 

 

Drink Driving Limits

In 1967, the legal limit for alcohol in your blood (BAC) was a bit higher – 0.08%. That obviously meant you could drink more before getting behind the wheel.

Over the years as new research occurred the rules changed. The general BAC limit dropped to 0.05%, and made famous by race car driver Peter Brock using it as his racing number to bring awareness to the new limit.

Today in Queensland here's how things stand:

  • Most open licence drivers: You can have a BAC of 0.05% before it's illegal. 

  • Young drivers (learner, provisional, probationary): No alcohol for you! These drivers need to have a BAC of 0.00%

  • Professional drivers (taxi drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers): They have the biggest responsibility, so they have to be totally sober – a BAC of 0.00%

Learn more with our article on Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits in Queensland

 

How Alcohol is Processed in the Body

Alcohol metabolism is the body's way of breaking down ethanol found in alcohol. The liver produces an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, which converts alcohol into ketones. While detoxification cannot be accelerated, the efficient metabolism of alcohol may be hindered by sleep.

Since ethanol easily dissolves in water, it enters the bloodstream, affecting organs like the liver and brain. Once in the bloodstream, alcohol is broken down by alcohol dehydrogenase through sweat, urine, and breath. Drinking water or sleeping won't expedite this process. Stimulants like coffee or energy drinks won't sober you up faster; they merely mask alcohol's effects.

During sleep, oxygen levels in the blood decrease, leading to a theorized reduction in ethanol metabolism. Additional factors affecting alcohol metabolism during sleep include slower gastric emptying, as alcohol delays stomach emptying, and a lower metabolic rate, as the body's metabolism slows down during sleep. However, it's crucial to recognize that even during sleep, the liver and other bodily functions continue processing and eliminating alcohol, influenced by factors such as alcohol quantity, body weight, metabolism, and individual differences.

How fast do I sober up?

Alcohol leaves the body at an average rate of 0.015 g/100mL/hour, which is the same as reducing your BAC level by 0.015 per hour.

Factors that affect the absorption rate include sex, body size and food intake therefore the .015 level is just a very general guide.

Example: At an average rate of -0.015/hr, how long would it take someone with a BAC of 0.20 to sober up?

Time

Activity

BAC Level

2:00 a.m.

In bed. dizzy and disoriented

.200

3:00 a.m.

Nauseous, unable to sleep

.185

4:00 a.m.

Very restless

.170

5:00 a.m.

Sleeping, but not well

.155

6:00 a.m.

Sleep

.140

7:00 a.m.

Get up with a headache

.125

8:00 a.m.

Drive home, risk DUI or worse

.110

9:00 a.m.

At home but, trouble focusing

.095

10:00 a.m.

Judgment still impaired

.080

11:00 a.m.

Mind still foggy, fatigued

.065

12:00 p.m.

Not hungry, cottonmouth

.050

1:00 p.m.

In afternoon, still unfocused

.035

2:00 p.m.

Head clearing

.020

3:00 p.m.

Feeling a little better

.005

4:00 p.m.

Sober at last, but not fully recovered

.000

According to the Bowling Green State University

Learn more with our article on Why are more people being arrested for drink driving in the morning?

How much can I drink before driving?

The Queensland Government still has a recommendation of the following to remain under the limit:

  • for men: no more than 2 standard drinks in the first hour, and no more than 1 every hour after that

  • for women: no more than 1 standard drink in the first hour, and no more than 1 every hour after that.

We believe this recommendation should not be followed.  The common belief that a rule of two standard drinks in the first hour and one every hour after for men (and one for women) is often inaccurate. It's a guideline, not a reliable defence. Your BAC rises as soon as you start drinking, taking 30-60 minutes after you stop for it to peak.

Factors influencing your BAC reading include:

  1. The actual amount of alcohol you consume. Many pre-bottled drinks and glasses may exceed one standard drink

  2. Time since your last drink

  3. Lack of food

  4. Your body size and alcohol consumption frequency matter

  5. Your health, including liver condition, sickness, or stress, can impact BAC

  6. Medication may affect alcohol processing, though it's not a court defence

Contrary to popular belief, water, coffee, or food won't lower your alcohol level – only time can do that.

We have had far too many clients over the years who have followed the guidelines and still ended up with a drink driving charge.

Learn more with our article on Why the rule of thumb should not be relied on

I can’t believe I was over the limit!

It's common for clients, especially first-time drink drivers, to be surprised by their alcohol reading. In our experience, the BAC reading is often due to:

  1. Stress levels

  2. Not eating enough

  3. Consuming stronger, non-pre-mixed drinks

  4. Losing count of the number of drinks consumed

  5. Miscalculating the time it takes for alcohol levels to decrease after stopping

  6. Body type and amount of body fat

  7. Rapid drinking

  8. Any medication you are taking

  9. Not sleeping for long enough

 

 

Types of Drink Driving Charges in Queensland

In Queensland in 2024 there are 4 types of drink driving charges, namely low range , mid range and high range drink driving and zero alcohol limit.

Lets look at each drink driving charge in turn.

Low Range Drink Driving

In Queensland, low-range drink driving refers to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.05% and 0.099%.

Here are some key points about low-range drink driving in Queensland:

  • Penalties: The maximum penalties for a first offence include:

    • Licence suspension: Up to 9 months

    • Fines up to $2,167

  • Immediate suspension: Your licence will be immediately suspended for 24 hours if caught with a BAC under 0.10%.

  • Further consequences: A conviction can lead to increased insurance premiums, difficulty finding employment, and other negative impacts.

 

Mid Range Drink Driving

Mid-range drink driving is a more serious offence than low-range and refers to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.10% and 0.149%. The courts consider this level of alcohol significantly impairs driving ability and poses a higher risk of accidents.

Here's what you need to know about mid-range drink driving in Queensland:

Penalties: The maximum penalties for a first offence are:

  • Licence disqualification: Between 3 and 12 months (mandatory disqualification period).

  • Fines up to $3,096.

  • Imprisonment: Up to 3 months (rarely imposed)

 

Additional impacts:

  • Immediate suspension: Your licence will be suspended until your court date

  • You will need to install an interlock when your disqualification period ends

 

High Range Drink Driving Charge

Blowing over 0.15 BAC in Queensland in 2024? You've crossed a critical line with significant legal and personal ramifications. Understanding the high range drink driving penalties is crucial:

Minimum Consequences:

  • 6-month licence suspension: No work licences permitted.

  • Substantial fine: Varies based on circumstances.

 

Potential Additional Penalties:

  • Imprisonment: Possible if there's a crash, injury, or prior offences.

  • Probation or community service: For particularly high readings or repeat offenders.

 

Additional Considerations:

  • Refusal is equivalent to guilt: Refusing a breathalyser carries the same penalty as a high range conviction.

  • Mandatory Alcohol Ignition Interlock: For a minimum of 1 year, starting your car requires blowing into this device. Non-compliance extends your suspension by 2 years.

  • The police don’t have to have a blood or breath test to charge you with high range drink driving (driving under the influence).  The police can charge you if you display indicia that to them shows  you are under the influence of alcohol.  These signs are things such as;

    • The manner of driving

    • A person physical condition and appearance

    • Behaviour and attitude

    • A person’s eyes and breathing

    • Speech

    • Coordination

    • Memory

    • Health

    • Conduct at watch house or with police

Zero Alcohol limit

In Queensland, the following individuals are subject to a zero alcohol limit:

  • Learner drivers (L-Platers)

  • Provisional drivers (P-Platers)

  • Drivers operating heavy vehicles

  • Drivers under 25 years old holding a probationary or provisional licence for any class of vehicle

  • People driving under a work licence

  • People who have been convicted of a traffic offence in court in the last year.

 

Refusing a breath or blood test

Failing to provide a breath or saliva specimen in Queensland constitutes an offence with two distinct types. One type occurs outside police stations or booze buses, often during roadside RBTs, while the other occurs specifically at police stations or booze buses.

For the roadside offence fines are likely.

Failing to provide a specimen at a police station or booze bus is treated akin to high-range drink-driving, with fines over $3,500, potential imprisonment up to 9 months, and a minimum 6-month driving disqualification for first-time offenders.

Eligible individuals charged with the roadside offence may obtain work licences, whereas no such option exists for the police station or booze bus offence.

The term "fail" encompasses more than just refusal, including insufficient or improper sample provision. For instance, ceasing to provide a breath sample prematurely or inhaling instead of exhaling into a breathalyzer could constitute a "failure."

Police possess the authority to demand breath, saliva, or blood samples if they reasonably suspect a person drove or was in control of a vehicle up to 3 hours prior. This authority extends to situations involving traffic accidents causing injury, death, or property damage.

Once requested, individuals may be taken to a police station or another suitable facility, even forcibly if necessary, for sample collection. Multiple samples may be required if deemed reasonably necessary.

Defences against such charges include proving incapacity due to illness at the time of the request, substantiated by a medical certificate. Alternatively, one can argue that the request was unlawful or that there was a valid reason, other than evading the test results, for not providing a sample.

Learn more with our article on Refusing a Breathalyser Test in Queensland

 

In charge of a motor vehicle

The concept of being found guilty of drink driving extends beyond scenarios where one is caught by the police while driving over the limit. Another circumstance involves being found guilty of drink driving despite not actively driving at the time, known as the offence of being in charge of a motor vehicle.

 

The Law:

According to the law, a person can face charges for drink driving if they are over the limit and:

  • Drive a motor vehicle; or

  • Attempt to set a motor vehicle in motion; or

  • Are in charge of a motor vehicle.

 

Understanding "In Charge":

The law does not precisely define what constitutes being "in charge." Instead, it relies on common sense to determine whether the individual could reasonably be considered in control of the vehicle. Common dictionary definitions include:

  • Having control or responsibility for something.

  • Holding a position of leadership or supervision.

For instance, if someone owns a car and is making a call outside of it, they could be deemed in charge. If an emergency arose requiring the car to be moved, it's likely that the car owner or the person who drove it there would take responsibility for moving it, indicating they are in charge.

 

Defences to a in charge offence:

Section 79(6) outlines a defence against being charged with drink driving while in charge of a vehicle. To succeed with this defence, a person must:

  • Not be seated in the driver’s seat or inside the vehicle.

  • Demonstrate an intention to refrain from driving the motor vehicle.

  • Not be too intoxicated to understand or form the intention of refraining from driving.

  • Park the motor vehicle in a way that doesn't pose a danger to others.

  • Have not been convicted of a drink driving offence in the past 12 months.

 

Case Examples:

  1. Eggmolesse v Bruce: The Court of Appeal ruled that a mechanic, despite being intoxicated, had not intended to drive when he turned the engine on to test it after repairing his sister's car.

  2. Queensland Police Service v Murray: Mr. Murray was found asleep in his car with the engine running while intoxicated. He had set the front seat back to sleep and was lying partially in front of car and partly in the back.  The court analysed whether he could rely on the defence provided by section 79(6) and ultimately found him not guilty.

  3. Foster v Dahl: Shirley Foster was convicted of being in charge of a vehicle while intoxicated. Despite claiming she had no intention to drive, the court found against her, emphasizing her continued control over the vehicle.

  4. Brooks v Spasovski: Although intoxicated, the defendant did not intend to drive but was found guilty because he was in a position to do so without needing to take control of the vehicle from someone else.

 

Conclusion:

The term "in charge" is not precisely defined, and each case hinges on its unique circumstances. Despite complexities, a defence is available, but individuals must meet specific criteria, including demonstrating an intention to refrain from driving.

Learn more with our article on Can you be charged with drink driving when you did not actually drive?

Supervising a learner driver

In Queensland, the responsibility of supervising a learner driver is taken seriously, and this includes adhering to laws regarding alcohol consumption. It is illegal for a person who is supervising a learner driver to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs beyond the legal limit for driving.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when supervising a learner driver in Queensland is typically the same as for driving a car, which is usually 0.05% BAC. However, some situations may require a zero alcohol limit, especially if a heavy vehicle is involved.

Law enforcement authorities have the power to conduct random breath tests (RBTs) on supervisors of learner drivers, just as they do for regular drivers. If a supervisor is found to be over the legal alcohol limit while supervising a learner driver, they can face penalties similar to those for drink driving, including fines and licence disqualification.

The Queensland governments reasons for the law is that supervising a learner driver requires full attention and the ability to react quickly to any potential hazards on the road. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time, which can significantly compromise the safety of the learner driver, the supervisor, and other road users.

Learn more with our article on Drink Driving While Supervising Learner Driver

 

Where can you Commit Drink Driving?

Its not just roads where you can be arrested for drink driving in Queensland in 2024.

Drink driving on private property

There's a lot of confusion about whether you can get a drink driving charge in Queensland if you're not on a public road. Maybe you've heard you can't be breathalysed in your driveway, or that it's okay to have a few drinks and then park in your garage.

The truth is, the law in Queensland is pretty clear: you can be charged with drink driving anywhere, even on private property like your driveway or a car park.

Here's how it works:

  • The police need to prove three things to get a conviction:
    • You had alcohol in your system.

    • You were driving or in charge of the vehicle.

    • The offence happened somewhere (including your driveway!).

The law says drink driving can happen "on or upon a road or elsewhere."  The key word is "elsewhere."  That means anywhere that's not a road (drink driving on the road is still illegal obviously), like your driveway or a shopping centre car park.

There was even a court case about this:

  • A driver named Jovanovic was driving home and pulled into his driveway.

  • The police saw him and asked him to take a breath test.

  • Jovanovic refused, saying, "I'm in my driveway, you can't get me!"

  • He was ultimately charged with refusing a breath test, which is the same as a high-range drink driving offence in Queensland.

  • The judge said that Jovanovic could be charged even though he was on private property.

 

So, the bottom line is:

  • Even if you're parked in your driveway, you can still be charged with drink driving.

  • The same goes for private car parks, shopping centres, and anywhere else.

 

Electric scooter

The proliferation of electric rideables on Queensland roads in 2024 has introduced a new dimension to traffic enforcement, with an increasing number of individuals facing court appearances for drink-driving offences while operating these devices. While electric scooters are permitted for use in Queensland under strict regulations, including age restrictions, helmet requirements, and prohibitions on mobile phone use and carrying passengers, the most crucial rule is the prohibition against operating them while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

Despite the absence of a specific offence for drink-driving on electric scooters, Queensland's traffic legislation broadly encompasses any vehicle propelled by non-motorized means, including electric scooters, under its definition of "vehicle." The offence extends to both driving and being "in charge" of such devices, with the latter term interpreted broadly to encompass any ability to control the vehicle without necessarily having physical possession of it. Conviction for this offence carries significant penalties, including fines of up to $5,222.

 

The question of licence disqualification adds complexity to these cases. While the legislation does not mandate a mandatory disqualification period for this offence, the court retains the discretion to impose licence disqualification for offences involving interference with the operation of a motor vehicle. However, defining electric scooters as "motor vehicles" for the purpose of disqualification is contentious, as the legislation explicitly excludes them from this category. The court's decision to impose licence disqualification hinges on whether the offence constitutes an abuse of the privilege of driving, a determination that may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

 

As electric scooters become a commonplace mode of urban transportation, the legal landscape surrounding offences committed on these devices is likely to evolve.

Boat

In Queensland, the laws regarding drink driving also extend to operating a boat, jet ski, or any other marine vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This offence is commonly referred to as "drink driving on a boat" or "boating under the influence (BUI)." The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when operating a vessel is generally the same as for driving a car, typically 0.05% BAC for recreational boaters and 0.00% for commercial vessel operators, skippers under 18 years old, and those supervising learners.

The Queensland Police Service has the authority to conduct random breath tests (RBTs) on watercraft operators, similar to roadside RBTs for drivers. They can stop and board vessels to ensure compliance with boating safety regulations, including alcohol and drug laws.

Penalties for drink driving on a boat in Queensland can include fines, loss of boating privileges, imprisonment, and disqualification from operating a vessel. The severity of the penalty may depend on factors such as the level of intoxication, any previous offences, and whether the incident resulted in accidents, injuries, or fatalities.

 

Drink Driving Arrest Process

Facing an arrest for drink or drug driving can be incredibly distressing, leaving you feeling overwhelmed. Knowing the necessary steps to safeguard your rights and ensure a fair legal process is crucial.

Let's delve into the details and shed light on your next steps. Handling the situation strategically and seeking proper legal guidance is essential. Here are the steps you should consider:

  1. Stay calm and cooperate with authorities: When pulled over and arrested for drink driving, maintaining composure and cooperating with authorities is paramount. Losing your temper or resisting arrest can complicate matters further. Remember, keeping a level head will aid in making sound decisions going forward.

  2. Exercise your right to remain silent: As the police question you about the incident, it's important to assert your right to remain silent. You have the right not to incriminate yourself. Politely inform the officers that you'd like to consult with your lawyer before answering any questions or invoke your right to silence, answering only what's necessary. This simple step can prevent inadvertently saying something that could be used against you later.

  3. Provide necessary information to the police: You'll need to provide your name, address, date of birth, and show your driver's licence if asked by the police.

  4. Provide a sample of breath or blood: Refusing or failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis is an offence. This refusal can lead to severe consequences, including being considered for a high-range drink driving charge (DUI). Police have the authority to request breath, saliva, or blood samples if they reasonably suspect you've driven a vehicle within the last three hours.

 

Will I need to go to court for Drink Driving?

Yes, you will be required to attend the court.

               

What paperwork might the police give you?

Generally the police will give you a notice to appear in court or you will be given bail by them to that date.  If you have other traffic offences that previously went to court then they also might serve on you a notice to allege previous offences.

 

What should I do next?

  1. Seek legal representation: Consulting a reputable traffic law firm who are experts in drink driving cases in Queensland is crucial. Experienced lawyers can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and aim for the best possible outcome.

  2. Understand the consequences: Knowing the potential penalties associated with the charges is essential. Drink driving offences in Queensland carry significant consequences, including fines, licence disqualification, mandatory courses, and even imprisonment in severe cases.

  3. Attend court hearings and comply with requirements: It's vital to attend all court hearings and fulfill any court-set requirements, especially bail conditions. Failure to do so can lead to additional penalties and negatively impact your case.

  4. Consider rehabilitation programs: Voluntarily attending rehabilitation programs can demonstrate your commitment to addressing substance abuse issues, potentially influencing the court's decision.

  5. Complete a traffic course: Complete a traffic offenders program like QTOP

  6. Negotiate with the prosecutor: Based on the evidence and circumstances of your case, your lawyer may negotiate with the prosecution or represent you in court to seek a favourable outcome.

Remember, seeking legal representation is highly advisable for drink driving charges. Experienced lawyers possess extensive knowledge of the legal system and can significantly improve your chances of a favourable outcome. By understanding the consequences, seeking proper guidance, and fulfilling your obligations, you can navigate the legal process effectively.

Learn more with our article on Arrested for Drink or Drug Driving: What Should I Do Next?

 

Immediate Suspension of licence for Drink Driving

Among the paperwork the person is given, will be a form titled a “Notice of Suspension or Disqualification”. This form will have one of two sections filled in depending on the reading of alcohol or level of impairment.  


Queensland's drink driving legislation categorizes offences into three levels:

  • Low Range: Blood alcohol readings between .05 and .099

  • Mid Range: Blood alcohol readings between .1 and .149

  • High Range: Blood alcohol readings above .15

Each level of offence corresponds to different immediate licence suspension periods by the police.

 

Duration of suspension

Low-Range Offences: Individuals facing low-range charges experience a 24-hour prohibition on driving following their arrest.

Impact of Immediate Suspension:

  • For low-range offenders, the 24-hour suspension typically has minimal impact.
  • Mid-range and high-range offenders face significant disruptions to work and personal life due to the inability to drive for an extended period.

 

Mid-Range and High-Range Offences: Those charged with mid-range or high-range drink driving immediately lose their driving privileges until the court imposes a disqualification.

Additionally, failing to provide a breath or blood specimen to the police, or being charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle while under the influence, leads to licence suspension until the court date.

 

Possibility of Suspension Removal

A person challenging a drink driving charge or applying for a work licence can seek an immediate return of their licence through a Section 79E Application to the court. This option is particularly beneficial when the court date for the application is along time in the future.

 

Difference between suspension and disqualification

When a person’s licence has been suspended, that means that their authority to drive a vehicle has been temporarily withdrawn. 

A disqualified licence, in contrast to a suspension is the ‘permanent’ (meaning the licence does not automatically come back at the end of the period of disqualification) withdrawal of a person’s authority to hold or obtain a driver licence. The only way in which a person can be disqualified, is by an order of the court.

 

79E application (emergency licence)

When your licence is suspended life doesn’t stop. There are times when you need to drive during your suspension to make a living.

An Emergency Licence (section 79E licence) lets you drive under specific conditions during your suspension. Think of it as a temporary permit to drive for work until the court deals with your drink driving charge.

 

Who can apply?

You must have;

  • Held a current QLD open licence at the time of the offence.

  • Not disqualified or suspended in QLD in the past 5 years (except SPER suspension that didn't go to court).

But you need to act fast!  You must apply within 21 days of your licence suspension.

 

What do you need?

  • Affidavit from you and your employer (if driving for work).

  • Explain your hardship: how not driving hurts you or your family (financially or otherwise).

  • Fill out the Section 79E Application Form.

 

Important:

  • The matter must go before the court

  • The court decides based on your affidavits and history

  • The court can restrict how you use the licence (times, purposes, vehicles)

 

Remember:

  • This is not a guilty plea its only temporary until the court deals finally  with your drink driving charge.

  • Its best suited for mid range drink drivers who are suspended until their court date but need to keep driving before the court hears the matter or the work licence application.

 

Learn more: We have a full article on All you need to know about section 79E applications

 

Driving during suspension

So what would happen if you are caught driving while your licence is suspended?

Driving while suspended in Queensland is a huge deal. The courts don't mess around, and the penalties are harsh:

  • 24-hour suspension: Drive during this short suspension, and you'll lose your licence for 6 months.

  • Longer suspension: Drive while suspended for more than 24 hours, and you're looking at 2 to 5 years without a licence!

Learn more: We have a full article on driving under a police suspension

 

How Does the Court Hear a Drink Driving Charge?

All drink driving charges in Queensland are heard in the court closet in jurisdiction to where the drink driving offence occurred.

You can find the list of all courthouse contacts.

Different Magistrates Courts across Queensland handle drink driving cases either independently or as part of a broader criminal law call-over, depending on their size and resources. For instance, larger courts like the Brisbane Magistrates Court may have dedicated traffic courtrooms, while smaller regional courts might hear drink driving charges alongside more serious criminal offences.

Upon being charged, individuals receive a court date and are instructed on the time they should appear. Although court attendance is mandatory at the designated time, cases are not heard immediately. Instead, the court and the police prosecutor coordinate the order of proceedings for the day.

In court, those with legal representation are typically heard first, followed by self-represented individuals. This process varies slightly between courts but generally prioritizes legal representation. However, Magistrates have the discretion to decide how and when matters are dealt with in their courtroom.

 

First Court Date Proceedings

During the first court appearance, defendants or their solicitors (the solicitors should have obtained a copy of the QP9 before the court date) interact with the police prosecutor to obtain a copy of the police's court brief, known as a "QP9." This document outlines the charge, facts alleged by the police, criminal and traffic history, and includes the breath analysis certificate. Defendants are advised to review these documents carefully, especially if considering a guilty plea.

Defendants are not obligated to enter a plea on the first court date and are entitled to seek legal advice. If discrepancies are identified in the police's outline of facts or the defendant's history, the court may grant an adjournment for further discussion. Alternatively, if a work licence is required, the court may adjourn the matter to a special hearing day.

 

Pleading Guilty to Drink Driving

If a defendant pleads guilty, the court proceedings commence immediately. The Magistrate reads the charge and confirms the plea, after which the police prosecutor outlines the facts and may recommend penalties. Defendants or their solicitors then present mitigating factors to minimise penalties, considering legislation dictating penalty considerations.

Following these submissions, the Magistrate may seek clarification and then proceeds to convict the defendant, imposing penalties such as fines, community service, or probation, along with a driving disqualification.  If a work licence is granted, conditions are outlined, and the defendant must surrender their driver's licence if disqualified.

 

Pleading Not Guilty

Defendants pleading not guilty have their matters adjourned for a hearing, during which the prosecution prepares a brief of evidence. Summary hearings are scheduled, with timelines varying based on court size and caseload. These hearings adhere to strict rules of evidence, with specific procedures for challenging breath analysis equipment accuracy.

Defendants planning to contest the charge are advised to seek legal advice and representation to maximize their chances of success at the hearing. Proper legal representation is crucial to navigating the complexities of the legal process and presenting a robust defence.

 

How do I find the court I am suppose to be in?

The notice to appear will contain the court you are to attend.  You can check the courts website for the address of the court.

 

Arriving at Court

Always check the parking situation around the court so that you can arrive when the court opens at 8:30am.  You will need to go through security and in larger courts like Beenleigh, Southport or Brisbane can take some time.

 

 

Who will be in court?

You are likely to see the following people in the court room;

Magistrate – Essentially the Judge who rules on all the cases

 

Court Clerk – The court staff member assisting the Magistrate

 

Police Prosecutor – The person prosecuting the drink driving charge on behalf of the Queensland Government

 

Gallery – The people in the court with court matters or who are just watching the court proceedings like reporters

 

Defence Lawyers – The lawyers engaged by people to help people through the court process and who tries to get the best outcome for their clients

Can I bring a support person?

Absolutely.  They won’t be able to talk for you to the Magistrate but they can be there to support you,

How long will this take?

How long will you need to be at court for your drink driving matter to be heard? It really depends on how many cases there are that day.

Generally the court will go in the following order

  • Adjournments by people with lawyers

  • Adjournments by people without lawyers

  • Guilty pleas for people with lawyers

  • Guilty pleas for people without lawyers

People should generally assume it will take most of the morning for their drink driving charge to be dealt with.

 

What should I wear to court?

First impressions matter, especially in a courtroom setting where judgments can be swift and influenced by various factors. Knowing what to wear to court can potentially impact how you're perceived by the Magistrate and other courtroom personnel. Dressing appropriately demonstrates respect for the legal proceedings and can reflect positively on your character and attitude towards the charges you're facing.

When selecting your attire for a court appearance, it's crucial to opt for clothing that is conservative, neat, professional but comfortable.  Aim for clothing typically worn in professional settings, such, dress shirts, and trousers/skirts. Solid colours or subtle patterns are preferable over flashy or loud designs. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit but if you are comfortable in a suit that would be the most appropriate thing to wear.

Aim to wear no less than what you would wear to a job interview.

While comfort is important, avoid overly casual clothing like t-shirts, jeans, shorts, or sneakers. Opt for closed-toe shoes and avoid excessive jewellery or accessories.  If you have visible tattoos or piercings, consider covering them if possible, as they may distract or prejudice certain individuals in the courtroom.

The focus should be on your case, not your attire.

If unsure about what to wear, consult with your lawyer for guidance. Remember lots of defendants will not dress appropriately. Aim to be one that does and show you are taking your charges seriously, the Magistrates appreciate the effort you would have put in to dress appropriately for court.

Learn more:  We have an article on What to wear to court

 

Court Etiquette          

Facing a drink driving charge in Queensland can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. As you prepare for your court appearance in 2024, it's essential to understand and adhere to proper courtroom etiquette. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the legal proceedings with confidence and respect:

  1. Arrive Early: Plan to arrive at the courthouse well before your scheduled appearance time. This allows you to find parking, go through security checks, and locate the correct courtroom without rushing.

  2. Dress Appropriately: Dressing conservatively and professionally is crucial. Opt for business attire such as dress shirts, trousers/skirts, and closed-toe shoes. Avoid casual clothing like t-shirts, jeans, or sneakers, as they may convey a lack of respect for the court.

  3. Follow Instructions: Listen carefully to instructions from court staff and follow their guidance regarding where to sit and when to stand. Remain quiet and attentive while court is in session, refraining from using electronic devices or engaging in disruptive behaviour.

  4. Show Respect: Treat everyone in the courtroom with respect, including the magistrate, court staff, lawyers, and other individuals present. Address the magistrate as "Your Honour" and avoid interrupting or speaking out of turn.

  5. Stay Calm and Composed: Court proceedings can be emotionally charged, but it's essential to remain calm and composed. Avoid displaying negative emotions such as anger or frustration, as this may reflect poorly on your character.

  6. Speak Clearly and Honestly: If called upon to speak, do so clearly and honestly. Answer questions directly and avoid providing unnecessary information. Remember that honesty is key to building credibility with the court.

  7. Listen to Legal Advice: Trust the guidance of your lawyer and follow their advice throughout the proceedings. They are experienced in navigating the legal system and can provide valuable insights tailored to your case.

 

What if I’m sick on the day of court?

Contact the court and explain the situation. Depending on the circumstances the court may require you to provide a medical certificate or appear by phone. Different courts will have different approaches to people who are sick on their court date, so what occurs in one court may not occur in another.

Learn more with our article on what to do if you miss your court date

 

Can I just appear by phone?

It is unlikely that unless you normally live overseas or in another state you will be able to appear by phone.

The best way to check is to contact the court registry and discuss it with them.

 

When does the disqualification start?

As soon as the Magistrate orders the disqualification it starts.  This means you can’t drive away from the court so arrange some other way to get home after court.

 

What should I bring?

You should bring your driver’s licence if applicable and if you attended a course like QTOP then a copy of your attendance documents.

               

Do I Get to keep my Physical Licence?

No, if you plead guilty to drink driving you are required to surrender your licence to Queensland Transport by the day after the court disqualifies you or to the Police Prosecutor at the court. 

The surrender of your licence may in some circumstances deprive you of your main form of identification, you may therefore wish to attend Queensland Transport before the court date and obtain a proof of age card to help with identification during your period of disqualification.

 

Offender Levy

As from 21 August 2012 all people who plead guilty or are found guilty in the Magistrates Court must pay (currently $133.60) in addition to any penalty imposed by the Magistrate.  The court has no power in regards to the levy and SPER will contact you in regards to payment.  The levy is separate from any monetary penalty the Magistrate may impose. 

More details can be found on the SPER Website

 

What happens after my disqualification period?

After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your licence.  You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended.  Please don’t drive to Queensland Transport as you are not entitled to drive until after you have been to Queensland Transport and obtained your licence back.  Also remember to bring 100 points of ID.

 

After you have been disqualified you will be on a probationary licence for 1 year, this means that;

  1. You have only 4 demerit points available

  2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year

 

Queensland Transport now require that you do a course in order to obtain your licence.  If this is your first drink driving charge or if you have other drink driving charges but they occurred before 10 September 2021 then you need to do a short online course.  Details can be found here 

 

If this is your second or more drink driving charge and any previous drink driving charges occurred after 10 September 2021 then you need to do a more intense course.  Details can be found by clicking here  

 

During your disqualification you cannot drive any motor vehicle for any reason.  If you do drive then you can be charged with disqualified driving which is a serious charge.

 

Will people find out I have been charged with drink driving

There is no central database that someone can look up that shows the public people who have been convicted of drink driving.

There is a court date lookup portal that people can access if they have a persons name and date of birth but this only lists upcoming court dates and does not list the actual charges.

However a reporter can report on what occurs in a court and they could publish the name and details of any drink driving matters.

Learn more: We have a full article on How do I find my court date?

Learn more: We have a full article on Can I ask the Court to close for my sentence?

 

Can I transfer the charge to another court?

Yes it may be possible to transfer to the court closets to where you live.  The transfer however can only occur if you are pleading guilty.

Transfers are often done where the drink driving charge is in a court many hours away from where you live.

It is not possible to transfer a drink driving charge to another state.  If you live in another state it might be possible to have a lawyer appear in court on your behalf and with you appearing by phone.

Learn more: We have a full article on How drink driving matters are heard in Queensland

 

 Penalties for Drink Driving in Queensland in 2024

In Queensland, the penalties for drink driving are multifaceted and influenced by various factors. Here's an overview of what you can expect:

Mandatory Licence Disqualification

  • Universal Disqualification: Every individual charged with drink driving in Queensland will lose their driver's licence. Courts do not have the discretion to opt out of this penalty.

  • Exceptional Circumstances: In certain situations, individuals may apply for a work licence to mitigate the impact on their employment.

 

Factors Influencing Disqualification Period for Drink Driving

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Reading

  • Your BAC reading significantly influences the penalty imposed by the court. This reading is measured in grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Accident Involvement

  • In the event of an accident, particularly if it resulted in damage to property or injury to others, the penalty escalates.

Presence of Passengers

  • Having passengers in the vehicle, especially minors, can exacerbate the penalty.

Purpose of Driving

  • The reason for driving, such as urgent necessity versus knowingly driving while over the limit, affects the severity of the penalty.

Traffic and Criminal History

  • Past traffic and criminal offences, especially previous drink driving charges within the last 5 years, increase the penalty.

Personal and Work Situation

  • The impact of disqualification on personal and work life is considered, though obtaining a work licence may not always be feasible.

Completion of Driving Courses

Judicial Discretion

  • The Magistrate overseeing the case may have varying views on appropriate penalties, highlighting the importance of legal representation familiar with local courts.

 

Potential Disqualification Periods

See the table below for minimum and maximum licence disqualification periods applicable to first-time drink drivers.

Specific Penalties for Different Drink Driving Offences

See the table below for possible disqualification periods for first-time drink drivers on an open licence charged with low or mid range drink driving.

 

See the table below for possible disqualification periods for first-time drink drivers on an open licence charged with high range drink driving.

Will I lose my licence?

In Queensland unlike other Australian states there is mandatory periods of disqualification for all drink driving offences. It does not matter what a person's circumstances are, their driving history or any other factors,  if they are charged with drink driving and plead guilty there must be a mandatory period of disqualification.

The only thing a person could possibly do is apply for a work licence to continue to drive for work reasons only during the mandatory disqualification.

 

Surely the magistrate can take pity on me and not take my licence away?

If you are charged with drink driving the magistrate has no discretion as to whether they will take your licence away, they must.  The idea is to get the disqualification period down as much as possible or get work licence.

Learn more: We have a full article on Do I really need to lose my licence for drink driving?

 

I’ve heard you can ask for a Section 10 and not lose your licence

Section 10 is New South Wales law and does not apply in Queensland.

Learn more: We have a full article on Why section 10 does not apply in Queensland

 

Late-Night Driver Restrictions

Late-night driver restrictions, also known as night-time driving curfews, involve limitations on driving privileges during specific hours, typically during the late night. These restrictions are implemented to reduce the occurrence of road accidents and fatalities, focusing on times when factors such as reduced visibility and increased fatigue are prevalent.

In Queensland, late-night driving restrictions primarily target provisional licence holders under the age of 25, including P1 and P2 drivers. These restrictions are applied whenever a P licence holder under 25 commits a drink driving charge.

Duration and Timing of Late-Night Driving Restrictions

Late-night driving restrictions in Queensland typically apply for a duration of one year. These restrictions are enforced between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am.

Exemptions from Late-Night Driving Restrictions

Certain circumstances may warrant exemptions from late-night driving restrictions in Queensland. Eligibility for an exemption requires demonstrating a genuine need to drive during late-night hours, such as for employment purposes. Examples include essential employment obligations or significant financial hardship resulting from the inability to drive during restricted hours.

Learn more: We have a full article on Late Night Driver Restrictions in Queensland

 

 

 

What Can I do to Reduce the Penalty for Drink Driving?

The most effective things you can do before your court date is to complete a Traffic Offender Program, get character references, get a good drink driving lawyer and if appropriate get medical help for any drinking issues.

Lets look at them in turn.

Traffic Offender Programs

When facing a traffic offence charge in Queensland, one common question that arises early on is whether it's necessary to complete a traffic offenders course before going to court. The answer, as with many legal matters, is not straightforward and depends on various factors. If you're in this situation, understanding your options and the potential benefits of completing such a course can be crucial. Here's what you need to know about traffic offenders courses and how to choose the right one for your situation.

Understanding Traffic Offenders Courses: A traffic offenders course is a short program designed to provide individuals facing traffic offence charges, such as drink or drug driving, with insight into their offence, the associated risks, and the court system. Completing such a course, often available online, can result in a completion certificate that may be presented in court to potentially reduce penalties or support applications for work or hardship licences.

Available Programs: Several traffic offenders programs are available, including the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (QTOP) and others like the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program and Traffic Offenders Rehabilitation Program. These programs aim to educate participants about their offences and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

Eligibility and Requirements: In general, these programs are open to anyone wishing to complete them without specific eligibility criteria. However, some programs may have technological requirements for online completion. It's essential to confirm any prerequisites before enrolling.

Benefits of Completing a Program: While completing a traffic offenders course is not mandatory, it can have benefits, especially in certain circumstances. While it won't result in harsher penalties for non-completion, it may positively influence sentencing outcomes, particularly regarding disqualifications or restricted licence applications. Magistrates may also view completion favourably as a sign of taking the matter seriously.

Choosing the Right Program: Selecting the most suitable program involves considering factors such as cost, format (online or in-person), convenience, and reputation. While costs typically range from $200 to $250, the format can vary, with some offering in-person sessions and others being entirely online. The QTOP program, being one of the oldest and most respected, is often recommended by legal professionals for its credibility and effectiveness.

Final Considerations: Ultimately, whether to complete a traffic offenders course is a personal decision, but it's one that should be made with careful consideration of its potential impact on your case. While legal advice may guide you, the choice remains yours. Additionally, completing such a program does not replace the mandatory Department of Transport and Main Roads drink driving program required to regain your licence.

Learn more: We have a full article on Traffic Offender Programs

 

Court Character References

When facing a drink driving charge, the role of character references in court cannot be overstated. These references offer a window into the defendant's character, aiding judges and legal professionals in understanding the person beyond their charges. Choosing the right individual to vouch for your character is pivotal, as their credibility and insight can significantly sway the court's perception. In this article, we'll delve into the qualities that make someone the ideal candidate for providing a character reference in a drink driving case.

 

Key Qualities in a Character Reference:

  1. Personal Connection: The ideal referee should share a close and personal relationship with the accused, possessing intimate knowledge of their character, values, and behaviour.

  2. Professional Standing: References from employers, supervisors, or colleagues can carry weight, especially if the alleged offence contrasts with the defendant's professional conduct.

  3. Community Involvement: Individuals involved in community activities or volunteer work can offer compelling character references, highlighting the defendant's positive contributions to society.

  4. Legal Knowledge: Referees with a solid understanding of the legal system and courtroom proceedings can effectively articulate the defendant's character within a legal context.

  5. Impartiality: It's crucial to select someone capable of presenting an objective perspective, showcasing both positive and negative aspects of the defendant's character responsibly.

 

Relevance of Character References in Drink Driving Cases

Character references can be particularly beneficial in various drink driving cases, providing the court with additional context about the defendant's character and behaviour. Here's how they can assist in different scenarios:

  • Demonstrating Responsibility: References can present evidence of the defendant's responsible behaviour and commitment to sobriety, potentially influencing sentencing outcomes.

  • Highlighting Rehabilitation Efforts: References can showcase any steps taken by the defendant towards rehabilitation or counseling, emphasizing their dedication to addressing the issue.

  • Supporting Licence Applications: In cases involving work licences orders, character references can underscore the defendant's understanding of traffic laws and efforts to comply with legal requirements.

 

Crafting an Effective Character Reference

When composing a character reference for court, certain elements should be included:

  • Referee Details: Full name, address, and relationship to the defendant.

  • Character Assessment: Opinion on the defendant's character, behaviour, and likelihood of re-offending.

  • Relevance to the Offence: Discussion of the impact of the offence on the defendant's attitude and behaviour, along with any expressions of remorse.

  • Specific Examples: Providing specific instances or anecdotes that illustrate the defendant's positive attributes and responsible behaviour.

  • Easy to Read: Be typed and ideally no more than 1 page.

 

Final Considerations

  • Attendance in Court: While referees are generally not required to attend court, they may choose to do so.

  • Confidentiality: Court references become public documents once handed to the court, so any confidentiality requests should be communicated accordingly.

  • Addressing the Reference: It should be addressed to "The Presiding Magistrate" at the relevant Magistrates Court, clearly stating the referee's qualifications and reasons for belief in the defendant's good character.

In conclusion, selecting the right character reference is crucial in presenting a comprehensive and honest portrayal of the accused in a drink driving case. By prioritizing individuals who can offer valuable insights and unbiased perspectives, defendants can enhance their chances of presenting a compelling case in court.

Learn more: We have a full article on Character References for Traffic Charges 

Medical help

For individuals facing a drink driving charge, seeking medical help for alcohol dependency issues can prove instrumental in mitigating penalties in court. While the legal consequences of a drink driving offence can be severe, demonstrating a proactive approach towards addressing underlying alcohol-related issues can significantly impact sentencing outcomes.

 

Acknowledging the Issue

First and foremost, acknowledging the presence of alcohol dependency and taking steps to address it is crucial. By recognizing the need for intervention, individuals exhibit accountability for their actions and a willingness to confront the root cause of their behaviour.

 

Positive Impression on the Court

Courts are often receptive to defendants who demonstrate genuine remorse and a commitment to rehabilitation. Seeking medical assistance for alcohol dependency sends a powerful message to the court, indicating a proactive effort to address the problem and prevent future occurrences of drink driving.

 

Impact on Sentencing

When considering sentencing options, courts take into account various mitigating factors, including the defendant's efforts towards rehabilitation. By participating in alcohol treatment programs, counselling sessions, or support groups, defendants can present compelling evidence of their commitment to change, potentially leading to reduced penalties or alternative sentencing options.

 

Final Thoughts

In drink driving cases, obtaining medical help for alcohol dependency can significantly influence sentencing outcomes. By acknowledging the issue, seeking assistance, and actively participating in treatment programs, defendants can demonstrate accountability, remorse, and a genuine commitment to change. Ultimately, taking proactive steps towards addressing alcohol-related issues not only benefits individual well-being but also enhances the prospects of a favourable outcome in court.

 

 Drink Driving Charge in the Children Court

Various offences under Queensland law lead to mandatory or discretionary licence disqualifications.

For instance, an adult charged with high-range drink driving must lose their licence for a minimum of 6 months, with no possibility of reduction by the court. However, if an adult faces charges of careless driving, the court may exercise discretion regarding licence disqualification. It's important to note that the court recognizes the need for a different approach when dealing with individuals under 18 in traffic offence cases.

The Youth Justice Act governs how the Children’s Court handles offences committed by minors (those under 18years old) . According to this legislation, if a child is found guilty of an offence that would result in licence disqualification for an adult, the child must face a similar disqualification.

However, there are several avenues to avoid this outcome.

One way to avoid disqualification as a child is if the police caution or refer the child to restorative justice for an offence that could have led to disqualification. Additionally, if the child is under 17 and a conviction is not recorded for a disqualifiable offence, disqualification may be avoided. Furthermore, if the magistrate refers a child to restorative justice for an offence that the police should have referred to, there will be no disqualification.

Restorative justice involves a conference between the child who committed the crime and those affected by it. The purpose is to discuss the incident, its impact, and ways to repair the harm caused to the victim.

Learn more: We have a full article on Licence Disqualifications in the Children’s Court

 

This Isn’t My First Drink Driving Charge

In Queensland, if you're caught drink driving, your licence will likely be suspended for a period, and you'll usually face a fine. Some people can apply for a work licence, which allows driving for work purposes only, lessening the impact of the suspension. However, this option isn't available to everyone, and it doesn't permit driving for personal reasons.

Having a previous drink driving offence within the last 5 years can lead to harsher penalties and may disqualify you from obtaining a work licence.

Increased Penalties

For most drink driving offences, there's a range of penalties set by law. High range drink driving, for instance, carries a minimum disqualification of six months for a first-time offender, with the maximum left to the discretion of the Magistrate. If you have a previous offence within the last 5 years, the penalties increase.

For example, a first-time offender caught with a low-range reading of 0.065 might face a minimum disqualification of one month and a maximum of 9 months. But if they commit the same offence three years later, they could face a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months.

The severity of the previous offence also matters. If it was a high-range offence, the penalties are even harsher.

 

Inability to Obtain a Work Licence

To be eligible for a work licence, the court considers factors like the type of offence. People charged with low-range and mid-range drink driving might qualify, but those charged with high-range offences usually don't. Also, if you've lost your licence for any reason in the previous 5 years, except for specific exemptions, you're not eligible for a work licence.

 

Potential Legal “Loophole”

Prosecutors are required to formally allege any previous drink driving offences in court. If they fail to provide a document called a "notice to allege previous offences" before sentencing, the court cant impose higher mandatory minimum penalties based on previous offences. However, the court can still consider the previous offence when determining the overall penalty. It's a complex area of law, so it's essential to consult with a lawyer if you have a previous drink driving charge within the last 5 years and haven't received a notice to allege previous offences.

 

3 high range drink driving offences in 5 years

Queensland law provides that where a person has two high range drink driving charges (a high range being above .15) and a person is again charged with another high range drink driving charge then the court must impose a sentence of imprisonment (all offences must occur within 5 years).  

In those circumstances the question becomes whether the person will actually spend time in jail.  Whilst the legislation says a term of imprisonment must be imposed, there are options other than a person spending time in jail.  Those options are either a wholly suspended sentence or an immediate parole release date.

A wholly suspended sentence involves a person being sentenced to a term of imprisonment but not being required to serve that imprisonment if they keep out of trouble for a length of time, usually 12-18 months.  This way a person can remain in the community with the prison sentence hanging over them for a period of time, if they behave no further action is taken, if they commit an offence that carries a jail sentence then they will be bought before the court to potentially serve the original suspended sentence.

An immediate parole release date is where a person is sentenced to imprisonment but is released from court into the supervision of a parole officer.  They will be required to undertake courses and other programs but if they remain trouble free they will not have to serve the original sentence.

It is critical where a person is facing a high range drink driving charge especially for the third time that they get immediate legal advice.  It is essential that proper submissions are placed before the court by an experienced traffic lawyer to try and ensure that the court does not require the defendant to serve time in prison.

Learn more: We have a full article on: From Bad to Worse: What Happens if You Have a Prior Drink Driving Offence in Queensland?

 

 

 Criminal Convictions for Drink Driving

Will you get a criminal conviction for a drink driving charge in 2024?

Lets take a look at this issue.

Is drink driving a criminal offence in Queensland?

Yes, but it's a simple offence, not a serious "crime." This means it's handled at the Magistrates Court, not the District or Supreme Court.

 

Will a conviction be recorded on your criminal history?

No. Even though it's a criminal offence, the conviction goes on your traffic history (visible for 5 years) but not your criminal record. So, a standard background check wouldn't show it.

 

Can you avoid a conviction on your traffic history?

Yes, but only in specific situations. You need to show the court how recording the conviction on your traffic history would significantly impact your life (e.g., job loss).  The court decides whether to record a conviction based on the following factors;

 

The nature of the offence

This is fairly obvious the more serious an offence the more likely a conviction will be recorded.  With drink driving the court will look at the BAC reading and whether any accident occurred.

 

The offender’s character and age

Younger offenders are more likely not to have a conviction recorded for a drink driving charge.  This does not mean older offenders will automatically have a conviction recorded as an offenders character is also taken into account.  Character would usually be judged on a persons traffic and criminal history (if any).

 

The impact that recording a conviction will have on the offender

The impact of the recording of a conviction must be taken into account by the court.  Given the conviction is going to be recorded on the traffic and not criminal history a person would have to show how a traffic conviction will impact them negatively.  This might be a truck driver who if they get a conviction recorded their employer will fire them or they will find it hard to get employment in the future.  Employers are increasingly asking for new applicants for a job to show them their traffic history.

Key points:

  • Simple offence

  • Conviction on traffic history, not criminal record

  • Still serious with potential consequences

  • You can ask the court not to record a conviction on your traffic history

Learn more: We have a full article on: Criminal conviction for drink driving

 

        

Drink Driving with a Crash

When facing charges for drink driving in Queensland, the occurrence of a crash significantly influences the court's decision on sentencing. Understanding why crashes are relevant and how they affect penalties is crucial for individuals navigating these legal proceedings.

 

Relevance of Crashes in Traffic Matters 

Courts consider crashes as a pivotal factor in assessing the severity of drink driving offences. The occurrence of a crash underscores the real dangers associated with impaired driving, highlighting the potential harm to individuals and property.

Factors Considered in Crash Cases:

Several factors related to the crash itself are evaluated during court proceedings:

  • Impact of the Crash: The extent of damage caused by the crash, including property damage and injuries, is carefully examined.

  • Type of Crash: Whether the crash involved a single vehicle or multiple vehicles can influence the severity of the offence.

  • Injuries Resulting from the Crash: The presence of injuries to individuals involved in the crash is a significant consideration for the court.

  • Monetary Damage: The financial cost of the damage caused by the crash is taken into account when determining penalties.

Impact on Penalties:

Cases involving crashes typically receive more stringent penalties compared to those without crashes. The court may impose higher fines, longer disqualification periods from driving, or additional sanctions. Offenders with a history of drink driving face heightened scrutiny and may receive harsher penalties.

Recommendations for Offenders:

For individuals involved in crashes, completing a traffic offenders' program is often recommended. This demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing the offence and a commitment to driver education and rehabilitation, which may positively influence the court's decision.

Advice for Offenders:

It's essential for offenders involved in crashes to seek guidance from experienced traffic lawyers. A skilled traffic lawyer can provide personalized advice on preparing for sentencing, navigating the legal process, and presenting a compelling case to mitigate penalties.

Comparison of Scenarios:

To illustrate the impact of crashes on sentencing outcomes, consider two hypothetical scenarios:

  • Joe Bloggs: Recorded a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.103% after a static roadside breath test. Limited traffic history, completed a traffic offenders' program, and received a $650 fine with a 3-month disqualification.

  • John Doe: Involved in a single-vehicle crash with a BAC reading of 0.100%. Had prior speeding fines, no completion of a traffic program, and received an $800 fine with a 6-month disqualification.

Insurance Considerations:

In most cases, insurance coverage is voided when an individual is arrested for drink driving. Offenders should consult their insurance provider to understand the implications for coverage of damages resulting from the crash.

Learn more: We have a full article on: What Happens if You Crash While Drink Driving?

Charged with Other Charges

It might be that in addition to a drink driving offence you are also charged with other offences like careless driving or you have been previously pleaded guilty to other charges that meant your licence was suspended or disqualified at the time you committed the drink driving offence.

The law (section 90B and 90C of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995) states where two disqualifications are running at the same time then special rules applies to decided if the disqualifications are cumulative or concurrent.

Understanding sections 90B and 90C can be quite challenging. Even legal professionals like lawyers, magistrates, and judges find these sections difficult to decipher. This complexity is compounded by Department of Transport and Main Roads occasionally misapplying court-ordered licence disqualifications to traffic records.

Section 90B: Cumulative Disqualifications for Offences Committed at Different Times

This section deals with licence disqualifications for offences committed at various times. If convicted of specific offences like drink-driving, dangerous operation of a vehicle, careless driving, or racing, you face mandatory disqualification. Additionally, the court can disqualify you, even if found not guilty after trial.

If you're convicted again for any of these offences before the initial disqualification ends, the second disqualification doesn't start until the first one ends. This cumulative effect applies to subsequent convictions as long as any previous disqualifications are still active.

Section 90C: Cumulative Disqualifications for Offences Committed at the Same Time

This section involves offences like drink or drug-driving, unlicensed driving, failure to provide breath samples, or dangerous vehicle operation. Here, if you commit any of these offences alongside unlicensed driving, all resulting disqualifications stack on each other.

For example, if you're charged with dangerous driving while already suspended for excessive demerit points, both offences occurring simultaneously lead to cumulative disqualifications.

Conclusion

Navigating these laws is intricate, but seeking legal advice promptly after being charged with a potentially disqualifying offence is crucial. Misunderstanding cumulative disqualifications can lead to unexpected and extended driving bans. As specialists in traffic law, we offer expert guidance to ensure you understand and navigate these complexities effectively.

Learn more with our article on will my disqualification be cumulative ?

 

Fighting a Drink Driving Charge

Defences to a drink driving charge are rare and difficult to prove however some do exist.

  • Potential Defences to a drink driving charge:
    • Not in Charge: This applies if you weren't in the driver's seat, especially while sleeping off the effects.

    • 3-Hour Limit: Challenge the timing of the test request if it wasn't made "as soon as practicable" within 3 hours of driving. Police can require breath or blood tests if they suspect you've driven within the past 3 hours. Their reasoning and timing matter. The prosecution needs to show you were over the limit and actually driving (or attempting to) within that 3-hour window.

    • Drinking After Driving: Convince the court the alcohol was consumed after you finished driving.  See our full article on Drinking after driving but before a breath test

    • Medical Exemption: Illness or a condition impacting your ability to provide a sample could offer a defence.

    • Police Procedure: Improper procedures by the police might invalidate the evidence.

    • Involuntary Intoxication: If someone tricked you into consuming alcohol unintentionally, it could be a defence.

    • Extraordinary Emergency: Fleeing an assault while intoxicated might be justifiable.

Reality Check:

  • Defences are rare and courts are sceptical. Proving them typically requires strong evidence.

  • Consider negotiation: Talking to the prosecutor might lead to charges being dropped or reduced but again don’t get your hopes up, its extremely rare where a drink driving charge is withdrawn.  See our full article on Negotiating with a Prosecutor in Queensland

Learn more: We have a full article on can you beat a drink driving charge?

 

 Work Licence

A work licence (also known as a restricted licence, section 87 licence or day licence) is a special type of licence that may be issued by the court to persons convicted of a low or mid-range range drink driving charge (a BAC reading under .15) or certain drug driving charges in Queensland.   A work licence replaces your normal Queensland drivers licence for the period of the disqualification imposed by the court.

A work licence can only be used for work purposes; you cannot use a work licence to drive to the shops or dropping kids off at school. A work licence is designed to allow you to continue to earn a living where a driver’s licence is an essential component to you earning that living.

It is also critical to understand that the work licence must be applied for before the court imposes a disqualification period for the drink driving offence. Once the court imposes the licence disqualification you cannot apply for a work licence.

Can I apply for a work licence?

To be eligible to apply for a work licence you must:

  1. hold a current Queensland open driver's licence for the vehicle you were driving. The open licence must have been held at the time of committing the offence.  Provisional and learner drivers cannot apply for a work licence

  2. have had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15%

  3. not have been driving for your job at the time you were charged. There are some exceptions where driving is not the main component of your job e.g. labourers driving to a work site or fencing contractors picking up materials to use onsite

  4. not have been driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol level (BAC) to be zero e.g. if you are on a learner, provisional, probationary or restricted licence.

 

In the last five years you must not have:

  • been convicted anywhere of drink driving or a similar offence

  • been disqualified by any court

  • had a licence suspended or cancelled (except in some limited circumstances like certain SPER suspensions that did not go to court).

  • Applied for a work licence

 

What do I need to provide in my work licence application?

To apply for a work licence you must file in the court where your drink driving charge is being heard (and serve on the police prosecutor) at least the following;

  • An affidavit of yourself setting out;
    • Your personal circumstances like where you live, with who etc

    • What work you do and a detailed explanation of what driving for work you need to do

    • The days and hours you work including any overtime

    • Why you can’t use taxi’s or public transport

    • Your financial circumstances including your income and expenses and those of you partner (if applicable)

    • How your employment or if self-employed your income would be affected by not being granted a work licence

    • How the drink driving charge came about and if necessary you will need to address other offences on your traffic history (or criminal history)

    • What conditions the court should impose on your work licence

  • If you are employed then your employer must provide an affidavit confirming the need for a work licence and if it not granted that you will be deprived of the means of earning your income

  • An application form for a section 87 (Work licence) available at any court registry.

 

How does the Court judge my application?

In order for the court to grant a work licence you must show the court two things

  • that you are a 'fit and proper person' and

  • if you don't get a work licence this will cause you or your family extreme hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

The court will generally judge whether you are a fit and proper person based on your traffic history. Character references can also help a court decide you are a fit and proper person; this is especially true where your reading was mid-range (between .1 and .149). The other effective thing you can do to improve the courts view of whether you are a fit and proper person is to complete a driving court. There are a number of courses but our strong recommendation is the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). The QTOP course is well regarded by the courts and can be done in person or online. Details can be found at their website www.qtop.com.au

The court judges whether you will be derived of the means of earning your income based on yours and if applicable your employer’s affidavit. It is critical to your application to show that you will suffer this extreme hardship. This is usually easier to prove for an employed person as your application must be accompanied by an affidavit of your employer that confirms you will be deprived of the means of earning your income if a work licence is not granted. It is harder to prove for self employed people and may require you to provide financial records to the court or to provide an additional affidavit of your accountant or the person you contract to.

 

Conditions the Court might impose on a work licence

Generally the court will be looking to impose one or more of the following conditions;

  1. Restricting the days and hours you can drive to the bare minimum to complete your job or business requirements

  2. Restricting whether you can carry passengers

  3. Requiring you to complete a log book before driving

  4. Requiring you to wear your work uniform when driving

  5. Limiting what classes of vehicle you can drive

 

Before the Court Date

You need to make sure that before your court date that you;

  1. You and your employer (if applicable) need to take the Affidavits to a Justice of the Peace or Solicitor or commissioner of declarations and sign each and every page in their presence;

  2. Ensure that the Justice of the Peace or Solicitor witnesses your signature by signing each and every page;

  3. Attend the Court Registry and collect an application form for a work licence (these are also available at Queensland Transport) file your original signed Affidavits with 2 photocopies. The Court will stamp them, keep the original and give you two copies back.  It is also a good time to file any character references you may wish the court to read.

  4. Then attend the Police Prosecutions unit (which is generally in the police station near the court, you should ask the court registry where this is) file one of the copies of the affidavits and the pink copy of the application for a work licence. Also give them a copy of any character reference you filed at the registry.

  5. Keep your copies of the affidavits, application form and references and take them to court on the court date.

 

What should I bring to court for a work licence application?

You should have already filed and served on the police prosecutor all your written material.

You should bring a copy of;

  1. Your signed and witnessed affidavit

  2. Your Employers signed affidavit (if not self-employed)

  3. Any character references you wish to present to the court

  4. The application form you filed

You should also bring your driver drivers licence and around $50 to pay for your new licence at Queensland Transport if a work licence is granted.

 

 

What will happen in the court?

Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your court time.

Find out which court you are in and wait outside that court. Turn off your phone.

Eventually a Police Prosecutor will arrive you should then go and speak to them and confirm who you are and that you are applying for a work licence. Please make sure they have all your affidavits.

At this point is a good idea to ask the police for a copy of your charge documents and traffic history. Do this by asking for your “QP9” (this is the document number and is what it is referred to in the courts). 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.

The court will start when the Magistrate enters, please stand whenever the depositions clerk or Police Prosecutor calls ‘all rise’ and then wait for the Magistrate to sit down before sitting yourself.

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. Tell the Magistrate that you are pleading guilty to the charge and that you wish to apply for a work licencePlease address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”. 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 affidavits and if they have any queries they will ask you. Generally we find the Magistrates will not ask many questions. If you have not already filed any character reference tell the Magistrate you have some, the Police Prosecutor take them from you and will give them to the Magistrate.

If a work licence is granted a Magistrate will first give you a disqualification period and then a fine and finally will read out the terms of the work licence being granted.

You will then be asked to sit outside the court or at the registry to wait for your work licence order. It is this document that you take to Queensland Transport. Please check the order is correct before leaving the registry.

 

I was granted a work licence – now what?

If you are granted the work licence then before you can drive again then you need to go to Queensland Transport and have your licence re-issued as a work licence. You cannot drive to the Queensland Transport office. Also unless you are returning to work or driving for work purposes from Queensland Transport then you would need a lift home as your work licence would not cover for the trip between Queensland Transport and your home but it would cover you to drive from Queensland Transport back to work.

You must also comply with the requirements of any court order in relation to your licence, this may be the requirement to complete a logbook or similar. Also throughout the period of the work licence you must keep a copy of the court order in any motor vehicle you drive.

If you are caught driving outside the terms of your work licence then you will be disqualified for the balance of the disqualification period left to run plus an additional 3 months.

If you are a mid-range drink driver who is granted a work licence you must install an interlock (see below) to any vehicle you will drive under the work licence.

Learn more: We have a full article on Work Licences in Queensland

 

Interlock

If you were charged with mid range or high range drink driving (our more than 2 low range drink driving charges within 5 years) then when you go to get your licence back you will have to install an interlock.

The court has no discretion to exempt you from an interlock if this applies to you as it is a Queensland Transport licencing requirement.  This is an area that is subject to constant change, for more information visit their website.


There are only very few exemptions and an exemption cannot be regarding work or making an income

Exemption Avenues:

  1. Remote Location: Live more than 150km from an installer? Proof of residency (lease, bills, etc.) can grant you an exemption.

  2. Island Life: No bridge to the mainland? Similar proof applies. Certain islands like Fraser and Magnetic are excluded, though.

  3. Medical Hindrance: A doctor's certificate (F4864) for conditions preventing breath samples could win you an exemption.

  4. Severe Family Hardship: This requires convincing the court that not having an interlock would cause extreme difficulties beyond just work or education. Think medical needs, lack of alternative transport, and serious lifestyle disruptions.

 

Important Notes:

  • Exemptions are rare, so don't get your hopes up too high.

  • Apply before your interlock program starts.

Learn more: We have a full article on exemptions to Installing an Interlock

 

 

Drink Driving Statistics in Queensland

Every year the Queensland police service publishes statistics for all crimes in Queensland.  Lets have a look at some of those statistics that relate to drink driving.

Total Drink Driving Arrests Per Year:

  • 2001: 24,548

  • 2002: 26,496

  • 2003: 27,222

  • 2004: 28,345

  • 2005: 30,573

  • 2006: 31,776

  • 2007: 30,476

  • 2008: 32,152

  • 2009: 32,465

  • 2010: 30,344

  • 2011: 27,625

  • 2012: 25,959

  • 2013: 26,303

  • 2014: 24,914

  • 2015: 28,774

  • 2016: 28,571

  • 2017: 29,158

  • 2018: 31,156

  • 2019: 30,854

  • 2020: 24,715

  • 2021: 25,408

  • 2022: 27,610

  • 2023: 26,119

Months with the Most Arrests on Average:

  • June: 2,546 arrests

  • December: 2,537 arrests

  • May: 2,472 arrests

Months with the Least Arrests on Average:

  • April: 2,178 arrests

  • February: 2,134 arrests

  • September: 2,174 arrests

The average yearly drink driving rate in Queensland since 2001 is 29,236 drink driving arrests per year.

 

 

FAQ’s about Drink Driving in Queensland in 2024

Can I drink while driving?

No, you cannot drink liquor while you are the driver or supervisor of a learner driver

               

Can I ask to change the Court?

If you are pleading guilty to a drink driving offence then most courts will allow you to transfer the matter to the court closet to where you live.  This is useful if the drink driving offence occurred along way from where you live especially as all drink driving offences will result in a disqualification so you could not drive home.

 

Do I have to appear in person?

In almost all circumstances you will need to appear in person at the court to be sentenced.  The law states that a person must be present to receive the licence disqualification.  Generally the only exceptions the court might consider is where the person lives in another state or country or there is some other compelling reason why they can’t appear in person.

 

I live in another state and got the drink driving charge while holidaying

If you live in another state and engage a lawyer to act for you the court would likely allow you to appear by phone to finalise the matter.  Each court will have different thoughts on this so check with a traffic lawyer whether the court would allow you to appear by phone.

 

Can I get a work licence for a high range charge?

No, if your reading was high range, that is over .15, you cannot under any circumstances get a work licence.  Your goal in that case would be to try and minimise the disqualification period.

 

Will a disqualification in Queensland apply throughout Australia?

Yes, a disqualification in Queensland applies throughout Australia.  See our article on Do Licence Disqualifications apply throughout Australia?

 

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Drink Driving Charge in Queensland in 2024

Facing a drink driving charge in Queensland can be a daunting experience, with potential consequences ranging from fines and licence disqualifications to imprisonment. In such circumstances, hiring a qualified and experienced lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here are several compelling reasons why seeking legal representation is essential when dealing with a drink driving charge in Queensland.

 

Understanding of the Legal System: Navigating the complexities of Queensland's legal system can be challenging, especially for individuals without legal expertise. A lawyer specialising in drink driving cases possesses in-depth knowledge of relevant laws, procedures, and precedents. They can guide you through each stage of the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected and advocating on your behalf in court.

Assessment of the Case: A skilled lawyer will thoroughly analyse the details of your drink driving charge and develop a strategic strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.

Minimization of Penalties: If convicted of a drink driving offence in Queensland, you will face penalties such as fines and a licence disqualification. A lawyer can work to minimize the potential consequences of your conviction, advocating for leniency or seeking alternatives to harsh penalties.

Representation in Court: Appearances in court can be intimidating, particularly for individuals unfamiliar with legal proceedings. A lawyer will represent you in court, presenting your case persuasively and effectively to the magistrate.

Support and Guidance: Dealing with a drink driving charge can take a toll on your emotional well-being and personal life. A lawyer can provide invaluable support and guidance throughout the legal process, offering reassurance, answering your questions, and addressing any concerns you may have. They will keep you informed of developments in your case and provide realistic expectations regarding potential outcomes.

Conclusion: When facing a drink driving charge in Queensland, hiring a lawyer is not only advisable but essential. A lawyer's expertise, knowledge of the legal system, negotiation skills, and courtroom experience can significantly impact the outcome of your case. By retaining competent legal representation, you can protect your rights, mitigate the consequences of your charge, and work towards resolving the matter with the best possible outcome. Don't face a drink driving charge alone—seek the assistance of a qualified lawyer to advocate for your interests and safeguard your future.

 

Why you should never represent yourself in court

Representing yourself in court for a drink driving charge in Queensland is a risk not worth taking. A professional traffic lawyer can provide expert legal advice and representation, potentially saving you time, money, and stress. Don't assume that legal representation is unaffordable—many lawyers offer fixed fees and free initial consultations. If you've been charged with a traffic offence in Queensland, don't hesitate to reach out to a qualified traffic lawyer for assistance. With their expertise, you can navigate the legal process with confidence and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

 

I will just use the duty lawyer at court, that’s free

Unless you are facing the prospect of prison then the duty lawyer cannot act for you at court.  This means you will be facing the court and the prosecutor on your own.

 

What to Look for in a Good Drink Driving Lawyer

If you're facing a drink driving charge in Queensland, hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. However, with numerous legal professionals to choose from, knowing what to look for in a good drink driving lawyer can be challenging. Here are some essential qualities and factors to consider when selecting legal representation for your drink driving matter.

 

Experts in Traffic Law:

First and foremost, look for a lawyer who specialises in traffic law, particularly drink driving cases. Traffic law is a specialised area of practice with its own set of complexities and nuances. A lawyer who focuses exclusively on traffic offences will have in-depth knowledge and experience specific to drink driving matters, increasing the likelihood of a favourable outcome for your case.

 

Experience and Track Record:

Experience matters when it comes to navigating the legal system effectively. Seek out a lawyer with a proven track record of success in handling drink driving cases. Look for testimonials, case results, and client reviews to gauge their competence and reputation. An experienced lawyer will have a comprehensive understanding of courtroom procedures, negotiation tactics, and strategies relevant to drink driving charges.

 

Legal Expertise and Knowledge:

Choose a lawyer who possesses a thorough understanding of Queensland's drink driving laws, regulations, and court procedures. They should be up-to-date with recent legal developments and precedents relevant to drink driving offences.

 

Communication and Accessibility:

Effective communication is essential in any legal case. Look for a lawyer who communicates clearly, promptly, and comprehensively. They should be accessible to address your concerns, answer your questions, and provide updates on your case's progress. A responsive lawyer who keeps you informed every step of the way can alleviate stress and uncertainty throughout the legal process.

 

Personalized Approach:

Every drink driving case is unique, with its own set of circumstances and complexities. Choose a lawyer who takes a personalised approach to your case, tailoring their strategy to your specific needs and objectives. They should take the time to understand your situation, listen to your concerns, and develop a strategy aligned with your best interests.

 

Reputation and Professionalism:

Reputation speaks volumes about a lawyer's credibility and reliability. Research the lawyer's reputation within the legal community, including peer reviews, awards, and recognition. Look for professionalism, integrity, and ethical conduct in their interactions with clients and colleagues. A lawyer with a strong reputation for professionalism and ethical practice is more likely to uphold your rights and interests effectively.

 

Transparent Fees and Costs:

Legal fees can vary significantly among lawyers, so it's essential to clarify the fee structure upfront. Look for a lawyer who offers transparent pricing and outlines all potential costs associated with your case on their website. The lawyer should also only put any money you provide into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society.

 

Comfort and Trust:

Lastly, trust your instincts when selecting a drink driving lawyer. Choose someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing your case openly and honestly. Building trust and rapport with your lawyer is essential for effective communication and collaboration throughout the legal process. Select a lawyer who instils confidence and reassurance, demonstrating a genuine commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

In conclusion, selecting the right drink driving lawyer requires careful consideration of their specialization, experience, expertise, communication style, reputation, transparency, and personal rapport. By prioritizing these qualities and factors, you can make an informed decision and secure competent legal representation to navigate your drink driving matter with confidence and peace of mind.

 

 

Why Hire Clarity Law to Represent you for a Drink Driving Charge?

Since 2010 we have been representing people throughout Southeast Queensland who have been charged with traffic offences such as drink driving and need a good drink driving lawyer to represent them.  We aren’t a firm that does traffic law as just one area of law, we do traffic law exclusively. This means we have handled over 1,500 drink driving matters.

Our client’s often come to us nervous, worried and needing answers.  This is not a time for uncertainty over your future nor the costs you will pay.  The stress that a drink driving charge causes to people can be overwhelming, having an experienced drink driving law firm to help will give you a lot of relief.

We strive to give you immediate comprehensive advice and a fixed fee so you can be sure of your legal costs and whether you qualify for a work licence.  While we will never be the cheapest we do offer the best value in our humble opinion.

Steven Brough our founder is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland and makes sure the whole firm is professional, caring and effective in getting the best for our clients.

Is this all going to be a hassle to engage you?

No, we have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, in Strathpine, Loganholme, Ipswich and Hervey Bay but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office.  We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.

Most of the information we require you can complete with an online form from your phone or tablet.

You will also have the direct email address and mobile phone number of your lawyer so you can ask any question you may have.  We believe in given client the very best experience possible and that starts with great communication and fast responses to your queries.  Our client services manager Belinda is also just a phone call or email away to answer any questions you have.

 

Our Team

Every one of our traffic lawyers is extremely experienced appearing in the courts every week representing people charged with drink driving.

Steven Brough – Founder and traffic lawyer (22+ years experience)

 

Russell Tannock – Traffic lawyer (8+ years experience)

 

Jack Marshall – Traffic lawyer (2+years experience)

 

Jacob Purden – Traffic lawyer (8+ years experience)

 

Belinda Smyth – Client Services Manager  (21+ years experience)

Between our lawyers we have appeared in court over 1500 times representing clients with driving charges throughout Southeast Queensland.

 

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  The money goes into a trust account and cannot be taken by us until the matter is completed.

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure that although we are not the cheapest our prices, given our experience, is very competitive

Work Licence (includes price of guilty plea)             $2,200

Drink Driving - Low range                                              $1,499

Drink Driving - Mid range                                              $1,599

Drink Driving - High range                                             $1,699

 

Where are your offices located?

We have 7 offices across Southeast Queensland.  Please always ring first as your local office may be unattended if our staff are in court.  We have spent years developing systems that mean in most cases you won’t even need to come in to see us to engage the best legal representation.

Maroochydore

Brisbane

Brendale

Gold Coast

Ipswich

Loganholme

Hervey Bay

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us, then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email or contact form. They have over 45 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 online in less than 15 minutes.  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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with many hundreds of courts appearances for drink driving charges each.

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.  

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

Facing a drink driving charge in Queensland can be a daunting experience, but being prepared and organised can significantly ease the process. Going to court requires careful planning and ensuring you have all the necessary documents and items can make a big difference in presenting your case effectively. Here's a guide on what to bring to court if you're facing a drink driving charge in Queensland:

 

  • Legal Representation: Before anything else, ensure you have legal representation. Having someone to advocate for you and guide you through the legal proceedings is crucial.

   Learn more with our article on Never Represent Yourself in Court for a traffic matter

 

  • Notice to Appear: This is the document that formally notifies you of the charges against you and specifies the date, time, and location of your court appearance. Make sure to bring the original notice to appear with you in case the court can’t locate your paperwork.

 

  • Identification: Bring a form of identification such as a driver's license or passport. Usually this wont be needed but better to have just in case.

 

  • Your Drivers Licence: if you plead guilty to drink driving you are required to surrender your licence to Queensland Transport by the day after the court disqualifies you or to the Police Prosecutor at the court.

 

  • Evidence of Mitigation: If there are mitigating factors that may have influenced your actions, such as a drinking problem , gather any evidence to show the steps you have taken to get help.

 

  • Character References: Character references from employers, colleagues, friends, or family members can help portray you in a positive light to the court. These references should attest to your good character, responsibility, and remorse for the offense.

   Learn more with our article on Character References for Traffic Charges

 

  • Proof of Completion of any Mandatory Programs: If you've already completed any mandatory programs such as a drink driving education program or a traffic offender intervention program, bring along the certificates or documentation as proof of completion. This demonstrates your willingness to address the issue and take steps towards rehabilitation.

   Learn more with our article on  Traffic Offender Programs

 

  • Pen and Paper: It's always a good idea to bring a pen and paper to take notes during the proceedings or to jot down any important information provided by your legal representative or the court. This is especially true if you are seeking an adjournment and need to jot down the new court date.

 

  • Dress Appropriately: While not a document, it's essential to dress appropriately for court. Opt for clean and conservative attire to show respect for the court proceedings and to present yourself in a favourable manner.

   Learn more with our article on What to wear to court

 

  • Any Relevant Legal Documents: If you've consulted with your lawyer and they've provided you with any legal documents or advice, make sure to bring those along as well as any documents the police gave to you after your arrest like the paperwork immediately suspending your licence and your breathalyser test results. If you are going to be asking for no conviction to be recorded then you might need to bring evidence on this.

   Learn more with our article on How drink driving matters are heard in Queensland

 

  • A way home: If you plead guilty your licence will be immediately disqualified and you will not be able to drive home.

   Learn more with our article on Do I really need to lose my licence for drink driving?

 

Remember, preparation is key when facing a drink driving charge in Queensland. By gathering all necessary documentation and being organized, you can present your case more effectively and increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome. Additionally, it's important to approach the proceedings with honesty, humility, and a willingness to take responsibility for your actions.

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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.  

Thursday, 01 February 2024 16:49

Drink Driving While Supervising Learner Driver

In Queensland, the responsibility of supervising a learner driver is taken seriously, and this includes adhering to laws regarding alcohol consumption. It is illegal for a person who is supervising a learner driver to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs beyond the legal limit for driving.

 

What is my limit if I am supervising a learner driver?

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when supervising a learner driver in Queensland is typically the same as for driving a car, which is 0.05% BAC as you must hold an open licence to supervise a learner driver.  However, some situations may require a zero alcohol limit, especially if a heavy vehicle is involved.

The laws relating to driving with drugs in the system also apply.

 

Can the police breath test me?

Law enforcement authorities have the power to conduct random breath tests (RBTs) on supervisors of learner drivers, just as they do for regular drivers. If a supervisor is found to be over the legal alcohol limit while supervising a learner driver, they can face penalties similar to those for drink driving, including fines and license disqualification.

 

What does the law say?

Section 79AA of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 states that;

                The supervisor is in charge of the motor vehicle for the purposes of—

(a)the relevant provisions; and

(b)other provisions of this Act applying in relation to any charge, proceedings, conviction or sentence for an offence against a relevant provision.

 

The key phrase is the supervisor is considered to be “in charge of the motor vehicle” .  This means the supervisor is technically in charge of the motor vehicle and the law states that if a person who is  “in charge” they are subject to normal drink driving laws and if found to be over the limit will be charged as if they were the driver.

The relevant provision refers to the section that covers drink driving in Queensland.

 

What will the penalty be for drink driving while supervising a learner?

Please visit our full article on drink driving penalties

 

Could I get a Work Licence if charged?

Perhaps, please see our full article on Work Licences in Queensland.

 

Summary

In summary, drink driving while supervising a learner driver in Queensland is illegal and carries penalties similar to those for regular drink driving offenses. It's crucial for supervisors to prioritize road safety by remaining sober during driving sessions and providing responsible guidance to learner drivers.

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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 traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Wednesday, 24 January 2024 19:04

How to Check Your Demerit Points in Queensland

 

 

Introduction:

 

Demerit points are a crucial aspect of the driving experience in Queensland, serving as a means to regulate and monitor traffic offences. It is essential for drivers to stay informed about their demerit points to ensure they maintain a clean driving record.

Fortunately, Queensland provides an accessible method for individuals to check their demerit points and stay on top of their driving status.

 

Checking Demerit Points in Queensland:

 

Online Services:

The most convenient way to check your demerit points in Queensland is through the official Queensland Government website. The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) offers an online service called "Demerit Points Check" on their website.

 

Accessing the TMR Website:

    • Visit the official TMR website (https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/ ).

    • Navigate to the "Licensing" section, where you will find the "Demerit Points" option.

 

Online Demerit Points Check:

    • Click on the "Licence Demerit Points" option, and you will be directed to the Demerit Points Check service.

    • You then have the option to log into the system using either;

      • TMR using your licence number & DOB; or

      • QGov

    • Follow the prompts and provide any additional information as required to verify your identity.

 

Check Demerit Points Status:

    • Once you have completed the necessary steps, the online service will display your current demerit points status.

    • You will be able to see the number of demerit points you have incurred and whether any demerit points are pending.

    • In addition you can see the class of licences you hold and whether your drivers licence is current or not.

 

Additional Information:

    • It's advisable to check your demerit points regularly to stay informed about your driving record.

 

Contacting TMR:

    • If you encounter any issues or prefer to check your demerit points through alternative means, you can contact the TMR directly for assistance.

 

Conclusion:

 

Staying informed about your demerit points is crucial for responsible driving in Queensland. The online Demerit Points Check service provided by the Department of Transport and Main Roads offers a user-friendly and efficient way for drivers to monitor their demerit points status. By regularly checking your demerit points, you can take proactive steps to ensure you understand how many demerit points you have and if your licence is current so you can avoid offences like unlicensed driving or disqualified driving.

 

 

Friday, 12 January 2024 17:43

Character References for Traffic Charges

When facing a traffic law charge in court, the importance of character references cannot be overstated. These references provide the court with valuable insights into the individual's character, helping judges and legal professionals better understand the person beyond the traffic charges they face. Selecting the right person to vouch for your character is crucial, as their credibility and knowledge about you can significantly impact the court's perception. In this article, we will explore the qualities that make someone the best person to ask for a character reference in a traffic law case.

 

Personal Connection

The ideal character reference should have a close and personal relationship with the individual facing charges. This person should be intimately acquainted with the accused's character, values, and behaviour. Friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors who have spent a considerable amount of time with the individual can offer meaningful insights into their true nature.

 

Professional Standing

In some cases, a character reference from someone in a professional capacity can carry weight in court. Employers, supervisors, or colleagues can speak to the accused's work ethic, integrity, and reliability. This is particularly relevant if the alleged offense is out of character with the individual's professional conduct.

 

Community Involvement

Character references from individuals involved in community activities or volunteer work can be compelling. Those who can attest to the accused's positive contributions to the community can help counterbalance the negative perception that may arise from traffic charges. Leaders or organizers of community groups, religious leaders, or mentors can be excellent choices.

 

Legal Knowledge

Choosing someone with a solid understanding of the legal system and courtroom proceedings can be advantageous. Lawyers, legal professionals, or individuals with experience in traffic justice may be better equipped to articulate the accused's character in a manner that aligns with the legal context. However, it is crucial that this person genuinely knows the individual and can speak authentically about their character.

 

Impartiality

Selecting someone who can present an unbiased and objective perspective is vital. While family and friends may be emotionally invested, it's crucial that the character reference remains objective, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of the individual's character responsibly.

 

What traffic charges benefit from a character reference?

Character references can be beneficial in various traffic-related cases to provide the court with additional context about the defendant's character and behaviour. Here are some types of traffic charges where a character reference might be helpful, along with explanations for each:

  1. Careless Driving

    • A character reference for a careless driving charge can present evidence of the defendant's responsible and careful driving history, potentially helping to show that the careless driving was an isolated incident or out of character.

  2. Drink Driving (DUI)

    • In DUI cases, a character reference can be crucial in demonstrating the defendant's commitment to sobriety, responsible drinking habits (if applicable), and overall responsible behaviour. It can be especially helpful if the defendant has sought rehabilitation or counselling.

  3. Unlicensed Driving:

    • For individuals caught unlicensed driving, a character reference can help establish that the defendant is otherwise a law-abiding citizen who may have faced specific circumstances leading to the license issue. It can support the argument that the defendant is responsible and committed to rectifying the situation.

  4. Dangerous Driving:

    • In dangerous driving matters especially if the incident resulted in an accident, a character reference can illustrate the defendant's general concern for safety and responsibility on the road. It can help show that the incident was an exception rather than a reflection of the defendant's usual behaviour.

  5. Work Licence Applications:

    • A character reference can be used in a work licence application to highlight the defendant's awareness of traffic laws and commitment to following them. It can provide context for any lapses in judgment, emphasising that such behaviour is not typical.

  6. Special Hardship Application:

    • In cases of applying for a special hardship order, a character reference can be instrumental in demonstrating the defendant's understanding of the severity of the situation and efforts made to rectify the license issue. It can support the argument that the defendant is taking steps to comply with their legal requirements.

  7. Evade Police

    • Evade police is a very serious charge and a character reference can be crucial in portraying the defendant as responsible and willing to take responsibility for their actions. It can demonstrate remorse, commitment to making amends, and highlight any mitigating circumstances.

In each case, the character reference should provide specific examples of the defendant's positive attributes, responsible behaviour, and any steps taken to address the situation. It's essential for the reference to be truthful and relevant to the specific traffic charge in question.

 

What goes into a character reference for court?

  • Referee's full name, including titles or qualifications if applicable.

  • Full home or business address of the referee.

  • Explanation of how long and in what capacity the referee has known the person.

  • Acknowledgment that the referee is aware of the offence and has discussed it with the person, including any expressions of remorse.

  • Referee's opinion on the person's character based on their relationship.

  • Referee's opinion on the impact of the offence on the person's attitude and behavior.

  • Any specific issues relevant to the referee (e.g., employer commenting on employment status).

  • Referee's opinion on the likelihood of the person re-offending.

  • Any other relevant information deemed appropriate by the referee.

 

Does the referee need to attend court?

Referees are generally not required to attend Court in person but may choose to do so.  Referees should not expect a response or inquiries about their reference.

 

Is the reference confidential?

  • Court references are read by the person’s lawyer, the police prosecutor, and the sentencing Judge or Magistrate.

  • Once handed to the Court, the reference becomes a public document and remains with the Court file.

  • If confidentiality is desired, the reference should be handed to the defendant in a sealed envelope or forwarded directly to the relevant office.

 

How should the reference be addressed?

  • It should be Addressed to “The Presiding Magistrate” at the relevant Magistrates Court.
  • Clearly state why the referee believes the person is of good character and how they are qualified to assess this.
  • De dated
  • Must be specific and detailed.

 

Conclusion

When seeking a character reference for a traffic law matter, it is essential to prioritize individuals who can provide a comprehensive and honest assessment of the accused. The best character references are those who know the individual intimately, have a positive and unbiased perspective, and can offer valuable insights into their character, values, and contributions to society. Ultimately, a well-chosen character reference can play a crucial role in presenting a more complete picture of the accused, helping the court make a fair and informed decision.

 

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

We have been operating since 2010 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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

Need more information?

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

Thursday, 11 January 2024 18:49

Dangerous Driving Causing Death or GBH

The charge of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm (“GBH”) is a serious offence in Queensland, carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.   Tragically often the tiniest mistake by a driver can lead to a person suffering death or grievous bodily harm and the driver who often has never broken the law before forced to navigate the court system.

If you or someone you know has been charged with this offence, it is crucial to understand the legal implications and seek legal representation immediately.

The purpose of this article is to give some information to a person faced with a charge of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.

 

What constitutes dangerous driving causing death or GBH?

Dangerous driving causing death occurs when a person operates a vehicle in a manner that creates a risk of serious harm or death to others, and this driving directly results in the death or GBH of another person. This can include actions such as:

  • Excessive speeding

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Fatigued driving

  • Distracted driving

  • Ignoring traffic signals and road rules

  • Street racing

 

"Grievous bodily harm" includes serious injuries or disfigurement resulting from an accident. It includes the loss of a distinct part or organ of the body or serious disfigurement or any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health

It is immaterial whether or not medical treatment is or could have been available to the injured person.

 

Aggravating factors

Certain factors can increase the seriousness of the charge and the potential penalty, including:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the offence

  • Exceeding the speed limit by a significant margin

  • Engaging in reckless driving behaviour such as weaving in and out of traffic or ignoring road closures

  • Having a prior history of dangerous driving offences

 

The arrest process and the right to silence

Most often, individuals are arrested for dangerous driving after an accident or a complaint from another motorist. It is crucial to note that one has the right to remain silent and is not obliged to answer police questions.

 

The legal process

If you are charged with dangerous driving causing death, you will be required to appear in court.

Section 328A of the Criminal Code sets out the penalty.

The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that;

  • you were driving a motor vehicle, or you interfered with someone who was; and

  • your driving, or interference, was dangerous; and

  • as a result of your driving or interference, another person was killed or suffered grievous bodily harm.

 

The term "operates a motor vehicle dangerously" involves operating a vehicle at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public, considering various factors such as the;

  • the nature, condition and use of the place; and

  • the vehicle's condition; and

  • The number of people or vehicles that might be expected in the place; and

  • the presence of alcohol or other substances in the driver's body, among others.

 

"Dangerously" is to be given its ordinary meaning of something that presents a real risk of injury or damage. The ordinary meaning of ‘dangerous’ when applied to driving, a manner or speed of driving which gives rise to a risk to others, including motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and the driver’s own passengers.

It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the dangerous operation of the motor vehicle was the sole cause of the deceased’s death or complainant’s grievous bodily harm. It is sufficient for it to show that the dangerous driving was a substantial or significant cause of that result.

 

Who prosecutes the charges?

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will prosecute the matter but will rely on the Queensland Police Service to investigate the matter and obtain the evidence.

 

Penalties for dangerous driving causing death or GBH

The potential penalties for dangerous driving causing death can be severe, including:

  • Imprisonment

  • Disqualification from driving for a significant period

  • Large fines

  • Community service orders

 

Factors considered in determining penalties

Courts consider factors such as the maximum penalty, the nature and seriousness of harm, the offender's history, age, character, and rehabilitation efforts.

 

Defences

There are a few potential defences to the charge of dangerous driving causing death, such as:

  • the absence of dangerous driving

  • necessity due to an emergency

  • being wrongly identified as the driver

  • defects in the vehicle

  • sudden medical conditions

  • extraordinary emergencies.

 

It is important to understand that the expression "operates a vehicle dangerously" in general does not require any given state of mind on the part of the driver as an essential element of the offence. A motorist may believe he or she is driving carefully yet be guilty of operating a vehicle dangerously.

A lawyer would be required to properly advise as to what defences might be available.  If you plead not guilty to the charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle driving causing death or grievous bodily harm because you have a defence then the matter will go to a trial before a jury.

Check out our dedicated page of Dangerous Driving Defences in Queensland.

 

Importance of legal representation

Navigating the legal system after being charged with dangerous driving causing death or GBH can be complex and overwhelming. It is crucial to seek legal representation from a qualified criminal lawyer who has experience with this type of offence.

A lawyer can:

  • Advise you of your rights and legal options

  • Obtain and review evidence

  • Prepare your defence or guilty plea

  • Represent you in court

  • Negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf

  • Ensure you receive the best possible outcome

Never speak to police about any allegation of driving dangerous until you have first spoken to a lawyer.  You have the right to silence when it comes to criminal charges.

 

Possibility of prison sentence

It all depends on what happened, whether alcohol or drugs were involved and the extent of the injuries to the victim.  In most cases you can expect a prison sentence if you plead guilty or are found guilty after a trial for a charge of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.

 

Can the charge be withdrawn?

Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to negotiate the charge with the prosecutor.  This is called case conferencing.  For example it might be possible to try and convince the prosecutor that the offending was only careless and not dangerous and that the charge should be withdrawn or perhaps reduced to careless driving.

Read more about careless driving causing death or GBH.

 

What court hears the matter?

The charge will start in the Magistrates court closest to where the accident occurred but will eventually need to be transferred to the District court to be finalised.

 

How long will the charge take to resolve?

It all depends on whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.  Typically for a guilty plea in the Brisbane Court it might take 9-12 months from the arrest to when it is finalised in the Brisbane District Court. 

 

How long will the licence disqualification be for?

The disqualification period must be at least 6 months but depending on the circumstance of the charge and the traffic history perhaps much longer.  It is not possible to obtain a work licence or hardship licence to allow you to drive during the disqualification.

 

What type of accidents can result in a dangerous driving charge?

A charge for dangerous driving often results from split second errors in judgement.  We have in the past acted for people who have been charged with dangerous driving for;

  • Failing to see a motorcycle before entering an intersection

  • Being temporarily distracted causing the car to run off the road into the other lane of traffic

  • Falling asleep at the wheel resulting in a collision with a power pole and serious injuries to the passenger in the car

  • Turning too sharply on a dirt road causing the vehicle to roll and cause injury to a passenger in the vehicle

  • Driving at excessive speed

In most cases if no person had been injured the driver may only have faced a careless driving charge.

 

Dangerous driving vs. dangerous operation of a motor vehicle

Both terms are synonymous and refer to the same offence.

 

Is this a traffic matter or criminal charge?

It is a criminal charge and if a conviction is recorded it will go on your criminal history.

 

Possibility of criminal conviction

A criminal conviction is very possible, and its impact on travel, employment, and insurance costs should be considered.  Only an experienced traffic lawyer can advise on whether a conviction will likely be recorded or not.

 

Difference Between Careless Driving and Dangerous Driving

Dangerous driving is a more serious charge, considering factors like speed, the nature of the accident location, and the potential risk to others.  The must be some act that is dangerous to other people. 

Careless driving involves failure to exercise the degree of care and attention that a reasonable and prudent driver would have exercised.

 

Young offenders and charges

Special rules apply when sentencing a youth (under 18yrs old) charged with dangerous driving, with the Children's Court operating under the Youth Justice Act 1992.

 

Seeking legal help

If you have been charged with dangerous driving causing death in Queensland, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Contact a reputable criminal lawyer today to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.

                                                                                  

What should I do if charged or accused of dangerous driving causing death or GBH?

Contact us for immediate advice.

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 45 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

 

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

We have been operating since 2010 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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

Need more information?

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

If you are granted a special hardship licence how many demerit points do you have while on the SHO?

 

Background

In the event of a licence suspension where the need to continue driving is imperative, such as for employment purposes, individuals may qualify to apply for a Special Hardship Order (SHO).

A SHO is a legal order issued by the court, permitting a driver with a suspended provisional or open licence to continue driving under specified and restricted conditions.

It's important to distinguish a SHO from a restricted (work) licence, which is applicable in cases of convictions for drink or drug driving offences.

 

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a SHO, the applicant must possess a Queensland provisional or open driver licence that has been suspended due to either:

  1. Accumulating 2 or more demerit points during a one-year period of good driving behaviour.

  2. Committing a high-speed driving offence, exceeding 40km/h over the speed limit.

Applicants with a suspended learner's licence are not eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order.

 

Non-Eligibility

Applicants are ineligible to apply for a SHO if, within the five years preceding the licence suspension, they have:

  1. Experienced a cancellation or suspension of their Queensland driver licence.

  2. Been disqualified from obtaining or holding a Queensland driver licence.

  3. Had their authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland driver licence suspended.

  4. Become ineligible to apply for a Queensland driver licence due to:

    • Excessive demerit points.

    • Conviction of driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit while unlicenced.

    • Conviction of operating a vehicle dangerously.

 

However, exceptions may apply if the individual has faced:

  • Suspension for failing to appear in court for a drink or drug driving charge.

  • Immediate licence suspension due to an alleged drink or drug driving offence.

  • A 24-hour suspension related to a matter concerning drink or drug driving.

  • Suspension imposed by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

 

Understanding these criteria is essential for individuals navigating the SHO application process, ensuring they meet the necessary conditions for eligibility.

 

So how many points do you get on a special hardship order?

You have zero demerit points on a special hardship order.  Any offence that attracts any demerit points will mean your hardship order will be cancelled.

A list of offences that attract demerit points can be found here

Also if your special hardship order is cancelled you will lose your licence for double the double the order period.

Example:- You are 4 months into a 6 month SHO period, you get an infringement notice for speeding 9 km/h over the speed limit.  The offence attracts 1 demerit points so your SHO will be cancelled and your licence will be suspended for 12 months.

 

Can I appeal if my special hardship order is cancelled if I get demerit points?

No.

 

Can I apply for another SHO if my current SHO is cancelled?

Not for 5 years.

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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 varying a special hardship order.

You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.

 

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Friday, 22 December 2023 12:10

Christmas Closure

We will be closed for the Christmas break from 12pm on 22 December until 8:30am on 8 January 2024.

 

Over the Christmas break you can leave a telephone message and from 2 January, until we reopen, we will be checking the messages and responding once per day.  We do have availability to represent clients for matters in January.

 

Alternatively if you would like to book a free telephone conference for when we fully reopen on 8 January you can click this link www.calendly.com/clarity_law

 

We'd like to thank everyone who supported the firm this year and wish everyone a safe and happy festive season.

Wednesday, 20 December 2023 17:06

Varying a Special Hardship Order

Given a special hardship order will last at least 6 months then there will be times when circumstances change and the hardship order needs to be modified.  The question then is can you vary or change a special hardship licence?

 

The basics

A special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence issued when you exceed 2 demerit points on a good driving behaviour period or have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension).  It is also known as a hardship licence, SHO, demerit point licence, good driving behaviour licence or special hardship order.

If you accumulate too many demerit points, TMR will write to you giving you the choice of a licence suspension (usually 3 months) or a 12 month good behaviour driving period where you have 1 demerit point for 12 months (a notice to choose).  

If you elect a good behaviour driving period and incur 2 or more demerit points then you may need to apply for a special hardship licence.

 

Who can apply?

If you have had your licence disqualified by a court in the last five years you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship licence. In most cases, if your licence has been suspended by TMR in the last five years you will also not be able to apply for a special hardship licence unless that suspension related to an unpaid SPER debt.   You must also hold an open or provisional Queensland drivers’ licence to apply for a hardship licence.

 

What the special hardship order usually states

Generally the special hardship order will have a number of conditions imposed by the magistrate.

Those conditions might include;

  • Restricting the days and hours you can drive

  • Restricting whether you can carry passengers

  • Requiring you to complete a logbook

  • Requiring you to wear your work uniform when driving

  • Restricting who you can work for

  • Restricting the type of driving you can do

  • Restricting the types of vehicle you can drive

 

Can you apply to vary a current special hardship order?

Yes, you can apply to vary an existing special hardship order.

 

What might be some reasons I would need to vary a special hardship order?

There are a number of reasons why you might need to seek to vary a special hardship order.  These might include;

  • The hardship order restricts you to a certain employer and you wish to change your job

  • The hardship order restricts the type of driving you are able to do and you a have a new position at work and need to do different driving

  • A family member has become quite sick and you need to drive to take care of them

  • The current order doesn’t allow you to drive with a passenger in the car but your work now requires you to drive an apprentice

  • You are only allowed to drive certain vehicles but your work now requires you to drive a different class of vehicle

 

How to seek a variation of a special hardship order?

A variation requires you to apply back to the magistrates court closet to where you live to change the order.

 

What material needs to be filed with the court?

It would, at a minimum, require you to file in court the following;

  1. An affidavit of yourself

  2. An affidavit of your employer (if appropriate)

  3. Variation of special hardship order form

 

What do I need to prove to the court?

You need to prove that not varying the current special hardship order would cause one or both of the following;

  • extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living

  • severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

 

You also need to prove you are a fit and proper person to continue to drive, having regard to your traffic history and the safety of other road users and the public generally.

In essence you need to prove all the things that you did when you first made the application for a special hardship order plus the reason why the court should now change the current special hardship order.

 

Conclusion

It is possible to seek to change an existing special hardship order but it requires detailed affidavit’s and information to be filed as well as a court appearance.

It is not possible just to show up at court and seek to have them vary the current order.

 

Can you help me make an application to vary the hardship licence?

Yes, we absolutely can.

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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 varying a special hardship order.

You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.

 

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

 

Tuesday, 19 December 2023 13:56

What to do if you receive a notice to choose?

Drivers in Queensland who exceed their demerit point limit will be sent a notice to choose.  It is critical that you understand the consequence of the choices set down in that notice to choose.

 

Demerit Points: The Basics

In Queensland, accumulating demerit points is not about losing points but rather starting with zero and adding points for specific traffic offenses. The demerit point system aims to promote responsible driving behaviour and ensure road safety.

 

What is a Notice to Choose?

If you accrue 12 or more demerit points within a three-year period on your Queensland open licence, or 4 or more on a provisional licence you will receive an 'Accumulation of demerit points – notice to choose' from Qld Transport and Main Roads (“TMR”).

This notice to choose presents you with two options:

  1. License Suspension: You can opt to have your open licence suspended for a requisite period.

  2. Good Driving Behaviour Period: Alternatively, you can agree to continue driving under a period of good driving behaviour for one year.

 

What is a Good Driving Behaviour Period?

It is in essence a 2nd chance.  Even when you have gone through your demerit points the government has allowed you to elect a one year period where you can drive as you have but with an important restriction being that you only have 1 demerit point for that year.

 

Why Choose a Good Driving Behaviour Period?

If you find yourself nearing the demerit point limit, opting for a good driving behaviour period allows you to keep your license. It's a second chance to rectify your driving habits.  Its critical to understand however if you accrue 2 or more demerit points on a good driving behaviour period then your licence will be suspended.

 

Why not Choose a Good Driving Behaviour Period?

Generally people choose not to elect a good driving behaviour period as they don’t think they can drive for 12 months without incurring more demerit points and would rather serve a shorter suspension now and “get back” their full demerit points now.

 

What if I Don’t Make the Choice by the Due Date?

Failure to choose between suspension and a good driving behaviour period by the specified date results in automatic license suspension. The duration of the suspension depends on the incurred demerit points.

  • 12–15 points: 3 months

  • 16–19 points: 4 months

  • 20 or more points: 5 months (for open license holders)

 

How do I Elect a Good Driving Behaviour Period?

To choose the good driving behaviour period (or suspension) , wait for the "Accumulation of demerit points – notice to choose" from TMR

You can elect it by;

 

Duration of the Good Driving Behaviour Period

The good driving behaviour period lasts for 12 months, during which you're allowed only 1 demerit point. Exceeding this limit results in generally a 6-month license suspension but can be longer if you incurred a lot of demerit points on your good driving behaviour period.

 

I Went Over my Demerit Points on a Good Driving Behaviour Period!

If you breach your good driving behaviour period but need to continue to drive, a special hardship order might be an option.

A special hardship licence allows you to drive for certain reasons specified by the court during your licence suspension.

Eligibility criteria include not having your licence suspended or disqualified in the last 5 years and demonstrating severe and unusual hardship, such as loss of income.

  • Restrictions may include driving only for work-related activities or personal reasons allowed by the court

  • The court may impose additional conditions, like maintaining a logbook.

 

An application for a special hardship order must be made in the closet Magistrates Court to where you live.

We have a full guide to special hardship orders that you should read as it goes into all the details you need to know about special hardship orders.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don't make a choice?

Failure to choose by the specified date leads to automatic license suspension.

 

What if I haven't received the notice to choose?

Contact TMR immediately to avoid unintended suspension.

 

Can I change my choice later?

Contact TMR promptly if there's a valid reason for not receiving the notice but likely there is nothing you can do.

 

Where is my closet TMR office?

You can find your closet TMR office by clicking here.

 

Can you help us with Demerit Points?

No, we cannot give advice or help in regards to demerit points.  This guide was just to help drivers better understand the consequences of receiving a notice to choose.

If however you exceed 1 demerit point on a good driving behaviour period we can assist you in applying for a special hardship order if you qualify.

 

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

 

Drink driving and drug driving charges in Queensland require an attendance in court and aren’t just matters that can be resolved through the issue of a ticket.  Clients often ask us will I get any demerit points for a drink or drug driving charge?

 

Demerit points in Queensland

The law specifies that certain traffic offences automatically attract demerit points.  For example it is well known that speeding infringements along with a fine will attract demerit points.

Less well known are certain offences that can be dealt with in court, for example careless driving, also attract demerit points.

See the demerit points schedule for a list of common offences and the demerit points that apply for

 

 

Can a court impose demerit points?

A judge or magistrate cannot impose demerit points and neither can they say demerit points should not be applied.  If you are found guilty or plead guilty to certain offences in court then demerit points are automatically imposed. 

If the law does not mandate that an offence carries demerit points then no demerit points will be incurred.

 

 

What about drug or drink driving charges?

Drink driving and drug driving charges do not incur demerit points.  A court will disqualify a person’s licence but demerit points are not applied to the charge.

 

 

Need more information?

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

 

 

Monday, 11 December 2023 14:29

Racing a vehicle on a road

Queensland law makes it illegal to take part or promote a race or speed trial between vehicles without a permit.

While certainly a fast and furious style street race would be illegal in Queensland so would less organised types of racing say like 2 cars accelerating on a green light to see who has the fastest car.

 

The law

Section 85 of the Transport Operations (Road use Management) Act 1995 makes it an offence to take part in a race or speed trial on a road in Queensland.

 

How can the offence come about?

Examples of the charge of racing of the road have included;

  • Vehicles were next to each other on a highway and slowed to a speed of about 90kph before accelerating simultaneously. The vehicles reached a speed of 180kph before slowing

  • Two vehicles stationary side by side, engines of both revving loudly. Both vehicles then accelerated quickly over a distance of some 400 metres and reached speeds estimated at between 90 and 100kph in a 60kph zone.

  • Two cars unknown to each other met at traffic lights in different lanes. Both revved engines and without formally agreeing to a race took off on the green light in race of speed.

  • Drifting race in an industrial area late Saturday night

 

What does the prosecutor need to prove?

The prosecutor needs to prove the following;

  1. There was a race

  2. The race was between vehicles

  3. The race took place on a road

 

There is no definition of a “race” in the legislation.  In that case it would be up to the court to determine based on all the facts and using the common meaning of racing whether a race actually occurred.

Vehicle is defined as “any type of transport that moves on wheels and a hovercraft but does not include a train or tram”

Road is defined as

  1. open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as 1 of its uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise; or

  2. dedicated to public use as a road; but does not include an area declared under a regulation not to be a road.

Example of an area that is a road—

a bridge, cattle grid, culvert, ferry, ford, railway crossing, shopping centre car park, tunnel or viaduct

 

What is the penalty?

The offence is punishable by a fine of up to 40 penalty units ($6,192) or six months imprisonment.  In addition anyone found guilty or the offence will face a 6 month loss of licence.

 

Can I get a work licence?

You cannot get a work licence if found guilty of racing a vehicle on the road.

 

When can the charge turn into dangerous driving?

If the police alleged that the racing was dangerous then the charge can be upgraded to dangerous driving which is a must more serious offence.

Dangerous is to be given its ordinary meaning of something that presents a real risk of injury or damage. The ordinary meaning of ‘dangerous’ is ‘fraught with or causing danger; involving risk; perilous; hazardous; unsafe’.

 

Can the charge be withdrawn?

Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to negotiate the charge with the prosecutor.  This is called case conferencing.  For example it might be possible to try and convince the prosecutor that no race took place and that the charge should be withdrawn or perhaps reduced to a much less serious charge that carries no licence disqualification.

 

What should I do if charged with racing on a road or highway?

Contact us for immediate advice.

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 45 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

 

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

We have been operating since 2010 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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

Most people would be aware that certain drink driving charges allow you to apply for a work licence to keep driving for work purposes.  The question is, can a person charged with drug driving also apply for a work licence?

 

What are the conditions to be able to apply for a work licence

To apply for a work licence you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • at the time of the offence, you held a current Queensland open driver licence

  • at the time of the offence, you were not driving for your job (there are some exceptions)

  • in the last five years, you have not been convicted anywhere of a drink or drug driving offence

  • in the last five years, you have not been disqualified or had your licence suspended or cancelled in Queensland

 

Who cannot apply?

You cannot apply for a work licence if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

  • at the time of the offence, you were driving a motor vehicle that you were not authorised to drive

  • you held a provisional licence or learners permit

  • your blood alcohol level exceeded 0% while driving a truck or taxi

  • your BAC reading was above .15 (high range drink driving) or you were charged with driving under the influence of a drug.

If you have a drink or drug driving matter and are not eligible to apply for a work licence then we can help minimise your period of licence disqualification just visit our drink driving or drug driving webpage for more information.

 

What exactly is a work licence?

A work licence allows a person to drive for purposes directly connected with the means of earning an income.  A work licence is available to employed and self-employed people.  A work licence will allow you to drive to and from your place of work using the shortest route possible as well as drive for any required work duties.

A work licence cannot under any circumstances allow you to drive for personal reasons such as shopping, picking up your children, going to the doctor etc.

 

What types of drug driving charges are there in Queensland?

There are two types of drug driving charges in Queensland.  They are:

  1. Drug driving - Under the influence
  2. Drug Driving - Relevant drug in your system

You cannot apply for work licence if you have a charge of drug driving under the influence.

 

Driving with a relevant drug in your system

The is the lessor of the drug driving charges.  It is generally imposed where a salvia test shows up positive but the person is not otherwise showing any signs or indicia of being affected by that drug.

For an open licence holder with no previous disqualification in the last 5 years the minimum disqualification starts at 1 month and can go as high as 9 months.  In many cases a person in this situation could apply for a work licence.

 

Driving under the influence of a drug

Driving under the influence of a drug (“DUI”) is the more serious of the drug driving charges in Queensland.  It is generally charged where a person is showing signs of being affected by drugs or where there is an accident and a blood sample is taken, tested and found to contain high levels of drugs.

The minimum disqualification period for this charge is 6 months, if the person has no previous convictions. 

You can be charged with driving under the influence of any type of drug not just the ones tested for in the salvia test.  This means you can be charged with drug driving even on legally prescribed drugs.

You cannot apply for a work licence if charges with this offence.

 

So can a drug driver apply for a work licence?

Yes, a person charge with drug driving can apply for a work licence as long as the following apply;

  1. The conditions mentioned earlier are met and there are no disqualifying conditions

  2. That the charge was drug driving with a relevant drug in your system and not drug driving under the influence

  3. You pass the following work licence tests

    1. You are a fit and proper person to hold a work licence; and

    2. You will lose your job or income if you aren’t granted a work licence

 

 

How do I know if I’m charged with drug driving under the influence or with a relevant drug?

The police should have written it on your notice to appear in court.

Otherwise if you were given a notice of suspension of your licence for 24 hours then this is likely a sign you were charged with drug driving with a relevant drug.

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat fee of $1,999 for applying for a work licence, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other South East Queensland law firm can match our prices and experience. Our price includes;

  • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty

  • contact with the police prosecution unit to obtain your traffic history and charge documents

  • drafting all affidavit material

  • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)

  • all telephone calls, emails and meetings with you

  • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards

  • appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drug driving charge and for the work licence application

 

If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s 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 and work licences. 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. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

 

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

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken almost 1,000 successful work licence applications 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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

  7. Visit our main Work Licence or Drug Driving pages.

 

Need more information?

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

 

Tuesday, 17 October 2023 19:19

Interlocks and Work Licences

If you need to apply for a work licence will you need to install an interlock? and what happens if you need a work licence but cannot install an interlock?

 

What is a work licence?

In Queensland, a work licence allows you to drive for work purposes even if you’ve been charged with an offence of drink driving or drug driving. This licence may be requested if your job requires regular driving, or if it’s a necessary condition of your employment, and not having a licence risks your job, potentially leading to financial hardships.

Eligibility for a work licence is determined based on several factors:

  • You must hold a current Queensland open driver licence at the time of applying for a work licence.

  • You need to have held a Queensland open driver licence at the time of the offence.

  • At the time of the offence, you cannot have been driving for your employment or work purposes.

  • You can’t have been convicted of any drink or drug driving offence, anywhere, or failed to provide blood or breath sample in the last five years.

  • You can’t have been disqualified from holding a licence, had your licence disqualified, suspended or cancelled in Queensland in the last five years.

  • You can’t have been convicted of dangerous driving in Queensland in the last five years.

  • Your blood alcohol concentration level must have been recorded to be below 0.15%.

  • At the time of offence, you should not have been driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol concentration to be zero.

Your work licence may have certain restrictions imposed, such as the time and purpose of driving, the type of vehicle that you can drive, the carrying of passengers while driving, and the period that the work licence is issued for.

Applications for work licences should be made to the Magistrates Court that is to hear the drink or drug driving offence. This application needs to be made before a plea of guilty is made.

Learn more about work licences

 

What is an interlock?

An interlock device in Queensland is a device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. To start the vehicle, the driver must provide a breath sample. The vehicle only starts if no alcohol is detected. A random breath sample may be requested during a journey. The interlock records data including all breath samples (including when the vehicle doesn’t start), when the vehicle is used, and interlock service information.

The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program applies to drivers who are convicted of high-range or mid-range drink driving offences. You need to participate in the interlock program if you are convicted of any of the following offences:

  • Drive, or attempt to put in motion or be in charge of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol

  • Drive, or attempt to put in motion or be in charge of a vehicle with a blood/breath alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, or 0.10 or more (offences committed on or after 10 September 2021)

  • Failing to provide a blood/breath specimen for analysis

  • Dangerous driving while affected by alcohol

  • Two or more low drink driving offences within the past five years.

You need to have an interlock device installed in the vehicle you drive during your time in the interlock program. If you are required to drive multiple vehicles for work or other purposes, each vehicle must be fitted with the interlock device. 

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle that is not fitted with an interlock where the driver is subject to an interlock condition.

 

How does an interlock work?

An alcohol ignition interlock device operates in the following way:

  1. Start-up Test: Before the vehicle can be started, the driver must provide a breath sample into the interlock device. The device analyses the breath sample for alcohol. If the alcohol concentration of the sample is below the pre-set limit, the vehicle can be started.

  2. Random Re-tests: After the vehicle has been started, the interlock device will randomly require additional breath samples during the journey. This is to ensure that a sober friend didn’t provide the initial breath sample and that the driver hasn’t consumed alcohol since first starting the vehicle.

  3. Data Recording: The interlock device records data such as all breath samples provided (including instances when the vehicle doesn’t start due to a failed test), when and how long the vehicle is used, and any attempts to tamper with or circumvent the device.

  4. Regular Servicing: The interlock device must be serviced regularly by an approved service provider. During these service appointments, data from the device is downloaded and any necessary calibrations or repairs are made.

  5. Violation Consequences: If a violation (such as a failed breath test or missed service appointment) is detected during a service appointment, consequences may include an extension of your interlock period.

 

Do I need to install an interlock on a work licence?

If your offence was low range then no you don’t need to install an interlock.

If your offence was mid-range drink driving then yes you must install an interlock before you can start driving under a work licence.

 

What if I can’t install an interlock under a work licence?

If it is not possible to install an interlock on each vehicle that you need to drive under a work licence then you should seriously consider not applying for a work licence.

If you are a mid range drink driver and apply for a work licence but cannot install the interlock then you will not be able to drive under the work licence.  Worse is that if you cannot get an interlock installed but applied for work licence then the court likely gave you a longer disqualification then if you had not applied for a work licence.

 

How do I decide whether to apply for a work licence or not?

Trying to decide whether to apply for a work licence or not, if your offence was mid range drink driving, can be hard.  You really need to look at the following:

  1. Work out what vehicles you would need to drive under a work licence.

  2. Speak to your employer about whether they would be willing to install an interlock in those vehicles (don’t forget you need to install an interlock in all vehicles you drive including the vehicle you drive to and from work even if that vehicle is owned by you).

  3. Speak to an experienced traffic lawyer to find out if you can apply for a work licence.  Also find out from your lawyer how long your disqualification would be with and without a work licence.

  4. Make a decision whether to apply for a work licence.

 

Can I get an interlock exemption?

There are only very limited grounds to seek an exemption from the requirements to install an interlock.  The exemptions are:

  1. Living in a Remote Location: If you reside more than 150 kilometres away from the nearest interlock installer, you may be exempt. Proof of residence, such as lease documents, mortgage certificates, or utility bills, must be provided.

  2. Living on an Island: If you live on an island not connected to the mainland by a bridge, you may be exempt. Similar to the remote location exemption, proof of residence is required.

    • Certain islands are excluded from this exemption list, including Coochiemudlo Island, Fraser Island, Karragarra Island, Lamb Island, Macleay Island, Magnetic Island, North Stradbroke Island, Orpheus Island, and Russell Island.

  3. Medical Condition Preventing Breath Sample: If you have a medical condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample, you may be exempt. Your doctor needs to complete a specific form for this exemption.

  4. Family Severe Hardship: If your family would face severe hardship without the exemption, it might be granted. This hardship must not be related to employment.

    • It's important to note that the exemption does not apply to education, financial reasons, or work-related driving.

    • Examples of severe hardship might include having only one vehicle available, a family member with a medical condition preventing a breath sample, or no other transportation options.

    • "Severe hardship" refers to a situation where a person's life is significantly negatively impacted. It's a serious or intense difficulty.

    • Evidence may include statutory declarations, ownership records of family vehicles, or letters from interlock installers.

 

To apply for an exemption, it can be done online or in person at a TMR location using a specific form.

Some additional points to consider:

  • Exemptions are rarely granted and apply to a limited number of cases.

  • The application must be submitted before the interlock program starts.

  • Evidence supporting the application is necessary.

  • Even if an exemption is granted, other penalties for the drink driving offense still apply, including fines, disqualification from driving, and completion of a drink driving course.

 

Learn more about interlock exemptions

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

 

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 traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Thursday, 12 October 2023 11:56

Defence of sudden emergency

 

What happens if you believe you are forced to do an illegal act in Queensland due to a sudden emergency arising ?  Is there a defence to this extraordinary emergency and what would happen in court if you are charged?

 

What is the defence of sudden or emergency driving?

Section 25 of the Criminal Code (QLD) provides that;

Extraordinary emergencies

Subject to the express provisions of this Code relating to acts done upon compulsion or provocation or in self-defence, a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission done or made under such circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency that an ordinary person possessing ordinary power of self-control could not reasonably be expected to act otherwise.

 

The elements of the defence are as follows ;

  • The first element requires consideration as to whether there was circumstances of sudden or extreme emergency. The word emergency carries its ordinary meaning.

  • The second element requires consideration as to whether the defendant’s act or omission was done or made under the circumstances of sudden or extreme emergency. The requirement that the act or omission was “done or made under” such circumstances requires that the defendant acted as the defendant did because of the stress of those circumstances upon the defendant. If the circumstances in  the first element were not known to the defendant or if the defendant behaved as the defendant did for reasons unrelated to those circumstances, then it will not have been an act or omission done or made under those circumstances.

  • The third element requires a look at the circumstances of sudden or extreme emergency under which the defendant may have acted. The court must look at were those circumstances such that an ordinary person possessing ordinary powers of self-control could not reasonably be expected to act otherwise?  To exclude this element the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant’s reaction in the circumstances was outside what you could reasonably expect of an ordinary person with ordinary powers of self-control. 

 

A person in a sudden or extraordinary emergency may make what appears in calm hindsight to be a wrong choice but you must look at the situation as it presented itself in the emergency of the moment.  The defendant is not expected to be wiser or better than an ordinary reasonable person in the same circumstances; and you will appreciate that a person in an emergency cannot always weigh up and deliberate about what action is best to take.  Such a person must act quickly and do the best the person can.

 

If the prosecution cannot exclude any of the other elements either, the defence will apply to excuse the defendant from criminal responsibility and therefore the defendant will be found not guilty.  

 

When could the defence apply?

Lets look at the types of offences that the defence of emergency driving might apply to.

 

Disqualified driving

The leading case in Queensland giving guidance as to the application of section 25 of the Criminal Code for a disqualified driving charge is Moores v Pearce

 

The facts of the case were

  • The appellant, Tod Moores, was taking care of a sick 3½-year-old child

  • The child's temperature was elevated, leading to increased irritability

  • The appellant attempted to contact the child's parent and monitored the child's condition

  • The appellant's partner, an enrolled endorsed nurse, arrived later and was too ill to drive

  • The decision to drive for medication was made, leading to interception by police as Mr Moores licence at the time was disqualified

 

The Magistrate found that the most reasonable options were to seek medical advice by phone or by calling an ambulance, but Mr Moores did not pursue these. 

 

Mr Moore argued that the situation was not yet so dire that an ambulance should be called.  He also argued public transport was not available and that he could not afford a taxi.

 

Mr Moore was found guilty of disqualified driving by the magistrate.  He then appealed the decision saying he had a defence of extraordinary emergency.

 

The appeal court found he did have a defence and should be found not guilty.   The appeal judge found that the prosecution led no evidence about what the result would have been at the time if Mr Moore had exercised any of the choices that the magistrate held were reasonably open for him. Importantly, there was no evidence that the advice given would have been be to the effect that it was unnecessary to obtain relevant medication for such a child, such as Panadol. In the absence of relevant contrary evidence, it is not beyond reasonable doubt that the ordinary person possessing ordinary power of self-control in the sudden emergency then being confronted could reasonably be expected to act as if there were no other realistic alternative choices to driving, even for a person disqualified from driving.

 

 This case provides some insight on how the defence of emergency applies to disqualified driving charges in Queensland.  In particular the summary in paragraph 16 of the decision that provides

 

…On appeal, it was held, first, that, relevantly, in order to negative the defence, the tribunal of fact must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that, in the circumstances that it found, “the ordinary person could reasonably be expected to act otherwise” (emphasis added): at [17]. This meant that, accordingly, if in such circumstances it was reasonable to expect that an ordinary person with ordinary powers of self-control could have acted as the defendant did, the defence would not have been excluded: also at [17]. Secondly, it was held that the ordinary person means an ordinary person “in the position of the defendant …

                                                

Once the defence is raised at a trial it would be up the Prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defence was excluded as was stated at paragraph 24 in Moores v Pearce;

 

…there is no onus on an defendant to raise a reasonable doubt where s 25 is prospectively engaged since, once an defendant person has satisfied the evidentiary onus, the onus of excluding the operation of the excuse beyond reasonable doubt is on the prosecution: at [23]. Usefully, that judgment contained a reference to a much cited text of R S O’Regan as proposing that s 25 provides a residual defence to protect the “morally innocent” where other defences do not apply…

 

Another disqualified driving charge was the matter of Berbic v Steger 

The facts of the case were that;

  • the defendant had previously had his licence disqualified and could not legally drive

  • the partner of the defendant drove them both to an internet café at Sunnybank Hills in Queensland

  • at about 11.30 pm the partner obtained a meal at a fast food outlet, which she ate back at the internet café, and stayed there with the defendant

  • about an hour later, she became really sick.  She felt nausea and started vomiting.  She went to a toilet which was outside the café

  • the pain became worse and she was crying and screaming. She phoned her father to come and get her but he was unable to because he was himself not well, then she asked her sister who said she could not be there for an hour

  • she said she was in so much pain she just wanted to go home and she was pleading with the defendant to take her because she just wanted to get out of there.  She continually asked him to do it, and he started to drive her home

  • on the way, she had really sharp pains in her stomach and asked him to take her instead to a hospital.  Before she reached there, however, she felt as though she was going to throw up again, and asked the appellant to pull into a service station

  • the appellant did so, she got out and went to the toilet where she was sick again

  • the defendant was found by police in the drivers seat and arrested for disqualified driving

 

The cases provides that an ordinary person, that being an ordinary person in the position of the defendant could have acted as the defendant did.  The word “could” is critical.

 

Dangerous Driving

Section 25 can be a defence to a dangerous driving charge. Cases where the defence of emergency have been successful in dangerous driving cases in Queensland include;

 

R v Sheldon

This is one of the more interesting cases where the defence of emergency might exist.

The facts were that;

 

  • the defendant and his two passengers were driving away from the IGA store at Mudgeeraba, where they had committed a break and enter

 

  • the defendant was driving a late model VW Golf (“the VW”), in which were three persons and a safe weighing some 20 kilograms which had been taken from the IGA store

 

  • as the defendant drove along Spencer Road he noticed an odour and asked one of the passenger in the rear seat whether the odour was emanating from the safe

 

  • after making the enquiry about the odour, the defendant felt something heavy hit his shoulder which then slipped onto his lap. He thought that the passenger in the rear had lifted the safe and rested it on the shoulder of the driver’s seat from where it fell onto him

 

  • the defendant then took his eyes off the road and used both arms in an attempt to push the safe back into the rear seat

 

  • the VW collided with the rear of a parked truck

 

  • both passengers in the VW were killed

 
The defendant was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death at the trial.

 

He appealed and the appeal judges found that the jury should have had an opportunity to consider whether the defendant was not guilty due to the defence of sudden emergency.  A retrial was ordered.

 

 

R v Warner

The defendant, while driving late at night along Ipswich Road in Queensland, became aware that another vehicle had come up behind him, and was being driven very close to the rear of his vehicle, and continued to do so both when the defendant reduced his speed to well under the speed limit, and when he increased it to significantly above the speed limit.

 

He said that he became scared of the other driver’s intentions, and drove at high speed in an attempt to escape. At one point, the other vehicle actually bumped into the rear of his vehicle.

 

The defendant was found guilty of dangerous driving but appealed the decision. On appeal the court found that the defence of extraordinary emergency was valid. A new trial was ordered. His Honour said:

 

There is quite a significant body of evidence to the effect that a rather terrifying situation may have been created by the driver of the other vehicle and that the defendant may have been acting in response to it from fear and to avoid the risk of harm at the hands of the other driver.

 

 

What would a “sudden” emergency mean?

If there are no circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency, then the defence will not apply. The courts in Queensland still haven’t entirely decided how an extraordinary emergency which is not also “sudden” could occur.

The courts have generally assigned a meaning to “emergency” that extends beyond circumstances that are urgent or time imperative. However, the Court has also considered that the concept of a “sudden emergency” may be taken to refer to the manner in which the emergency arose, rather than speaking to the timing of the required response.

 

Summary

The elements of the defence of sudden or extraordinary emergency in Queensland are;

  1. there existed circumstances of sudden or extreme emergency; and

  2. the defendant’s act or omission was done or made under those circumstances; and

  3. those circumstances were such that an ordinary person possessing ordinary powers of self-control could not reasonably be expected to act otherwise.

 

If the prosecution cannot exclude beyond reasonable doubt the possibility that these three elements were all present at the time of the alleged offence then the defence will and the defendant will be found not guilty of the offence.

 

One of the people who drafted the legislation described section 25 as;

This section gives effect to the principle that no man is expected (for the purposes of the criminal law at all events) to be wiser and better than all mankind. It is conceived that it is a rule of the common law, as it undoubtedly is a rule upon which any jury would desire to act. It may, perhaps, be said that it sums up nearly all the common law rules as to excuses for an act which is prima facie criminal.’

 

Why should I engage Clarity Law?

Quite frankly we care about getting the right outcome for our clients and helping them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

In the face of a traffic charge, selecting the right legal representation is paramount, and Clarity Law offers a unique blend of proficiency and empathy that sets us apart. Our firm is dedicated to providing clarity in the often complex world of traffic law. We believe that every client deserves a clear understanding of their rights and the legal process they're navigating.

Our experienced team of lawyers approaches each case with a commitment to open communication, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a proven track record of securing favourable outcomes, we have the expertise to navigate even the most intricate legal challenges.

At Clarity Law, we strive not only to be your staunch advocates but also to provide a supportive, understanding environment during this trying time. Choosing Clarity Law means choosing a team that will tirelessly work to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

You can read more about our founder, Steven Brough’s, journey to starting Clarity Law by clicking here

 

 

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure Queensland law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

Need more information?

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

 

What our clients say about us

Thursday, 28 September 2023 16:16

Unlicensed Driving Due to SPER Suspension

One of the more common charges that can bring a person before the court is a charge of unlicensed driving.  There are a number of different ways a person can become unlicensed but this article focuses on unlicensed driving due to an unpaid SPER debt.

 

What is unlicensed driving due to a SPER debt?

The State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) is tasked by the government with the collection of debts owed to the state.  It has the option of suspending a person’s drivers licence to try and force them to pay their SPER debt.  When a person’s licence is suspended and they are caught driving then the police must give them a notice to appear in a Magistrates court.

 

 

How does this offence usually occur?

In most cases we have seen the offence occurs as a result of a person’s licence being suspended by SPER and the driver simply doesn’t realise it has occurred or does know but takes the chance to keep driving.

 

 

But I didn’t know my licence was suspended

This is very common.  The law requires that SPER notify you by letter at your last known address.  The law does not require that SPER prove that you received the letter of suspension only that it was sent.  As people move addresses and fail to update their address then these problems can occur.

 

 

What should I do if charged?

The first step would be to ring SPER and get the suspension lifted.  The next step is to seek legal advice.

 

 

What penalties can the court impose?

The court will impose a fine and in addition the court must impose a disqualification.  The disqualification period must be no less then 1 month and no more than 6 months.

 

 

Can I get a work licence?

No.  There is no ability to apply for a work licence or a special hardship licence.

We have more information about unlicensed driving

 

I can’t get a licence disqualification: what can be done?

If you have personal or financial reasons that means you must keep driving and cannot take even the minimum disqualification of 1 month then the only option is to try and negotiate with the police prosecutor to try and get the charge reduced to one that does not carry a mandatory period of disqualification. 

Negotiations with the prosecutor is known as case conferencing and is absolutely best done by an experienced traffic lawyer. 

The purpose of the negotiations would be to try and convince the prosecutor to either withdraw the charge completely (which is unlikely) or reduce it to a different type of unlicensed driving charge that carries no mandatory loss of licence.  If the prosecutor agrees to this then there is a very good chance the magistrate will only impose a fine for the reduced charge and not disqualify a persons drivers licence.

We have more information about negotiating with the prosecutor.

 

 

What factors would the prosecutor look at in deciding whether to reduce the charge?

Negotiations with the prosecutor is very complex and should only be attempted by an experienced traffic lawyer.  The cost of hiring a lawyer would likely be less than the cost of taxis, ubers and general inconvenience if you do the negotiations yourself, fail and have your licence suspended by the courts.

In general however the prosecutor would likely be looking at the following in deciding whether to reduce or withdraw the charge through negotiations;

  1. The defendant’s traffic or criminal history

  2. The reasons the SPER suspension was imposed

  3. Whether the SPER debt has now been paid or a payment plan entered into

  4. The reason the defendant needs to drive

  5. The impact a disqualification will have

  6. The public interest in allowing someone to keep driving

 

 

I will lose my job without a licence

If you will lose your job then the only option would be to try and negotiate with the police prosecutor over the charge.

 

Can’t I just plead with the magistrate not to take my licence?

Unless the prosecutor has agreed to reduce the charge then the magistrates hands are tied.  They must disqualify your licence for between 1 and 6 months, they have no discretion to go below 1 month of disqualification.

For more information

 

Can you help me?

We absolutely can.  We have the knowledge and experience to give you the best chance of the court giving the minimum disqualification 1 month or to negotiate to reduce the charge with the police prosecutor and try and convince the magistrate not to take your licence.

We can help in any court in South East Queensland, from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and up to Maryborough and out to Toowoomba.

We have offices at;

Maroochydore

Brisbane

Brendale

Gold Coast

Ipswich

Loganholme

Hervey Bay

 

What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. 

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other South East Queensland law firm can match our prices and experience. Our prices include;

To see what we will for a guilty plea on a unlicensed driving charge or to negotiate with the prosecutor  click here

 

 

Why should I engage Clarity Law?

Quite frankly we care about getting the right outcome for our clients and helping them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

In the face of a traffic charge, selecting the right legal representation is paramount, and Clarity Law offers a unique blend of proficiency and empathy that sets us apart. Our firm is dedicated to providing clarity in the often complex world of traffic law. We believe that every client deserves a clear understanding of their rights and the legal process they're navigating.

Our experienced team of lawyers approaches each case with a commitment to open communication, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a proven track record of securing favourable outcomes, we have the expertise to navigate even the most intricate legal challenges.

At Clarity Law, we strive not only to be your staunch advocates but also to provide a supportive, understanding environment during this trying time. Choosing Clarity Law means choosing a team that will tirelessly work to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

You can read more about our founder, Steven Brough’s, journey to starting Clarity Law by clicking here

 

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

 

Need more information?

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

Tuesday, 26 September 2023 17:24

Failing to Remain at the Scene of an Accident

As a traffic lawyer in Queensland, I often encounter cases involving individuals who find themselves in a precarious situation after being involved in a car accident. When someone is injured, it is imperative to understand the legal obligations outlined in Section 92 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act Qld this is the section that covers the charge of failing to remain at the scene of an accident. This article will shed light on the intricacies of this offence and provide guidance on how to proceed if you find yourself charged with leaving the scene of an accident where someone has been injured or killed in Queensland.

 

What must I do if I am involved in a car accident where someone is injured?

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident where someone is injured, it is crucial to take immediate action. First and foremost, ensure the safety of all parties involved by moving to a safe location if possible. Contact emergency services and provide them with accurate information about the location and the nature of the injuries.

Additionally, exchange details with the other parties, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. If possible, collect the names and contact information of any witnesses.

You must remain at or near the scene of the accident and render help.

 

What is the offence of failing to remain at the scene of the accident?

The offence of failing to remain at the scene of an accident, as outlined in Section 92 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act, pertains to the legal requirement for individuals involved in an accident to stay at the scene and render assistance when someone is injured or killed in that crash.

Failing to do so may result in serious legal consequences.

 

What does the law say?

Section 92 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act Queensland states that in regards to a failure to remain at the scene of an accident:

The driver of any vehicle, tram or animal involved on any road, or of any motor vehicle involved elsewhere than on a road, in an incident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall—

(a)immediately stop the vehicle, tram or animal; and

(b)if any person is injured—

(i)remain at or near the scene of the incident and immediately render such assistance as the driver can to the injured person; and

(ii)make reasonable endeavours to obtain such medical and other aid as may reasonably be required for the injured person; and

(c)if any person is dead or apparently dead—

(i)remain at or near the scene of the incident; and

(ii)exhibit proper respect for the person’s body and take whatever steps are reasonably practicable to have the body removed to an appropriate place.

 

What does the prosecutor need to prove?

To secure a conviction for failing to remain at an accident, the prosecutor must establish several key elements:

  1. The driver was involved in an accident

  2. In the accident another person was injured or killed

  3. The driver

    1. failed to remain at or near the scene; or

    2. did not make reasonable endeavours to obtain such medical and other aid as may reasonably be required for the injured person; or

    3. did not exhibit proper respect for the person’s body and take whatever steps are reasonably practicable to have the body removed to an appropriate place if someone was killed.

 

What is the penalty?

The penalty for failing to remain at the scene of an accident can be severe.   If the accident caused death or grievous bodily harm to another person and the driver left the scene of the accident the maximum sentence is 3 years in prison. 

If the injury was less than grievous bodily harm then the penalty is up to 1 year in prison.

Grievous bodily harm is defined as;

  1. the loss of a distinct part or an organ of the body; or

  2. serious disfigurement; or

  3. any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life, or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health whether or not treatment is or could have been available.

If in determining a complaint for an offence the court is satisfied that the defendant showed a callous disregard for the needs of a person injured in the incident, the court shall impose, as the whole or part of the sentence, a period of imprisonment.  This means unless the drivers prison sentence is wholly suspended or they are given immediate parole they will serve time in prison.

It is crucial to consult with a traffic lawyer to understand the potential ramifications specific to your case.

 

Will my licence be disqualified?

If you plead guilty to the offence or are found guilty of the offence of failing to remain at the scene of an accident then the court must disqualify your licence for a period of at least 6 months.

If you are charged with other offences arising out of the accident like dangerous operation of a motor vehicle or drink driving then the court can permanently ban you from driving,

 

Are there any defences to leaving the scene of an accident?

While each case is unique, there may be potential defences that a skilled traffic lawyer can employ. These could include:

  • Lack of awareness of the accident (e.g., if the impact was not immediately noticeable)

  • That it was not reasonable to know that someone was injured in the accident

  • The driver in fact did provide assistance in a reasonable and timely manner

  • The driver did remain at or near the accident scene

  • The driver only left the scene of the accident to get medical help

  • Mistaken identity or lack of evidence linking the accused to the incident.

  • Duress – The driver left the scene of the accident to ensure their safety.

 

Which Court will hear this charge?

The magistrates court in Queensland will hear and determine the offence.

 

FAQ’s

No-one was injured in the accident what do I need to do?

According to Queensland Police if no one is injured in an accident then you need to exchange the following with the other driver involved:

  • your name and address,

  • the name and address of the owner of the vehicle (if you are not the owner),

  • the vehicle registration number, and

  • any other information necessary to identify the vehicle.

 

The police are not required to attend the accident unless there is:

  1. suspected involvement of drugs and/or alcohol

  2. a driver fails or has failed or is refusing to provide required details​

  3. a driver with an impairment or disability requires police assistance.

 

Can I get a work licence if convicted of this offence?

No you cannot get a work licence, if you lose your licence for this offence you cannot drive during the disqualification for any reason otherwise you can be charged with disqualified driving.

 

Can you give me an example of where leaving the scene of an accident might not result in a charge?

If for example the accident occurred in a rural location, no mobile phone coverage exists and the person drives to get coverage or to the nearest town to get medical assistance.

 

Can you give more information on what is callous disregard for the needs of a person injured?

Callous disregard is not defined in the legislation so you must look to its ordinary meaning.  Its likely to be considered to be actions that show no sympathy for others or a driver that is unkind, cruel, and without sympathy or feeling for the injured person.

 

Can I really go to prison for this offence?

If the driver showed “callous disregard for the needs of the person injured in the incident the court must impose imprisonment.  It would then be up to the court if the driver needs to serve any of that sentence in actual prison.  The court can suspend the sentence in the right circumstances.

 

Could this charge be withdrawn?

This is the type of charge that might be able to be negotiated with the prosecutor.  It will all depends on the facts. 

You can learn more about negotiating with police.

 

Conclusion

Navigating a charge of failing to remain at the scene of the accident if someone is injured can be complex.  Seeking the help of an experienced traffic lawyer is crucial to understanding your rights and crafting a strong defence if you find yourself facing charges related to this offence. Remember, timely and appropriate action at the scene of an accident can make a significant difference in the legal outcome of your case.

 

Why should I engage Clarity Law?

Quite frankly we care about getting the right outcome for our clients and helping them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

In the face of a traffic charge, selecting the right legal representation is paramount, and Clarity Law offers a unique blend of proficiency and empathy that sets us apart. Our firm is dedicated to providing clarity in the often complex world of traffic law. We believe that every client deserves a clear understanding of their rights and the legal process they're navigating.

Our experienced team of lawyers approaches each case with a commitment to open communication, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a proven track record of securing favourable outcomes, we have the expertise to navigate even the most intricate legal challenges.

At Clarity Law, we strive not only to be your staunch advocates but also to provide a supportive, understanding environment during this trying time. Choosing Clarity Law means choosing a team that will tirelessly work to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

You can read more about our founder, Steven Brough’s, journey to starting Clarity Law by clicking here

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

Need more information?

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

 

What our clients say about us

 

People often ask whether they have to lose their driver's licence if they are charged with drink or drug driving in Queensland?

In this short guide we will talk about licence disqualifications for drug and drink driving offences and what alternatives there are to maintaining the ability to drive during any disqualification.

 

The law in Queensland

In Queensland unlike other Australian states there is mandatory periods of disqualification for all drink and drug driving offences. It does not matter what a person's circumstances are, their driving history or any other factors,  if they are charged with drink or drug driving and plead guilty there must be a mandatory period of disqualification.

 

Let's take an example of an open licence holder with no traffic history who records a reading of .0 51 which is just barely over the drink driving limit.  The driver has a disabled child who needs regular doctor appointments and must be driven there.  The law states in these circumstances that the driver must lose their licence for at least one month no matter how much of an impact it will have on them and their family.  The magistrate has no ability to reduce that disqualification below 1 month. It is certainly a very harsh outcome for someone who was just over the alcohol limit however that is the law in Queensland.

 

What are the disqualification periods?

The chart below sets out the disqualification period in Queensland.

 

 

 

We also have a whole article on Drink Driving Penalties in Queensland

 

I've heard about a thing called a work licence

A work licence is a type of authority where the court can allow someone to drive during the mandatory disqualification.  It's important to note that this is only for work purposes.  Our example above of a mother needing to drive their child to medical appointments would not apply.  However someone losing their job because of this qualification may be able to apply.

 

The conditions for someone applying for a work licence are as follows, they must:

  • Not have had a licence to disqualifications suspension or cancellation in the previous 5 years

  • Not be charged with an offence of high range drink driving or driving under the influence of a drug

  • Be on a Queensland open driver's licence at the time of the offending

 

The court may also impose any of the following conditions on any work licence they a grant;

  • restrict the times when you may drive

  • restrict the purposes for which you may be able to drive

  • restrict the class of vehicle you may drive;

  • require you to complete a logbook

  • require you to wear a work uniform

  • restrict who you may carrying as a passenger in the vehicle

 

It's not possible to go into all of the requirements of a work licence here so please read our main work licence page for more information.

 

What about getting a special hardship licence?

Unfortunately a special hardship licence only applies to someone who has exceeded their demerit points, then has gone on a good driving behaviour and has incurred more than one demerit point.  It also applies to someone who has exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h.

It does not and cannot apply to someone charged with drink or drug driving.

For more information on special hardship licences see our main page for a complete guide.

 

Surely the magistrate can take pity on me and not take my licence away?

If you are charged with drink or drug driving as stated above the magistrate has no discretion as to whether they will take their licence away they must for a period of at least one month.   A first time provisional licence holder minimum disqualification period is 3 months.  Check out our guide to drink driving penalties.

 

I've heard that a magistrate can give me a section 10 and not take my licence away

Section 10s only apply in New South Wales they are not Queensland law and therefore don't apply here.

See our article on Why section 10 does not apply in Queensland

 

Are you really telling me the court has no discretion to not take my licence away?

That is correct.  The magistrate can decide the length of the disqualification but in the example we used at the start of the article the disqualification that can be imposed is between 1 and 9 months.  The magistrate would likely take pity on someone in those circumstances and only impose a 1 month to disqualification however they cannot and will not go below 1 month.

 

What can I do to reduce the disqualification period?

The best way to ensure the lowest penalty possible is to engage a lawyer that regularity appears in Queensland courts for drink or drug driving charges.

 

Why should I engage Clarity Law?

Quite frankly we care about getting the right outcome for our clients and helping them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

In the face of a traffic charge, selecting the right legal representation is paramount, and Clarity Law offers a unique blend of proficiency and empathy that sets us apart. Our firm is dedicated to providing clarity in the often complex world of traffic law. We believe that every client deserves a clear understanding of their rights and the legal process they're navigating.

Our experienced team of lawyers approaches each case with a commitment to open communication, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a proven track record of securing favourable outcomes, we have the expertise to navigate even the most intricate legal challenges.

At Clarity Law, we strive not only to be your staunch advocates but also to provide a supportive, understanding environment during this trying time. Choosing Clarity Law means choosing a team that will tirelessly work to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

You can read more about our founder, Steven Brough’s, journey to starting Clarity Law by clicking here

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

Need more information?

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

 

What our clients say about us

Good Driving Behaviour Period

As part of the process of encouraging drivers in Queensland to drive in safe manner the Queensland government limits a driver from incurring more than 12 demerit points within 3 years (4 for provisional licence holders).  If a driver exceeds their demerit point limit then they will be given a choice in a letter from TMR called a notice to choose – take a suspension for a certain amount of time (usually 3 months) or go on a good driving behaviour period.

In this article we will look closely at what a good driving behaviour period is, how to choose it and what happens if you breach it?

 

What is a good driving behaviour period?

In essence a good driving behaviour period is a second chance when you have exceeded your demerit points.  It gives you a chance to keep your licence and keep driving.

Lets look at an example. 

Jason is an open licence holder.  He has incurred 11 demerit points over a 2 year period.  Jason is driving to work and doesn’t realise he is driving 12 km/h over the posted speed limit.  He is caught by a speed camera and sent an infringement notice.  As a result he has incurred 3 more demerit points taking him to 15 demerit points within 3 years.  Jason will be given a choice, have his licence suspended for 3 months or elect to go on a good driving behaviour period for 12 months.

 

Why would I need to elect a good driving behaviour period?

You will need to consider whether to elect a good driving behaviour if you exceed your demerit point limit.

 

What are the demerit point limits?

For provisional licence holders or people driving on an international licence the limit is 4 points. 

For open licence holders the limit is 12 demerit points.

 

What happens If I don’t choose to go on a good driving behaviour period?

If you don’t elect to go on a good driving behaviour then you will have your licence suspended for a period of time. 

The length of the suspension depends on how many demerit points you incurred.  The suspension periods for open licence holders are:

  • 12–15 demerit points = 3 month suspension

  • 16–19 demerit points = 4 month suspension

  • 20 or more demerit points 5 month suspension

For provisional licence holders and international drivers the suspension period = 3 months.

If you don’t nominate an option by the choice date, your licence will automatically be suspended starting the day after the choice date.

 

How do I elect a good driving behaviour period?

To elect a good driving period you need to wait until you received a document from Qld Transport and Main Roads (TMR) called a “Accumulation of demerit points – notice to choose”.

Once you have received the notice to choose it will give you a date (called the choice date)  that you must make a decision between the good driving behaviour period or suspension of your licence.

To make the choice you can either:

 

  1. Complete the form F4012 - Driver Licence Enforcement Option Nomination and then attend any TMR office and file the form before the choice date.

  2. Make the election online. You can make the choice on the TMR website by clicking here.

 

How long does the good driving behaviour period last?

The good driving behaviour period lasts for 12 months.

 

 

How many points do I have under the good driving behaviour period?

You only have 1 demerit point.  If you incur 2 or more demerit points you breach the good driving behaviour period.

 

What happens if I breach my good driving behaviour period?

If you breach your good driving behaviour period by incurring 2 or more demerit points then your licence will be suspended for 6 months (it can be longer depending on how many demerit points you incurred on the good driving behaviour period).

If you do breach your good driving behaviour period then you might be eligible to apply for a special hardship order.

 

What is a special hardship order?

If you find yourself in a situation where you've breached your good driving behaviour period but still need to drive, there's hope. You may be eligible to apply for a special hardship licence, also known as a hardship licence or special hardship order. This licence grants you permission to drive for specific reasons despite the suspension of your regular licence.

A special hardship licence comes into play if you're currently on a 12-month good driving behaviour period and you commit another traffic offence or are caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h.

However, there are certain criteria you must meet to be eligible for a Special Hardship Order ("SHO"). You cannot apply if, within the last five years prior to your application:

  • You have previously applied for a SHO,

  • Your Queensland driver licence has been suspended, disqualified, or cancelled, or

  • You have obtained a work licence.

 

To convince the court that losing your licence would cause severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, you must demonstrate that it would deprive you of a means of earning income or create another critical issue. Moreover, your traffic history will be taken into account, and you must demonstrate that you are a fit and proper person to be entrusted with this privilege.

 

The application for a special hardship licence is heard in the Magistrates Court nearest to your residence and requires extensive affidavits from both yourself and, if employed, your employer.

Should you be successful in obtaining a SHO, your licence may come with restrictions, including:

  • Driving to and from work using the shortest route available,

  • Driving for purposes directly linked to your income-earning activities, and

  • Driving for any special hardship grounds granted by the court (e.g., transporting a family member for chemotherapy treatment). It's crucial to understand that the court must be convinced that not allowing you to drive for the specific reason sought would result in severe and unusual hardship.

 

 

It's worth noting that the court may impose additional conditions on your licence, such as:

  • Requiring you to maintain a driving diary,

  • Setting limitations on when or how long you can drive,

  • Specifying who you're allowed to carry in the vehicle, and

  • Restricting the class or type of vehicles you may operate.

 

Throughout the period of the SHO, you can only drive within the parameters outlined above. It's crucial to understand that you don't possess a full licence during this time. Typically, the SHO is valid for the duration of your licence suspension, which is usually six months.

A critical aspect of a special hardship licence is that you'll receive zero demerit points. This means that even if you accumulate a single demerit point, your licence will be suspended for 12 months. Be mindful of this important detail as you navigate this process.

 

 

 

FAQ’s

I didn’t make a choice under the notice to choose

If you don’t make a choice by the date in the notice to choose that TMR have sent you then your licence is automatically suspended as if you chose the licence suspension rather than the good driving behaviour period.

 

I haven’t received the notice to choose

Contact TMR urgently as if you go past your due date to make a choice then your licence will be suspended.

It might be you haven’t updated TMR with your new postal address and they have sent the notice to choose to an old address.

 

I tried to elect the good driving behaviour period but TMR says its too late

If there is a reason you didn’t get the notice to choose then ring TMR urgently.  Do not drive until unless TMR allows you to choose the good driving behaviour period.

 

How long does it take for demerit points to reset Qld?

Demerit points remain on your record for 3 years.

 

I really need to drive but I chose a suspension and not a good driving behaviour period

There is nothing you can do now.  You can try contacting TMR but that’s not likely to change anything.

 

When does the suspension period start?

The suspension date starts as soon as you choose a suspension rather than electing a good driving behaviour period.  If you make no choice then the suspension will automatically start the day after the date for the choice expires.

 

How do I find my choice date?

It will be in the letter from TMR called the “Accumulation of demerit points – notice to choose”.

 

Summary

  • The Queensland government limits drivers to 12 demerit points in 3 years (4 for provisional license holders) to promote safe driving

  • Exceeding this limit gives two options: 3-month suspension or a 12-month good driving behaviour period

  • If you don't choose, your licence is automatically suspended

  • The good driving behaviour period lasts for 12 months with only 1 demerit point allowed

  • If you incur more than 1 demerit points on your good driving behaviour period you might be able to apply for a special hardship licence to keep driving

 

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

We cannot answer questions about specific demerit point offences nor about challenging a fine or infringement notice but can provide advice to people needing to apply for a special hardship licence because they have exceeded their demerit points or driven more than 40 km/h over the speed limit.

 

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken over 1,000 successful special hardship licence applications 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. Click here to select a time for us to call you back

  5. Visit our main website page

We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and up to Hervey Bay and out to Toowoomba.  We have 7 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 special hardships. You will not be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, failing to get a special hardship licence or one that is too restrictive will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.

  

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders and other traffic offences on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

 

This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here.  We cannot provide advice on fighting a ticket or about how demerit points apply for specific offences.

In Australia, the rules governing driver licensing and disqualifications are not only regulated by individual states but also by national bodies like the National Transport Commission (NTC). The NTC, established to develop uniform regulations for road transport, plays a crucial role in ensuring consistency and coherence in traffic laws across the country.

 

Licence disqualifications across Australia

One of the critical aspects regulated by the NTC is licence disqualifications. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how licence disqualifications imposed in one state apply throughout Australia, with specific reference to the NTC's 2006 regulations.

 

The National Transport Commission (NTC) and Its Role

The National Transport Commission is a national agency tasked with developing and maintaining uniform regulations for the road, rail, and intermodal transport sectors. Established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the NTC plays a pivotal role in harmonising transport laws to promote efficiency, safety, and consistency in the transport sector.

 

Uniform Driver Licencing Laws

One of the significant achievements of the NTC is the establishment of uniform driver licencing laws across Australia. These laws form the foundation for licence disqualifications, ensuring that drivers who offend face appropriate consequences, regardless of which state or territory the offence occurs in.

 

NTC Regulations 2006: Road Transport Legislation—Driver Licensing

The NTC Regulations 2006 is a comprehensive document that outlines the standard procedures and requirements for driver licensing in Australia. This includes provisions related to licence disqualifications.

 

Licence Disqualifications: A National Approach

When a driver is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence in one Australian state or territory, this disqualification is not confined solely to that jurisdiction. Instead, it extends across the entire country due to the uniform regulations set forth by the NTC.

This means that if a driver is disqualified in Queensland, for example, they are prohibited from holding a valid licence anywhere else in Australia for the duration specified in their disqualification.

 

Enforcement of Licence Disqualifications

The enforcement of licence disqualifications across Australia is a cooperative effort between states and territories. Through information sharing systems and databases, authorities in each jurisdiction have access to records of licence disqualifications imposed in other parts of the country.

This ensures that drivers cannot evade their disqualifications by obtaining a licence in a different state. Additionally, it enables law enforcement agencies to identify individuals who are driving while disqualified and take appropriate action.

 

So to be clear do licence disqualifications apply throughout Australia?

Yes.

 

What happens if you are caught disqualified driving in another state?

If you are disqualified in one state and during that disqualification you are caught driving in another state you will be charged in state with disqualified driving.

For example, if you were disqualified in NSW from driving and then decide to move to Queensland and are found driving then you will be given a notice to appear in court for disqualified driving and subject to a minimum licence suspension of 2 years plus other penalties.

 

Conclusion

The states and territories of Australia have taken a national approach that allows people with valid licences issued in one state to drive throughout Australia.  It also means that disqualifications or licence suspensions imposed by one state also apply across Australia.

 

Summary

  • Licence disqualifications imposed in one Australian state apply throughout the country due to the uniform regulations set forth by the NTC.

  • If a driver is disqualified in one state, they are prohibited from holding a valid licence anywhere else in Australia for the duration specified in their disqualification.

  • Enforcement of licence disqualifications is a cooperative effort between states and territories, facilitated by information sharing systems and databases.

  • If you are found driving in Australia while disqualified in a state or territory you will face a charge of disqualified driving charge and be subject to serious penalties.

 

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

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice about licence disqualifications in Queensland or if you are found driving disqualified in Queensland 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. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

 

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

 

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on our Queensland traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

 

What our clients say about us

Sunday, 17 September 2023 18:19

Double demerit points in Queensland

Traffic laws are an essential part of maintaining safety on the roads, and one of the mechanisms used to enforce compliance is the demerit points system. This system is designed to encourage responsible driving behaviour by assigning penalty points for various traffic offences. However, during certain holiday periods and long weekends, many states in Australia implement a double demerit points system, aiming to further deter certain types of driving.

The recent news that the Queensland Government has incorrectly applied double demerit points to certain people prompted us to write an article about double demerit points

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of how double demerit points work in Queensland and look at the situation in each state of Australia.

 

What are demerit points in Australia?
Demerit points are a system used by Australian authorities to discourage unsafe driving behaviour. They serve as a penalty for various traffic offences and are recorded against the driver's licence. When a driver accumulates a certain number of demerit points within a specified period, they may face penalties such as fines, licence suspension, or even disqualification from driving.

Here's how the demerit points system typically works:

  1. Offences and Points: Different traffic offences carry different demerit point penalties. For instance, speeding might result in a certain number of points, while running a red light may incur a different set of points.

  2. Accumulation Period: Demerit points are usually recorded over a specific period, often three years. This means that points accrued for an offence will stay on a driver's record for that duration.

  3. Thresholds: Each state and territory in Australia has its own threshold for demerit points. Once a driver accumulates a certain number of points within the defined period, penalties may be imposed.

  4. Penalties: Penalties for exceeding demerit point thresholds can include fines, licence suspension, mandatory attendance at driving education programs, or even licence disqualification.

 

It's important to note that the specific rules and regulations regarding demerit points can vary slightly between states and territories. Therefore, it's crucial for drivers to be aware of the laws that apply in their particular region.

 

How many demerit points do you have to use in Queensland?

First its important to understand you don’t start with a set number of demerit points that you can use.  Its better to think of each offence potentially getting you to a certain demerit point limit.

  • For open licence holders you have 12 demerit points

  • For learner drivers, P platers or foreign drivers, you have a maximum of 4 demerit points

  • If you are on a good driving behaviour period you have a maximum of 1 demerit points

  • If you are on a special hardship licence you have zero demerit points

 

What happens if I exceed the limit of demerit points  in Queensland?

You can choose to lose your licence for 3 months or go on a good behaviour point for 12 months.  If you exceed 1 demerit point on a good driving behaviour period you might be able to apply for a special hardship licence in Queensland.

 

Where can I find how many demerit points an offence in Queensland has?

Not every traffic offence attracts demerit points.  For example drug driving or drink driving actually don’t have any demerit points.

For a full list of demerit point offences in Queensland go to the TMR website by clicking here

 

How do I find out how many demerit points I have incurred in Queensland

You can go on the TMR website or click below to be taken to the TMR website to check your demerit points.

What is the law about double demerit points in Australia?

New South Wales

In New South Wales (NSW), double demerit points are enforced during key holiday periods, such as Christmas, New Year, Easter, and long weekends. The system applies to all driving offences, including speeding, seat belt violations, and mobile phone use while driving. For example, if you are caught speeding during a double demerit period, you will receive twice the usual demerit points.

 

Victoria

Victoria also employs a double demerit points system during holiday periods. Similar to NSW, this applies to all traffic offences. It's worth noting that Victoria is known for its strict enforcement of traffic laws, so it's crucial for drivers to be extra vigilant during double demerit periods.

 

Western Australia

Western Australia has a comprehensive double demerit points system in place. It applies to a wide range of traffic offences, including speeding, seat belt offences, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Double demerit points are enforced during holiday periods, including Christmas, New Year, Easter, and other significant events.

 

South Australia

South Australia also utilizes double demerit points during specific holiday periods. The system applies to offences such as speeding, seat belt violations, and mobile phone use while driving. Like many other states, the goal is to encourage safer driving practices during times when there may be a higher volume of traffic on the roads.

 

Tasmania

In Tasmania, double demerit points are primarily associated with speeding offences. They are applied during holiday periods and long weekends to deter drivers from exceeding speed limits.

 

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT employs a double demerit points system during designated holiday periods. Similar to other states, it covers a wide range of traffic offences, including speeding, seat belt violations, and mobile phone use while driving. The aim is to promote safer driving habits during times when there may be increased road activity.

 

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory does not have a double demerit points system in place.

 

What is the law about double demerit points in Queensland?

Queensland adopts a slightly different approach to double demerit points. Instead of applying them just during holiday periods, they are implemented for specific offences such as speeding, seat belt offences, and illegal use of mobile phones over the whole year.

Double demerit points are applied for certain second or subsequent offences committed within 1 year of the previous offence.

This includes:

  • offences for speeding more than 20km/h over the speed limit

  • mobile phone offences

  • driver seatbelt offences

  • motorcycle helmet offences.

 

You don’t have to commit the same offence a second or subsequent time to receive double demerit points—the offence only needs to be within the same offence group.

Lets look at some examples:

Example 1

Bob holds an open Queensland licence.  While driving home from work Bob goes through a camera that catches him using his mobile phone while holding it.  He will receive an infringement notice and 4 demerit points.

9 months later Bob is pulled over by the police and found to have had made a call while driving with his phone on his lap.  Police give Bob an infringement notice and 4 demerit points.

As Bob has committed 2 mobile phone offence inside of 12 months, he will receive an additional 4 demerit points.  That is 12 demerit points in total.

Example 2

Lucy receives a fine for driving 65 km/h in a 40 zone.  As a result Lucy incurs 4 demerit points. 

7 months later Lucy goes through a speed camera and is clocked at 113 km/h while the speed limit was 80 km/h she receives a speed camera fine and 6 demerit points. 

As Lucy has had 2 speeding offences over 20 km/h within 12 months she receives an additional 6 demerit points.  As a result lucy has now incurred 14 demerit points and must make a choice between losing her licence or going on a good driving behaviour period for 12 months.

 

Summary

  • Application Period: Double demerit points in Queensland are enforced during the whole year and not just specific holiday periods like in many other states

  • Offences Covered: Double demerit points apply to specific traffic offences, including speeding, seat belt violations, and illegal use of mobile phones.

  • Point Multiplier: Double demerit points apply to 2 offences in certain offence groups incurred withing 1 year.  For example, if you are caught using a mobile while driving 2 times within a year, you will receive twice the usual penalty points for the second offence.

  • Lose of Licence: If you exceed the demerit point limit you must elect to lose your licence for 3 months or go on a good driving behaviour period for 1 year.  If you exceed 1 demerit point on a good driving behaviour period you might be able to apply for a special hardship licence.

  • Official Source: For detailed and up-to-date information on double demerit points in Queensland, it's advisable to refer to the official website of the Queensland Government's Department of Transport and Main Roads: Queensland Government - Double Demerit Points

 

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

We cannot answer questions about specific demerit point offences nor about challenging a fine or infringement notice but can provide advice to people needing to apply for a special hardship licence because they have exceeded their demerit points or driven more than 40 km/h over the speed limit.

 

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken over 1,000 successful special hardship licence applications 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

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We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and up to Hervey Bay and out to Toowoomba.  We have 7 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 special hardships. You will not be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, failing to get a special hardship licence or one that is too restrictive will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.

  

Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders and other traffic offences on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

 

This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here.  We cannot provide advice on fighting a ticket or about how demerit points apply for specific offences.

 

If you are served with an evasion notice it is critical to get urgent legal advice as the consequences of failing to do so are very serious.

This article summarises what an evasion charge is (also called fail to stop) and then goes on to discuss what is an evasion notice and what at the legal implications of being served one.

 

Understanding evasion charges

Evasion charges, commonly known as failing to stop, are treated with utmost seriousness in Queensland. The government has implemented some of the most stringent legislation in the country, reflecting their commitment to see those who evade the police face severe consequences.

 

To be charged with evading police in Queensland, Section 754 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 states that the driver of a motor vehicle must not fail to stop when directed by a police officer where a reasonable person would have stopped the vehicle given the circumstances. Essentially, if a police officer in a police vehicle attempts to stop a driver who fails to do so within a reasonable time, the driver is considered to have "evaded" the police.

 

Terminology: evading police vs. failure to stop vs. evasion offence

In practice, these terms are interchangeable and all refer to the same offence.  In court proceedings, it is often referred to as either a "failure to stop" charge or an "evading police" charge.

 

Court jurisdiction

Cases involving an evading police charge are heard in the Magistrates Court.

 

Penalties for Evading Police

Determining the exact penalties for evading police can be complex.  The law mandated a minimum penalty of 50 penalty units ($7,100) or actual imprisonment for 50 days.  Plus a licence disqualification for 2 years.

 

Additional considerations

Evading police is also classified as a type 1 hooning charge, which carries significant consequences. For first-time Type 1 offences, the vehicle can be impounded or immobilized for 90 days. For a second offence, the vehicle may be impounded and potentially confiscated after legal proceedings.

 

Licence disqualification and work licences

The minimum disqualification period for evading police is two years. Unfortunately, individuals facing this charge are ineligible to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence.

 

What is an evasion notice?

An evasion notice is a formal document served on the owner of the motor vehicle allegedly involved in an evasion offence.

It must be personally served on the owner by the police.

 

What will the evasion notice state?

The evasion notice will set out the following:

  • when and where the offence was committed

  • the name and address of the person in whose name the motor vehicle was registered

  • when the offence was committed

  • that the owner must comply with the requirement to provide a statutory declaration within the 14 business days unless the owner has a reasonable excuse

  • the consequences if the owner does not comply with the requirement within the 14 business days, including an explanation of the application of section 756to the owner in any proceeding for the offence

  • the nature of the information the owner must include in the statutory declaration

 

As the owner what information do I need to provide to the police?

The owner must provide the name and address of the driver.  If they do not know who the driver was they must provide all of the following information:

  • where the owner was when the evasion offence occurred

  • the usual location of the vehicle when it is not being used

  • the name and address of each person (a potential driver) known by the owner to have access to drive the vehicle when evasion offence occurred

  • the way each potential driver has access to drive the vehicle Example—A potential driver possesses a key for the vehicle and has access to where the vehicle is kept

  • how frequently each potential driver normally uses the vehicle and for how long each potential driver normally uses the vehicle

  • whether each potential driver uses the vehicle in connection with a business or for private use

  • whether the vehicle was reported as stolen, or otherwise being used without consent, when the evasion offence happened

  • the nature of the inquiries made by the owner to find out who was driving the vehicle when the evasion offence happened

 

What happens if I don’t reply to the evasion notice?

Unless the owner has a reasonable excuse they must comply with the evasion notice and provide the statutory declaration requested within 14 days.

If the owner does not do this then:

  • They can be fined up to $15,400; and
  • The owner will be taken to have been the driver of the vehicle when the alleged evasion offence occurred and will be prosecuted and subject to a further fine up to $7,100 or 50 days in prison and a licence disqualification for 2 years.

 

I sold the vehicle before the evasion offence occurred!

You still need to complete the statutory declaration and provide the police with the name and address of the person to whom the vehicle was sold.

 

It was a family member who drove the car and I don’t want to get them in trouble

You need to get urgent legal advice as failure to comply with the evasion notice could see you declared the driver even if you weren’t. 

 

How long do I have to comply with the evasion notice?

You have 14 days from the date the evasion notice was served on you.

 

What happens if I am declared to be the driver of the vehicle?

You can, and most likely will, be charged with evading police and subject to a 2 year licence disqualification, substantial fines or 50 days in prison if found guilty.

 

Examples

  1. Bob lends his car to a friend. The friend commits an evasion offence and then leaves the state.  The police didn’t catch the driver and now serve an evasion notice on Bob.  Bob must complete the statutory declaration correctly within 14 days or he will be considered the driver.

 

  1. Jacks’ car is stolen and the driver fails to stop for the police. The driver escapes the police.  The police serve an evasion notice on Jack.  Jack must still complete the statutory declaration in 14 days.

 

 

  1. Susan lets her roommates borrow her car when they need to. One of her room mates takes the car and evades the police.  Susan gets served an evasion notice.  She doesn’t know which roommate took the car and none of them admit to driving.  Susan still needs to complete the statutory declaration in full setting out who had access to the car, how frequently they drive the car and what enquiries Susan made to find out who the driver was.

 

  1. Julie lets her son use her car. The son commits an evasion offence.  Julie is served with an evasion notice.  Julie doesn’t want to get her son in trouble and so doesn’t tell the police her son was the driver and doesn’t complete the statutory declaration in 14 days.  After 14 days Julie is considered to be the driver and will be prosecuted and subject to the same harsh penalties as if she was the driver.

 

Do I really need to spend money getting a lawyer?

An evasion offence is one of the most serious traffic offences in Queensland.  The offence carries harsh penalties, long periods of disqualification and the possibility a criminal offence will be recorded on a person criminal history.

The act is very technical and getting the statutory declaration incorrect could mean you are considered the driver.  Remember if you don’t complete the statutory declaration you can be fined up to $15,400.  Then you will be prosecuted as if you were the driver and face a further fine of $7,100 (that’s up to $22,500 in maximum fines in total) or 50 days in prison and a 2 year licence disqualification.

No one served an evasion notice should try and do it themselves, this is matter where engaging a lawyer is almost mandatory.

 

Summary

  • Evasion charges, also known as failing to stop, are treated very seriously in Queensland.

  • To be charged with evading police, a driver must fail to stop when directed by a police officer, where  a reasonable person would have stopped in the circumstances.

  • Cases involving an evading police charge are heard in the Magistrates Court.

  • The court may now impose either a fine of $7,100 or imprisonment for 50 days served in prison for an evasion offence.

  • Evading police is also classified as a type 1 hooning charge, which can lead to vehicle impoundment or confiscation for repeat offences.

  • The minimum disqualification period for evading police is two years, and individuals cannot apply for a work or special hardship licence.

  • Possible defences to an evading police charge include arguments about the practicality of stopping, the reasonableness of not stopping, or issues related to the police officer's direction to stop.

  • Responding promptly to an evasion notice and seeking urgent legal advice regarding the notice is crucial.

  • If you do not properly respond to an evasion notice you can be fined and declared to be the driver of the vehicle when the evasion offence occurred.

  • You must get legal advice if you are served an evasion notice.

 

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

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

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We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences. 

 

Need more information?

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

 

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People are obviously familiar with how a someone could be found guilty of drink driving when they are pulled over by the police over the limit.  However it is also possible to be found guilty of drink driving even though at the time the police arrived you were not actually driving.  This is the offence of drink driving in charge of a motor vehicle.

 

The law

Let’s look at the law when it comes to drink driving.  The states that a person can be charged with drink driving if they are over the limit and:

  • drives a motor vehicle; or
  • attempts to put in motion a motor vehicle; or
  • is in charge of a motor vehicle;

 

So what does in charge actually mean?

The law does not define exactly what being in charge means.   Common sense then applies, could the person in the circumstances be thought of as being in charge of the vehicle?  Some of the more common definitions from dictionaries include:

  • being the person who has control of or is responsible for someone or something
  • In a position of leadership or supervision
  • having control of or responsibility for (something)

If you are say making a call outside of a car you own and that you drove to a location are you in charge? Well if an ambulance came up behind the car and the car needed to be moved, who moves the car, likely the person who owns the car or drove it there.  They therefore are likely to be in charge of the vehicle.

 

Is there a defence?

Section 79(6) states that a person who:

  1. is not in the driver’s seat of the vehicle; or
  2. is not in the vehicle; and
  3. had manifested an intention of refraining from driving that motor vehicle; and
  4. was not so intoxicated as to be incapable of understanding or forming the intention of refraining from driving that motor vehicle; and
  5. the motor vehicle was parked in such a way as not to constitute a source of danger to other persons or other traffic; and
  6. the person had not in the last 12 months been convicted of a drink driving offence.

is not guilty of the offence of drink driving whilst in charge.

 

What are some examples?

In Eggmolesse v Bruce the Court of Appeal found that a mechanic, who was intoxicated, that had walked to assist his sister who had broken down had not manifested an intention to drive when he reached through the window to the car and turned the engine on after repairing it and then turned it off almost immediately.

The facts were that Mr Eggmolesse’s sister phoned him and asked him to bring some petrol to the vacant lot as the car in which she was a passenger had stopped. He did not intend to drive any vehicle that day. He walked to the Commodore carrying the petrol, rather than driving there from his home, because he did not have a licence and he was drunk.

When he arrived, she was at the car and its bonnet was open. He was a mechanic. He put some petrol into the car and went to the driver's side. He leant in the window intending to see if the car would start but there was no key in the ignition. He could not turn over the engine, let alone start the car, because the key was missing. He returned to the front of the vehicle to close the bonnet when the police arrived. He was not so drunk that he did not know what he was doing. Before the police arrived, he had also worked on the Commodore's disconnected battery.

He explained that he had replaced it with another battery which was on the ground in front of the Commodore. He had no intention of driving the Commodore and once he realised there was no key in the ignition, he left the driver's side and shut the bonnet.

You can read the case here - Eggmolesse v Bruce 

 

In Queensland Police Service v Murray the case revolves around the interpretation and application of section 79(6).

The defendant, Mr. Murray, was found by police asleep in his car with the engine running and under the influence of alcohol. The central issue was whether Mr. Murray could rely on the defence provided by section 79(6) to avoid conviction.

Key Facts of the Case:

  • Mr. Murray was found by police in his car, asleep, under the influence of liquor.
  • The car was parked outside a location in Hay Point.
  • Prior to entering the car, Mr. Murray had formed the intention not to drive while under the influence of liquor or drugs.
  • He reclined the back of the driver's seat, lay down on it, and fell asleep.
  • At the time the defendant was so found by the police officers, the rear of the driver's seat had been lowered backwards to its full extent so that the defendant was lying with his legs and buttocks on the front seat of the vehicle and the remainder of his body extending into what is normally the rear compartment of the vehicle.
  • At some point, he woke up and accessed the car keys to activate the ignition in order to lower the driver's window.
  • After lowering the window, he went back to sleep on the reclined seat.
  • Police woke him up and charged him with an offense related to being in control of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Key Points from the Case:

  • The court interpreted the provisions of section 79(6) and considered whether the defendant's actions met the requirements for the defence.
  • The defence required that the defendant intended to refrain from driving while under the influence and manifested that intention by occupying a compartment other than the driver's compartment.
  • The court emphasized that the intention not to drive must exist at all relevant times, but brief periods of change in position (e.g., activating ignition) would not necessarily disqualify reliance on the defence.
  • The court analysed the term "occupy" in the context of the defence and concluded that brief movements within the driver's compartment did not necessarily negate the defence if the overall intention was not to drive.
  • The court found that Mr. Murray had manifested the intention not to drive by his actions, and that his brief movements to activate the ignition did not negate his overall intention.
  • The court also considered whether Mr. Murray's actions constituted a source of danger to others, concluding that they did not.
  • The court ruled that Mr. Murray had successfully established the defence under section 79(6) and was therefore not guilty of the offense.

In summary, the court ruled in favour of Mr. Murray, finding that his actions and intentions met the requirements of the defence provided by section 79(6), and he was not guilty of the offense he was charged with.

You can read the case here - Queensland Police Service v Murray [2021] QMC 5

 

Let’s look at a case where the defence did not work, the case of Foster v Dahl.

  • The case involves Shirley Foster, who was convicted of being in charge of a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor and/or a drug.
  • A passer-by, Mr. Gorring, found Ms. Foster in her car on the side of the road. She appeared unconscious or barely conscious, but she became coherent and conversed with him after he roused her.
  • The police and ambulance attended the scene. An empty bottle of vodka was found in the car, and she exhibited signs of intoxication.
  • Ms. Foster admitted to drinking and had been drinking vodka. A breath analysis was taken later that afternoon.
  • During the trial, Ms. Foster claimed that she had parked her car with the intention of overdosing on alcohol and pills to kill herself.
  • She was found guilty of the offence by the Magistrate.
  • Ms. Foster appealed her conviction under section 222 of the Justices Act. The appeal was by way of rehearing, where the appellate court had to make its own determination based on the trial record.
  • The appellant's position was that she ceased to be in charge of the car when the keys were taken from her, around 3:20 p.m. The breath analysis was done at 5:30 p.m.
  • The appellant's condition suggested intoxication, and her actions after the keys were removed indicated her continued control over the vehicle.
  • The court examined whether the appellant had occupied a compartment of the vehicle other than the driver's seat with an intention to refrain from driving.
  • The court rejected the defence's argument and found that the appellant had occupied the driver's seat and had not manifested an intention to refrain from driving.
  • The court discussed issues related to the timing of the breath analysis test, the validity of the breath analysis certificate, and the evidence of intoxication.
  • The court concluded that the conviction was supported by the evidence, and the appellant's appeal against conviction was dismissed.

 

In summary, Shirley Foster's appeal against her conviction for being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs was dismissed, and her sentence was upheld. The court found that the evidence supported the conviction and that the sentence was appropriate considering the circumstances.

You can read the full case here - Foster v Dahl [2009] QDC 45

 

Lets look at one final case.  The case of Brooks v Spasovski is a significant one in Queensland law. In this case, the defendant, who had consumed alcohol and was substantially intoxicated, requested his family to rescue him and while waiting for them, he decided to wait in his car.  He sat in the drivers seat and threw his keys towards the floor of the car but by error they ended up on his lap, he then fell asleep.

The Magistrate initially found him not guilty because they thought he had formed the intention not to drive.

However, this decision was overturned at the District Court. The court ruled that what mattered was that he was in a position to drive the vehicle if he chose to do so without first taking charge of it from some other person.

This case highlights the broad interpretation of being “in charge” of a vehicle under the influence, which can include simply being in the vehicle with the keys, even with no intention to drive.

You can read the decision here - Brooks v Spasovski [2004] QDC 471

 

Summary

  • The term in charge is not defined by the law so its general meaning will be used. Generally in charge is defined in dictionaries as being the person who has control of or is responsible for something.

 

  • You can be in charge of a motor vehicle but not actually physically in the vehicle.

 

  • A defence is available but you must, in addition to other requirements, show an intention of refraining from driving the motor vehicle.

 

  • This area of the law is complicated and each case will turn on its own facts.

 

Late-night driving restrictions have become a significant aspect of road safety initiatives in various regions, including Queensland. These restrictions are designed to curb the risks associated with young people driving during the late hours when factors like fatigue, reduced visibility, and impaired driving can contribute to accidents. This article delves into the late-night driver restrictions in Queensland.

 

Late Night Driver Restrictions: The Basics

Late-night driver restrictions, commonly known as night-time driving curfews, involve limiting driving privileges during specific hours, typically during the night. These curfews aim to reduce the incidence of road accidents and fatalities by targeting times when factors like reduced visibility and increased fatigue are more prevalent.

In Queensland, specific driving restrictions can apply to provisional license holders under the age of 25. Known as P1 and P2 drivers, these individuals can be subjected to restrictions during the late-night hours of 11pm to 5am.

 

When do late night driving restrictions occur?

Late night driving restrictions (“LNDR”) will apply to drivers under 25 on a P licence in the following circumstances:

  • if they accumulate excessive demerit points resulting in either a good driving behaviour (GDB) period or a licence suspension
  • If they commit a high speed driving offence (driving more than 40 km/h over the speed limit)
  • Their licence is disqualified by a court

 

How long do the late night driving restrictions apply for?

One year.

 

What times do the late night driving restrictions apply to?

The LNDR applies between 11pm and 5am.

 

Can more than one late night driving restrictions occur?

Yes, every time you commit an act that leads to a LNDR a new period will start.  You can have multiple LNDR at the same time.

 

Does the late night driving restriction end when I go to an open licence?

No, the LNDR runs for 1 year no matter if you change to a new licence class.

 

What happens if I’m caught driving between 11pm and 5am?

You face a maximum fine of $4,644 (if it went to court) and 3 demerit points.  If given an infringement notice by the police and not summoned to court the maximum fine will be $464 (as at 29/08/2023).

 

Can you change the hours of a late-night driving restriction?                                              

Perhaps.

To be eligible for an exemption you must prove you need to drive late at night:

  • to get to or from your place of employment; and/or
  • as part of your employment.

In addition you will also prove that you or your family will suffer severe hardship if an exemption is not granted. 

Some examples of this special responsibility include:

  • If you cannot drive between 11pm and 5am you will lose your job and you provide financial support to your family.
  • You are a shift worker and your job requires you to drive between 11pm and 5am and you need to work to provide financial support to your family.

Your application will need to be accompanied by a signed statement from your employer confirming that you need to drive between 11pm and 5am to get to or from your place of employment, and/or as part of your employment.

There is also a small fee that must be paid to make the application.  If the exemption is granted you will need to keep a copy with you when driving and produce it to a police officer upon request.

You can make the application for an exemption by clicking here

 

Summary

Late-night driver restrictions in Queensland serve as a proactive approach to enhancing road safety, particularly for young and less experienced drivers who have already incurred a number of demerit points or had their licence disqualified. These restrictions, targeting the higher risks associated with driving during the late hours are meant to protect the driver and other road users but allowing some flexibility for young drivers to apply for an exemption.

 

The Queensland government has taken significant steps to address the issue of dangerous driving through the implementation of stricter laws targeting group hooning activities. These comprehensive measures, introduced by Mark Ryan, Minister for Police and Corrective Services reflect, they say, Queensland's commitment to road safety while sparking a debate about personal freedoms and government intervention.

The new laws are contained in the Summary Offences Act and are called offences associated with hooning offences.  They are designed to stop people from conduct that promotes or encourages the commission of hooning offences (including sharing images or films of hooning offences) or the possession of things used to commit hooning, burn out or racing offences.

 

Why has the government bought this law in?

These new laws, which augment Queensland's existing anti-hooning laws, aim to tackle various aspects of group hooning. The amendments encompass a range of offences, from active participation and spectatorship to the organisation, promotion, and possession of items associated with such activities.

The key components of the new laws include:

  1. Participation and Spectatorship: A Dual Approach
    One of the key features of the amended laws is the introduction of penalties for both active participants and spectators at group hooning events. This approach aims to hold both individuals behind the wheel and those who endorse such dangerous behaviour accountable.
  2. Targeting Organisers and Promoters
    By criminalising the organisation and promotion of group hooning events, the amendments extend their reach to participants and spectators. This controversial aspect of the legislation raises questions about the extensive reach of the law.
  3. Cracking Down on Facilitating Items
    The laws also prohibit the possession of items that could facilitate group hooning, such as false number plates. Critics might argue that this provision could lead to unintended consequences, impacting innocent individuals who might possess such items for legitimate reasons.

Minister Mark Ryan expressed the government's standpoint, stating, "Life is precious, and too many lives are lost on our roads. Hooning will not be tolerated. If you want to tear up our roads, we'll tear up your car. If you want to be a spectator at a hooning event, you will be breaking the law. If you promote a hooning event, it will be an offence."

The rationale behind these stricter laws is underscored by the economic and personal costs of road trauma in Queensland. In 2020, road trauma accounted for nearly 15% of hospital admissions, translating to an economic cost of $6 billion dollars. These numbers, while significant, only hint at the profound personal toll that road accidents take on affected individuals and their families.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll emphasized, "Dangerous driving and hooning-related behaviour not only endangers the lives of those behind the wheel, but they also put innocent members of the public at risk." The Queensland Police will continue to implement a range of strategies, both overt and covert, including the use of unmarked motorbikes, to enforce the new regulations.

Queensland's decision to enact stricter laws targeting group hooning is met with both support and criticism. Advocates argue that such measures are necessary to protect public safety, while skeptics raise concerns about potential infringements on personal freedoms. As Queensland navigates this nuanced terrain, it remains to be seen how these regulations will strike the balance between safeguarding citizens and respecting individual liberties.

 

What exactly is the law?

The object of the law is stated to be to discourage the commission of racing, burn out and other hooning offences by prohibiting:

  • conduct that promotes or encourages the commission of these offences; and
  • the possession of things being, to be or having been used to commit those offences.

 

Specifically the law states that a person must not:

  1. willingly participate in a group activity involving a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence; or
  2. organise, promote or encourage another person to participate in, or view, a group activity involving a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence; or
  3. photograph or film, or publish a photograph or film of, a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence.
  4. Possess a thing that is being, is to be, or has been used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence.

 

Examples of things for use in committing a racing, burn out or other hooning offence:

  • number plates that are not related to a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence
  • a hydraulic jack and racing tyres for a motor vehicle being used in a street race

 

Note that the law has examples of things that could be used to commit a racing, burn out or hooning offence but the police can allege other things were used.

 

What’s the punishment?

The court can imprison someone for up to a year or fine them a maximum of $6,192.

 

Could the court disqualify my drivers licence?

The actual new laws do not specify that there has to be a disqualification of the licence of a person charged with the offence however section 187 of the Penalties and Sentences Act might apply.

The law states that:

(a) If an offender is convicted of an offence in connection with or arising out of the operation, or the interference in any way with the operation, of a motor vehicle by the offender; and

(b) the court by or before which the offender is convicted is satisfied having regard to the nature of the offence, or to the circumstances in which it was committed, that the offender should, in the interests of justice, be disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence;

the court may, in addition to any sentence that it may impose, order that the offender is, from the time of the conviction, disqualified absolutely, or for such period as is ordered by the court, from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence.

 

As the law is so new its not known whether the court will use section 187 to disqualify the licence of someone found guilty of the offence.   However looking at the law the court would have to find that someone has done more that watch other people conducting hooning activities they would have to have done some act that interferes with the operation of a motor vehicle. 

Perhaps someone that poured a fluid on the ground to allow a vehicle to do a burnout more easily could be thought of as interfering with that vehicle.

 

So I really could be charged for just watching other people do a burn out in their car?

Lets look at what exactly the law (unlawful conduct associated with commission of racing, burn out or other hooning offence ) says by underlining the most important terms.

A person must not:

willingly participate in a group activity involving a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence; or

organise, promote or encourage another person to participate in, or view, a group activity involving a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence

 

So the law require either a person to willingly participate or organise, promote or encourage other people to hoon.  No higher court has ruled on what those terms mean yet.  Certainly if you just happen to see hooning activity from your balcony then that wouldn’t result in a charge however if you shouted encouragement to someone to do a burnout then that might result in a charge. 

Also the law is probably wide enough to capture the circumstances where a person hears about a gathering of cars where hooning will occur and uses social media to tell other people about that event as they might be seen to be encouraging people to attend the event.

 

What about posting a video online of a car hooning?

This is where the law is perhaps at its most wide.  The law says if a person organises, promotes or encourages someone to participate or view a hooning offence they commit an offence.  It then goes on to say that if a person, for the purpose or organising, promoting or encouraging someone to participate or view a hooning offence, photographs or films, or publishes a photograph or film of, a motor vehicle being used to commit a racing, burn out or other hooning offence then they commit an offence.

As the law is written does that mean someone posting a video or picture on a social media site of hooning activity could be charged?

Well yes they could.  The law is so wide that if someone were to post videos they took of someone hooning or simply shared that video then as long as the police think they did that to organise promote or encourage someone to go to a hooning event they could be charged.

The law is really designed to prevent people gathering together to watch or participate in hooning activity.  However the law is written quite widely.  Only time will tell how the courts interpret the law.

 

I’m only 17 and have been charged with unlawful conduct associated with a hooning offence

Any person under 18 is considered a child which means they will attend children’s court for the charge not an adult court.

This type of offence might attract a high number of charges where the person charged is under 18.

The Youth Justice Act, governs how the Children’s Court deals with child offenders and gives the court a much wider series of options on how to punish someone like;

 

Conclusion

The Queensland government has introduced very wide and sweeping powers to crack down on hooning and to punish people who in the past could not have been charged.

As the law is so new it is not known how the courts will interpret the law.

 

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

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. Click here to select a time for us to call you back
  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

 

 

Facing a drink driving charge in Queensland can be a daunting experience, potentially leading to severe consequences that impact various aspects of your life. In Queensland, where road safety is a stated priority of the government, it's crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities if you find yourself in such a situation.

Drink driving is a serious offence that can have severe consequences for your licence, your finances and your life. If you are arrested for drink driving, you need to know what to do and what not to do to protect your rights and avoid further penalties. Here are the top 5 do's and don'ts if you are arrested for drink driving in Queensland.

 

Top 5 Things to Do If Arrested for Drink Driving

 

Remain Calm and Cooperative: When pulled over by the police, it's essential to remain calm and cooperative. Be polite, provide your identification and driver's licence, and follow their instructions. Resisting or becoming confrontational can only worsen the situation.

 

Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions beyond basic identification details. Politely inform the police that you would like to exercise this right.

 

Seek Legal Representation: Contact a qualified traffic lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled drink driving law firm, such as Clarity Law, can help protect your rights, guide you through the legal process, and ensure you make informed decisions at every step.

 

Preserve Evidence: If possible, document the circumstances leading up to the arrest. This could include taking photos and noting what occurred. Such evidence will likely only be of use if charged with other offences as well as drink driving or if you intend to plead not guilty to the charge.  See our articles on whether you can beat a DUI

 

Attend Mandatory Court Dates: Failing to attend court hearings can result in additional charges and further complications. Make sure to be punctual and present at all court appearances as required.

 

 

Top 5 Things NOT to Do If Arrested for Drink Driving:

 

Do NOT Admit Guilt: Avoid making self-incriminating statements, admitting guilt, or sharing unnecessary details about the incident with police. Anything you say can be used against you in court.

 

Do NOT Refuse a Breath Test: In Queensland, refusing a breath or blood test is a serious offence and can lead to immediate suspension of your driver's license. It's generally advisable to comply with the test while seeking legal guidance.

 

Do NOT Drive Under Suspension: If your license has been suspended due to a drink driving charge, refrain from driving until your suspension period is over. Driving under suspension can lead to harsh penalties.

 

Do NOT Ignore Legal Obligations: Follow any court orders, fines, or penalties issued by the court. Failure to comply can lead to further legal troubles.

 

Do NOT Plead Guilty without Legal Advice: Pleading guilty to a drink driving charge without legal advice could mean that you miss out on properly explaining to the court your mitigating factors or alternative penalties that could reduce the impact of the offence on your life. For example, you may be eligible for a work licence that allows you to drive for work purposes during your disqualification period. However, these licences are not automatically granted and require an application to the court with supporting evidence.

 

Summary

When facing a drink driving charge in Queensland, it's imperative to stay composed, exercise your rights, and seek professional legal assistance promptly. Clarity Law, with its expertise in traffic law, can provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the complexities of your case successfully.

 

FAQs

Q: What are the legal blood/breath alcohol limits in Queensland?

A: Queensland has four alcohol limits depending on your licence type and the vehicle you are driving. The limits are:

  • 'no alcohol' limit –you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is more than zero. This applies to learner, provisional and probationary licence holders, as well as drivers of trucks, buses, taxis, limousines, tow trucks, tractors, vehicles carrying dangerous goods or instructors supervising learner drivers.
  • general alcohol limit –you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is equal to or more than 0.05. This applies to open licence holders who are not subject to the 'no alcohol' limit.
  • middle alcohol limit –you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is equal to or more than 0.10.
  • high alcohol limit –you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is equal to or more than 0.15.

See our article on BAC limits in Queensland for more information.

 

Q: Can I represent myself in court for a drink driving charge?

A: While you have the right to represent yourself, it's highly recommended to seek legal representation as they are experts and appear in court regularly.  A skilled traffic lawyer can navigate the legal process, reduce your stress and achieve more favourable outcomes.  See our article on Why You Should Never Represent Yourself in Court for a traffic matter

 

Q: Will I lose my driver's license immediately after being charged?

A: If you're charged with drink driving, your licence will be suspended temporarily until your court hearing. However, the length of the suspension will vary based on the charge.  Low range drink driving charges will only have a 24 hour suspension, while mid and high range drink driving charges will see the licence suspended until the court date.

 

Q: What are the penalties for drink driving in Queensland?

A: The penalties for drink driving in Queensland depend on your blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC), your traffic history and whether you are a first-time or repeat offender. The penalties can include:

  • licence disqualification –the minimum and maximum periods vary depending on your BAC and the number of previous offences. For example, a first-time low range offender (0.05 BAC and over, but under 0.10 BAC) faces a licence disqualification of 1 to 9 months, while a repeat high range offender (0.15 BAC and over) faces a very lengthy licence disqualification.
  • fine –the maximum fine amount varies depending on your BAC and the number of previous offences. For example, a first-time low range offender faces a fine of up to $2,167, while a repeat high range offender faces a fine of up to $9,288.
  • imprisonment – if you have 3 high range drink driving charges in 5 years imprisonment will form part of the punishment.

See our article on drink driving penalties.

 

Q: Can I get a work licence or a restricted licence if I am disqualified for drink driving?

A: You may be able to apply for a work licence or a restricted licence if you are disqualified for drink driving, but only if you meet certain criteria. A work licence allows you to drive for work purposes only.  To be eligible for either licence, you must:

  • hold a current open Queensland driver licence
  • have been charged with a low or mid range drink driving offence (0.05 BAC and over, but under 0.15 BAC)
  • need your licence for work
  • not have been convicted of drink driving or a similar offence in the past 5 years
  • not have been disqualified, suspended or cancelled from driving in the past 5 years
  • not have been driving for work when you were caught drink driving

See our article on work licences for more information.

You must also apply for the licence before your court date and provide supporting evidence such as an affidavit from yourself and your employer, proof of income and proof of hardship. The court will decide whether to grant you the licence based on your personal circumstances and the public interest.

 

Q: What is an alcohol ignition interlock and when do I need one?

A: An alcohol ignition interlock is a device that is installed in your car that prevents it from starting if you have any alcohol in your system. You will need to have an interlock fitted to your car if you are convicted of:

  • high range drink driving (0.15 BAC and over)
  • mid range drink driving (.1 to .149 BAC)
  • repeat drink driving (two or more offences within 5 years)
  • failing to provide a breath or blood sample
  • dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence

 

You will need to have the interlock for at least 12 months after your disqualification period ends, and you will need to complete an interlock program that includes regular monitoring and reporting. You will also need to pay for the installation, maintenance and removal of the interlock device.  See our article on interlock exemptions.

 

Conclusion

Facing a drink driving charge in Queensland requires a proactive and informed approach. Following the do's and avoiding the don'ts outlined in this blog post, along with seeking the assistance of Clarity Law, can greatly enhance your chances of achieving the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, your rights and future are worth protecting, and a skilled traffic lawyer can make all the difference in your legal journey.

 

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

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

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to book a teleconference at a time that suits you

  4. Email our firms founder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

 

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 or drug driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink or drug driving charge will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

 

If you have been convicted of a mid range or high range drink driving offence (or 2 low range drink driving charges in 5 years) in Queensland, you will be required to install an alcohol interlock in your vehicle. However, there are some legal exemptions to this requirement.

The following are the legal exemptions to installing an interlock after a drink driving offence in Queensland:

  • You live in a remote location. 
  • You live on an island. 
  • You have a medical condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample. 
  • Your family will experience severe hardship if you are not granted an exemption.

An interlock exemption cannot be granted if you are unable to install the interlock for employment, education or financial reasons.

 

You live in a remote location

If you live more than 150 kilometres from the nearest interlock installer, you may be exempt from installing an interlock.

The application must provide proof you live in a remote location by providing one of the following

  • Lease/rental document
  • Mortgage/land ownership certificate
  • Electricity/gas/telephone account
  • Rates notice
  • Land tax valuation notice
  • Australian Tax Office notice
  • Australian Electoral Enrolment letter
  • Services Australia (Centrelink/Medicare/Child support) letter

 

You live on an island

If you live on an island that is not linked to the mainland by bridge, you may be exempt from installing an interlock.

The application must provide proof you live on an island by providing one of the following;

  • Lease/rental document
  • Mortgage/land ownership certificate
  • Electricity/gas/telephone account
  • Rates notice
  • Land tax valuation notice
  • Australian Tax Office notice
  • Australian Electoral Enrolment letter
  • Services Australia (Centrelink/Medicare/Child support) letter

 

Certain islands are excluded from the exemption including;

  • Coochiemudlo Island;
  • Fraser Island;
  • Karragarra Island;
  • Lamb Island;
  • Macleay Island;
  • Magnetic Island;
  • North Stradbroke Island;
  • Orpheus Island;
  • Russell Island.

 

You have a medical condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample

If you have a medical condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample, you may be exempt from installing an interlock.

You will need your doctor to complete an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program – Medical Certificate for Interlock Exemption Application (form F4864).

 

Your family will experience severe hardship if you are not granted an exemption

If your family will experience severe hardship if you are not granted an exemption, you may be exempt from installing an interlock.

The law states that an exemption could be considered where:

a refusal to grant the exemption would cause severe hardship to the applicant in a way other than by preventing the applicant from driving—

                                to or from, or in the course of, the applicant’s employment;

Its critical to remember that the family hardship exemption does not apply to the fact the driver or the family member won’t be able to work, drive to their educational facility or for financial reasons.  This means you can’t get an exemption if you wanted to drive a family member to their university.

 

The types of reasons you might seek an exemption for family hardship reasons could include;

  • only one vehicle is reasonably available to you or your family member and the family member has a medical reason for why they cant provide a sample of their breath
  • not being granted an interlock exemption would cause you or your family member severe hardship
  • no other transport is reasonably available to you or your family member

“Severe hardship” isn’t defined in the act.  Generally, it might be thought that severe hardship refers to a situation in which a person's life will be made significantly difficult or unpleasant.  The key is its just not hardship its severe hardship.  Severe is defined as generally “very bad, serious, or intense”.  It can also mean "extreme" or "grave.".

Evidence might need to include statutory declaration for family members, ownership records of any motor vehicles owned by family members, letter from an interlock installer saying an interlock can’t be installed etc

 

How do I apply for an alcohol  interlock exemption?

If you believe you can apply for an exemption then it can be done in the following ways;

  • Online through this link
  • In person at a TMR location using form F4862 - Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program - Interlock Exemption Application. The form can be download here

 

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about interlock exemptions

  • The exemptions are limited, and they are rarely granted and almost all people won’t be able to apply for an exemption.
  • You must apply for an exemption before your interlock program starts.
  • You must provide evidence to support your application for an exemption.

If you are granted an exemption from installing an interlock, you will still be subject to other penalties for your drink driving offence. These penalties will include a fine, a period of disqualification from driving, and a requirement to complete a drink driving course.

 

Can you help me with an interlock exemption?

No, Unfortunately as the application isn’t heard in court but decided by TMR we can’t assist on applying for exemption but we can help with any drink driving charge.

The information here is provided just to give our clients and other people needing to install an interlock more information.

 

 

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