Clarity Law - drivinglaw.com.au

South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

drink driving

  • Drink Driving

    Drink driving (also referred to as a DUI or driving UIL), is one of the most serious traffic offences a person can find themselves charged with.  In Queensland unlike other states there is a mandatory requirement to disqualify a person’s drivers licence no matter what the personal circumstances are or the affect a disqualification will have on a person and their family.

    A drink driving charge is one of the most common offences that a Magistrate will encounter however along with increased enforcement and public education over the past few years the Courts attitude to drink driving has harden especially in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Courts.  If you are charged with a DUI or drink driving offence do not treat it lightly as the Magistrate will not be.  Clarity Law is one of the leading drink driving law firms in Queensland but with very affordable fixed fees.

     

    What level of alcohol will see me charged with drink driving?

    In general, the higher the BAC reading the worse the punishment.   In Queensland the drink driving offences are usually separated into low range drink driving that being below .1, mid-range drink driving that being a reading between .1 and .149 and high range drink driving (also called a DUI or UIL) which is anything above .15.

    Below is a table with the applicable BAC limits:

    Licence class or age

    Legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC)

    Holder of a learner, P1/P2 provisional or probationary licence (regardless of age).

    0.00
    (no alcohol limit)

    Holder of an open licence.
    (However, if you obtain your class RE motorcycle licence, you must ride with a zero BAC in your first year of riding, regardless of your age or the class of vehicle licence you hold).

    Below 0.05
    (general alcohol limit)

    Holder of a licence when driving, or in charge of, a truck (GVM over 4.5t), bus (built or fitted to carry more than 12 adults, including the driver), articulated motor vehicle, B-double, road train, vehicle carrying dangerous goods, taxi, limousine, tow truck, pilot vehicle, and public passenger vehicle or a vehicle while it is being used by a driver trainer to give driver training (or any driver supervising a learner driver).

    0.00
    (no alcohol limit)

     

    What period of disqualification of my driver licence will I get?

    First time convictions carry a fine and disqualification. The length of disqualification and amount of the fine depends largely on the blood alcohol limit. If there are previous convictions the fine and disqualification time will increase.   According to the legislation if there are 3 convictions in 5 years with BAC readings above 0.15% jail time will be a compulsory part of the punishment.

    Below is a table showing a table of possible penalties for first time offenders:

    Over the "no alcohol limit"

    • Maximum fine $1,400 and/or 3 months' imprisonment; AND
    • Mandatory disqualification of 3 months with a maximum of 9 months

    Over "general alcohol limit" (.05% - .099%)

    • Maximum fine $1,400 and/or 3 months' imprisonment; AND
    • Mandatory disqualification of 1 month with maximum of 9 months

    Over “middle alcohol limit” (.1%-.149)

    • Maximum fine $1,400 and/or 3 months' imprisonment; AND
    • Mandatory disqualification of 3 months with maximum of 12 months

    Over "high limit" (over .15%)

    • Maximum fine $2,100 and/or 9 months' imprisonment; AND
    • Mandatory disqualification of 6 months with a maximum of an absolute  disqualification

    It is also an offence to refuse or fail to provide a specimen of breath for analysis.  If you are charged with this you are considered to have committed a high range drink driving charge (DUI)

     

    I am charged with drink driving but need to drive during any disqualification

    It may be possible for you to apply for a work licence if you held an open licence at the time of the offence, are charged with low or mid-range drink driving and had no suspensions of your licence in the last 5 years but this must be done at the time you appear in the Court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  You cannot apply for a work licence if you are charged with high range drink driving (driving under the influence). Please see our section on work licences for further information or check out the most comprehensive guide to apply for a work licence on the internet.

    A work licence only allows you to drive for work purposes you cannot get a work licence or hardship licence to be able to drive for person reasons i.e. driving your children to school.  In Queensland a period of disqualification must be imposed and so if personal driving is critical all you can do is try and minimise the disqualification period as much as possible.

    Well thought out submissions and arguments before a Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification.  There are a number of factors that can lead a Magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.

     

    I wasn’t driving the vehicle but I was arrested for being in charge of a motor vehicle

    You can be charged with drink driving being in charge of a vehicle if you had control of the motor vehicle for example if you were in the driver’s seat and had the keys near you even if you were not driving or had no intention of driving.  Often this occurs when people are in the car waiting to be picked up, in the car wanting to find something or just sleeping.

    It does not matter that the car was not on a road.  You can be charged with drink driving even if the car was on private property such as a car park or driveway.

     

    Are there defences to a drink driving charge?

    Most defences to a drink driving offence have now gone.  The police must conduct the breath or blood test within 3 hours of you driving and it must be conducted in accordance with the law.

    If you are charged with a failure to provide a breath sample then it is a defence to this charge to prove that due to a physical condition you were unable to provide a sufficient specimen of breath.  This is a very technical area of the law and if you think you have a defence you should contact us.

     

    Will I get a criminal record?

    No all traffic convictions are just that, traffic convictions, they are not considered to be criminal charges.  The Courts are unlikely not to record a conviction unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way.  It should be noted however that overseas travel may be more difficult or impossible if a conviction for a DUI is recorded, especially to Islamic countries or the United States or Canada

     

    Do I get to keep my physical licence?

    No, you are required to surrender your licence to Queensland Transport by the day after the Court disqualifies you or to the Police prosecutor on the Court date.

    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 and obtain an proof of age card to help with identification during your period of disqualification.

     

    What will happen in Court?

    We have a great article on appearing in Brisbane Court for drink driving charge that will give you more information.

    In general terms, drink driving matters are dealt with “summarily”, which means that they are dealt with in a Magistrates Court.  The different Magistrates Courts across Queensland deal with drink driving offences on their own or as part of a general, criminal law “call-over”. This depends on the size of the court. For example, Brisbane Magistrates Court has a dedicated courtroom that only deals with traffic matters. In Maroochydore the majority of drink driving charges are heard on a Monday, in smaller, regional courts (which usually only have 1 courtroom) like Pine Rivers or Caboolture, you may find yourself in court with people charged with far more serious criminal offences. Regardless, when you are charged, the police will give you a notice to appear in court or give you bail to appear in court on a specific date.  The addresses of all Queensland Magistrates Courts can be found by clicking here.


    In addition to the date, you will also be advised of what time you must be at court. Generally, you will be told to be at court at 8.30am or 9.00am (again, depending on the court). While you must be at court at this time, your matter will not be heard immediately. Instead, the court and the police prosecutor work together to decide the order in which matters will be heard that day.  As a rule, anyone who has legal representation will be heard first, followed by everyone who is representing themselves.


    At Court

    When you first get to court, your Solicitor will speak to the police prosecutor. The police prosecutor will give your Solicitor (we always obtain them before the court date so you can know exactly what the police are alleging occurred) a copy of the police’s court brief (in Queensland, this document is referred to as a “QP9”). The QP9 describes the drink driving charge for with which you have been charged, a brief outline of the facts that the police allege constitutes the offence, your criminal history (if any), your traffic history (if any), and a copy of the breath analysis certificate (which you should have received at the time you were charged). If you would like to know more about a QP9 and why it’s so important we have an article you can read.

    If the QP9 is incorrect than negotiations would have to be had with the police prosecutor to amend the QP9, this is why we always get our clients QP9 before the court date so if changes need to be made they can be made before the court date as usually the police prosecutor will not amend the QP9 at court and therefore the charges would have to be adjourned to another date.


    If you need to apply for a work licence, the court may adjourn your matter to a special day for hearing work licence applications (although not all courts do this). The work licence application and the drink driving charge must be heard at the same time. All of the affidavits and the application form must be filed and served before the date the court hears the work licence application.


    If you require an adjournment, the court will give you a date to come back to court.


    If you were charged with a low-range drink driving offence, your driver’s licence continues to be valid (unless it has been cancelled or suspended for other reasons) until the next court date and you can still drive. If you were charged with a mid-range or high-range drink driving offence, your driver’s licence remains suspended until the next court date and you must not drive during this time.


    If you intend to plead guilty and already have legal representation and do not need to discuss your matter with the police, the court will finalise your matter on the first court date.



    Pleading Guilty

    If you plead guilty, the court will deal with your matter immediately. The Magistrate will read the charge to you and ask you how you plead. The Magistrate may also ask you if you are entering the plea of your own free will. The Police Prosecutor will then read the outline of facts and give the Magistrate copies of the breath analysis certificate, your criminal history and traffic history. The police prosecutor may also offer an opinion as to what penalties should be imposed on you.


    After the Prosecutor has spoken, the Magistrate will give you an opportunity to speak. Your Lawyer (or you if you don’t have a lawyer) will then put explain what occurred, why it occurred, the positive things you have done since the offence, your general good character and the impact the penalty including the disqualification will have on you. This is done to support asking the Magistrate to give you the minimum penalty that can be argued for on the strength of those facts and circumstances.


    The court will also consider any other material you might have obtained that will help reduce the penalty such as character references or completing a driving course such at Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). We are proud to be asponsorof QTOP.


    Once your Lawyer has spoken, the Magistrate may seek further clarification of certain matter from the police, from your Lawyer, or from both. The Magistrate will then formally convict you, impose a penalty (which can cover the full range of penalties from fines, community service, probation, and up to imprisonment), and disqualify you from driving for a certain period of time. The licence disqualification takes effect immediately.


    If you have applied for a work licence, the Magistrate will indicate whether the application is granted. If it is granted the Magistrate will state the conditions on which the licence is granted.


    Once you are disqualified, you must immediately surrender your driver’s licence to the police prosecutor. It is an offence to be in possession of your licence after you have been disqualified from driving. Your Solicitor will usually hand over your licence on your behalf. If you have been granted a work licence, you will not need to surrender your driver’s licence.

     

    Will my matter be in the paper?

    Possibly, the Court is an open Court, what this means is that any person is entitled to watch the Court proceedings.  This also means that a reporter is entitled to report on what occurred in the Court.  It is not possible to have the Court ban the reporting.

     

    When does the disqualification begin?

    The disqualification starts immediately.  You would not be able to drive once you leave the Court.  If your licence was immediately suspended because you were a mid or high range drink driver then the court will take into account the time you have been suspended but the disqualification period the court sets starts from the court date.

     

    Will I need to fit an Interlock to my car?

    You will be required to have an interlock device fitted to your vehiclefor the period of one year once you are eligible to obtain your driver’s licence back if you are charged with high range drink driving (DUI or UIL) or this is your second drink driving charge within 5 years.  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.

     

    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.

    After you have been disqualified for a drink driving offence you will be on a probationary licence for one year, this means that;

    1. You have only 4 demerit points available
    2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year

    You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back if you were licenced at the time of the offence.

    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 very serious charge.

     

    Should I get a Traffic Lawyer to represent me?

    In a word, yes this is not an offence where you should simply turn up to the Court without a lawyer.  The consequences and penalties the Court may impose are too serious not to seek to minimise the penalty by having a drink driving lawyer with you.

    If you have a bad traffic history, have previously been convicted of drink driving or are charged with mid or high range drink driving offence then a DUI or drink driving Lawyer is critical.  We get 3-4 calls a week from people who represented themselves in court and received extremely harsh penalties and need to try and appeal the result.  In most cases an appeal is not possible or if it is will cost a huge amount for the legal fees.  It is better to have a lawyer from the start to minimise the drink driving penalty.

     

    Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

    Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest disqualification period and a fine as low possible.   We are the leading drink driving law firm in South East Queensland, everyday our lawyers are in Court getting the best outcome for clients.  Since 2010 we have appeared in over 1,500 drink driving cases and no one has the experience we do.  Just some of the benefits of us acting for you for your drink driving charge include;

    • we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome
    • we have good relationships with the Police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not object to the Court imposing the minimum disqualification period applicable.
    • we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in Court
    • engaging us shows the Court you are taking your charges seriously
    • your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
    • you will be fully informed of what is to happen in Court and what this means for you after Court
    • unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

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

     

    What Courts do you appear in?

    We appear in every Court in South East Queensland.  Just some of the Court we appear in are;

    1.            Beenleigh Magistrates Court

    2.            Brisbane Magistrates Court

    3.            Caloundra Magistrates Court

    4.            Caboolture Magistrates Court

    5.            Gympie Magistrates Court

    6.            Holland park Magistrates Court

    7.            Ipswich Magistrates Court

    8.            Maroochydore Magistrates Court

    9.            Noosa Magistrates Court

    10.          Pine Rivers Magistrates Court

    11.          Southport Magistrates Court

    12.          Toowoomba Magistrates Court

    13.          Wynnum Magistrates Court

    For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.

     

    Will I need to come in to the office to see you?

    We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Strathpine, Loganholme and Ipswich 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.

     

    What do you charge?

    We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  We don't charge any travelling fees either; if you are in Maroochydore or Southport you will pay the same price as if you are Brisbane.

    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;

    • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
    • negotiations with the police prosecution unit including obtaining traffic history and charge documents
    • drafting submissions for the court
    • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)
    • all telephone calls, faxes 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

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

     

    If I contacted you what would occur?

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

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

     

    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 formand 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.

    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 atleast have more information about drink driving. You wont be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

     

    Need more information?

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

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

  • Driving Offences

    A driving offence and the threat of losing your licence can have a devastating impact on your life.  It is critical that whatever the driving charge that you get the best legal representation.  We get calls every week from people who have been to court without a lawyer and received a punishment much more severe than they thought it would be, at that point there is not much we can do to help.  None of our clients have ever regretted getting good legal advice and representation.  Remember we are experts on traffic law in Queensland.

     

    Drink Driving 

    Drink driving in Queensland is a serious offence and there is a no tolerance attitude by the courts, if you are ‘over the limit’ you will be charged and you must receive some period of disqualification

    It may be possible for you to apply for a work licence but this must be done at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  Please see our section on work licences for further information.

    Well thought out submissions and arguments before a Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification.  There are a number of factors that can lead a magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.   Visit our drink driving page for more information.

     

    Drug Driving

    Drug driving is becoming more common on Queensland roads. 

    There are two possible drug driving charges in Queensland either;

    • driving whilst a relevant drug is in the system; or
    • driving under the influence of a drug (“DUI”)

    In essence driving with a relevant drug in the system is similar to low range drink driving while driving under the influence of a drug is similar to high range drink driving.

    The punishments are similar to drink driving offences and it may be possible to apply for work licence.  For more information visit our drug driving page.

     

    Careless Driving

    Careless driving is also known as driving without due care and attention.   The charge is less serious than dangerous driving but can still carry an extensive disqualification period.  Typically the Police issue careless driving charges for traffic accidents where they feel the driver is at fault.  The Police must be satisfied that you drove without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users.  You can be charged with careless driving even if on private property.  The court has the ability to impose a disqualification period if the circumstances warrant.  The disqualification can range from 1 month to an absolute disqualification.  Visit our careless driving page for more information.

     

    Disqualified Driving

    Disqualified driving is an extremely serious charge in Queensland.  The Courts are particularly hard on these types of offences as to be charged with disqualified driving you must have been disqualified by a court but still chosen to drive.  Magistrates often feel a personal affront that you have disobeyed their orders.

    The charge is different to unlicensed driving or driving without a licence as there must be a previous disqualification by the courts still in place at the time the offence was committed.

    Jail is often imposed by the courts for disqualified driving, even on rare occasions for first time offenders.  It is vital to try and convince a Magistrate that jail is inappropriate and that a more appropriate penalty is community service or probation.  The court will also impose a further disqualification of your licence, from 2 up to 5 further years.  Visit our disqualified driving page for more information.

     

    Unlicensed Driving

    People are charged with unlicensed driving because at the time of their licence status was checked by the police they were not licenced to drive on Queensland roads.

    The typical types of unlicensed driving charges include;

    1. Unlicensed driving– applies generally where people have forgotten to renew their licence
    2. Unlicensed driving (SPER suspended) – applies to people who have a debt with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) that they haven’t paid and SPER has suspended their licence
    3. Unlicensed driving (demerit point suspended) – applies to people whose licence has been suspended for too many demerit points.  Generally Queensland Transport would have written to a person who exceeded their demerit points and that person has elected a 3 month suspension or failed to elect a good driving behaviour period and their licence was automatically suspended for 3 months.
    4. Unlicensed driving (disqualified by court order) – applies to people whose licence has been disqualified by a court.  This is a very serious charge, for more information visit our disqualified driving webpage

    Visit our unlicensed driving page for more information.

     

    Evading Police

    The charge of evading police, also known as failing to stop is an extremely serious charge with the Queensland Government enacting some of the toughest legislation in the country.  The government have shown a continued desire to see people jailed for evading the police.

    Visit our evading police page for more information.

     

    Dangerous Driving

    Dangerous driving is one of the most serious traffic offences in Queensland.   Dangerous driving, depending on the circumstances of the offence can be either a traffic offence or a criminal offence.   The penalty for dangerous driving can be up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $4,000.00 depending on a number of factors including whether the driver consumed alcohol or was speeding.

    If a person is injured or killed as a result of an accident it is possible to be charged with Dangerous Driving causing injury or death.   If any of the following aggravating circumstances exist then the maximum penalty is 14 years in prison:

    • at the time the person was adversely affected by alcohol or drugs; or
    • at the time the person was excessively speeding or taking part in an unlawful race; or
    • the person has previously been convicted for dangerous driving

    It is critical to get legal advice if you are charged with dangerous driving as prison is a real possibility for this offence or at the very least a large fine and a long disqualification period.   A person should never appear unrepresented on a charge of dangerous driving as the legal issues are simply too complex.  Visit our dangerous driving page for more information.

     

    Special Hardship Licence

    Where you have exceed 2 or more demerit points in a good driving behaviour period or exceed the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed offence) it might be possible to apply for a special hardship licence to continue to drive for certain work and personal reasons. Visit our special hardship licence page for more information.  There are very strict rules regarding who can apply for a special hardship licence.

     

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

    We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken thousands of cases throughout South East Queensland.

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

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

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

     

    Drink driving charge

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

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

     

    Drug driving charge

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

     

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

     

    Driving during your suspension

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

    Here at Clarity Law we appear several times a week in the Courts with people charged with drink driving, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients, every time.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer one of the most competitive prices for drink driving charges in Queensland click here to see what we will charge.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

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

     

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

  • Licences

    A driver’s licence and the ability to drive can be one of the most valuable services provided by the Government.  It is not until that ability to drive is threatened that how important that licence is to your day to day activities and work is revealed.  In Queensland the courts have only limited circumstances where they can grant a licence where a person is facing a suspension or disqualification.  These are where a person is charged with drink or drug driving and without a licence they will lose their job or where a person has incurred 2 or more demerit points on a good driving behaviour period or exceeded 40 km/h.  These types of applications are highly technical.

    Work Licences

    A work licence (also known as a restricted 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 drink driving charge (a BAC reading under .15) or a drug driving charge (driving with a relevant drug).   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 a living.

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

    • hold a current Queensland open driver's licence for the vehicle you were driving
    • have had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15% or if it was a drug driving charge what it was driving with a relevant drug and not drug driving under the influence
    • not have been driving for your job (there are certain exemptions) or already under a work licence when arrested
    • 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 license.
    • In the last 5 years not lost your licence

    In order for the court to grant a work licence you must show the court that you are a 'fit and proper person' and that 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 may restrict the hours and circumstances in which you can drive.  A work licence requires extensive affidavit evidence of both yourself and your employer to convince the court you should receive a work licence.  A work licence must be applied for before you plead guilty, you cannot apply for a work licence after the court finds you guilty of drink driving or drug driving.  Clarity law are experts on work licences, we have acted for all types of people in their applications, from self-employed people and business owners to professional drivers and salespeople.  By engaging Clarity Law you will get professionally drafted affidavits and expert representation in the court.   We are happy to discuss, free of charge, whether you can apply for a work licence and what restrictions the court may impose on you.

    If you need more information click here to complete a form for us to contact you or visit our work licence page.

     

    Need more information?

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

     

    Special Hardship Licenses

    A special hardship, SHO or demerit points licence is a form of work licence issued when you exceed 2 points on a good driving behaviour period or have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h.

    If you accumulate too many 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. If you choose the suspension or do not reply to this letter, then you have no appeal and cannot get any other licence during the suspension.

    If you opt for a good behaviour driving period and lose two or more points during that time, in limited 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

    If you have had your licence disqualified by a court or suspended in the last five years you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship licence

    If you are granted your special hardship application your licence suspension ends from that date but you can only drive in accordance with the conditions in the special hardship order. Generally the licence conditions will specify you may drive for work purposes or certain defined occasion’s e.g.  taking someone to hospital on a regular basis to receive treatment.

    The application for the special hardship licence must be undertaken in the Magistrate’s court nearest to where you live.

    Any application for a special hardship licence will require detailed affidavits from yourself and in some cases your employer.  We are happy to discuss, free of charge, whether you can apply for a special hardship licence and what activities the court may allow you to drive for.  If your licence is important you should not apply to the courts without an experienced traffic lawyers assistance.

    If you need more information visit our special hardship licence page.

     

    Need more information?

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

     

    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 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. Visit our main website page

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

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

  • Work Licences

     If you have been charged with a drink or drug driving offence in Queensland you may be entitled to apply for a work licence.  A work licence (also sometimes spelt work license) is also known as a restricted licence, workers licence, section 87 licence or day licence.

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

     

    The Basics

     

    Who can 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
    • at the time of the offence you were not already driving under a work licence
    • in the last five years, you have not been convicted anywhere of a drink driving offence or failing to provide a specimen of breath or blood
    • in the last five years, you have not been disqualified from holding a licence or had your licence suspended or cancelled in Queensland (this does not include a SPER suspension that did not go to court) and
    • your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was below 0.15% or if it is a drug driving offence the charge must be one of driving with relevant drug in the system not driving under the influence of a drug.

     

    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 under an open or provisional licence
    • you held a provisional licence or learners permit
    • your blood alcohol level exceeded 0% while driving a truck or taxi or
    • 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 is a work licence?

    A work licence allows a person convicted of certain drink or drug driving offences 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’s the difference between a day licence, restricted licence and a work licence?

    Nothing, they are all terms used by people to describe the same thing.  The terms restricted licence or day licence are quite commonly used by the public.  In the court lawyers, the police and the Magistrates generally use the terms work licence or section 87 licence.  Queensland Transport tends to use the term restricted licence.

     

    Getting a Work Licence

     

    When to apply

    You must make your application for a work licence in the same court that you required to attend for your drink or drug driving charge.  You must also make the application BEFORE you are found guilty of the drink or drug driving offence.  If you are disqualified by the court but later on find you need a work licence then it is too late.

     

    When will the application be heard?

    Generally your application for a work licence will not be heard on the first time that you appear in the court for the drug or drink driving offence.  For instance, courts, such as the Brisbane Magistrates Court, Caboolture, Southport or Maroochydore Magistrates Court will adjourn the hearing of the application for a work licence to another date a few weeks into the future.  Other courts such as Wynnum, Pine Rivers, Holland Park might hear a work licence application on the first court date.

     

    What information must you provide to the court?

    To make an application for a work licence you must provide the court with an affidavit of yourself and, if not self-employed, an affidavit of your employer.  Your affidavit will need to address your personal, work, financial and driving circumstances.

    Your employer’s affidavit must also address why you need a licence for your job and an explicit statement that you will lose your job unless you are issued with a work licence.

    The affidavit must be in the correct format, contain all the necessary information to satisfy the Magistrate and properly witnessed.  The affidavits must also be accompanied by an application form.

    If required by the court, yourself and your employer may be required to give evidence in the witness box in front of the Magistrate.

    You will also need to file an application called Application for an Order directing the issue of a Restricted Licence (s87) (Form F3181).

    The application and affidavits need to be filed with the court and then served on the local police prosecution unit well before your court date.

    One of the main reasons work licence applications are refused by Magistrates is that the affidavits are not correct or inadequate.

     

    Things to consider

     

    What should I wear to court?

    You should wear the most business like clothes you feel comfortable wearing. Perhaps it best to describe the clothing as what you would wear to a job interview.  Don’t wear your work uniform or clothes with prominent logos or writing. Never wear flip flops or shorts to court.

     

    What should I bring to court?

    You should have already filed in the court 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
    5. If you completed QTOP then a copy of the completion documents

    You should also bring your driver’s licence and cash to pay for your new licence at Queensland Transport if a work licence is granted.

     

    Will I get a criminal record?

    Traffic convictions are just that, traffic convictions, they are not considered to be criminal convictions in practice. The courts are unlikely not to record a traffic conviction unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way. It is very rare to have no conviction recorded.

     

    Will my matter be in the press?

    Possibly, the court is an open court. What this means is that any person is entitled to watch and report on the court proceedings.

     

    How long will I lose my licence for?

    This is almost an impossible question to answer. It depends on your circumstances, your traffic history and criminal history (if any), your reading, the circumstances of your arrest and the Magistrate on the day.  Only a traffic lawyer will be able to give you a proper estimate.

    Generally the courts will impose a longer disqualification period where you are granted a work licence. This can be up to double the period you would get without a work licence.

    A very general rough guide to penalties for a first time offender is listed below; please note this is not legal advice as to your potential penalty it is merely a rough general guide. Some Magistrates will increase your disqualification period with a work licence, others will not and this is why we cannot give you an accurate idea of your potential disqualification.  Employing a lawyer will almost always reduce your disqualification period.

     

    BAC reading

    Disqualification period

    Fine

    .05-.07

    1-2 months

    $300-400

    .07-.08

    2-3 months

    $400-500

    .08-.1

    3-5 months

    $500-600

    .1-.12

    5-6 months

    $600-700

    .12-.13

    6-8 months

    $700-800

    .13-.15

    8-11 months

    $800-900

     

    Drug driving is harder to estimate as the court is not provided with the exact amount of drugs in the system at the time of the arrest.

    The court will generally allow you to refer any fine to SPER so you can pay it off.

     

    What happens in court?

    In the court the Magistrate will access your application and judge whether it meets the requirements of section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act.  Generally, the court must consider;

    • whether you are a fit and proper person to be granted a work licence; and
    • whether losing your licence will deprive you of the means of earning your income

    The Court will also need to sentence you for your drug or drink driving offence.   The police prosecutor will provide to the court the details of your offence and your traffic history.  The prosecutor also has the power to object to you being granted a work licence.

    At the end of the hearing you will receive a disqualification period, a fine and the Court may or may not grant you a work licence. We have an article on how drink driving charge are heard, on our blog.

     

    How does the court judge my application?

    In order for the court to grant a work licence you must show the court that you are a 'fit and proper person' and that 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 court decides whether you will be derived of the means of earning your income based on your 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.

     

    Restrictions on a work licence

    The court will restrict how the work licence may be used by you, for example the court may;

    • 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

     

    What can I do to improve my chances of getting a work licence?

    You need to have a properly drafted affidavit that covers everything the court needs to know.  This is the best way to get a work licence. 

    In addition the court will often take into account any character references you have obtained.

    You should also complete a driving course such at Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). This course is often the factor that sways a Magistrate into granting the application.  We are proud to be a sponsor of QTOP.

     

    Does my employer have to know about my application?

    If you are not a contractor or self-employed but are employed then your employer must sign an affidavit confirming you will be deprived of your income if the work licence isn’t granted.  Therefore if you are employed your employer will need to know about your application.

     

    I’m self-employed or own the business can I apply for a work licence?

    Yes.

     

    Disqualification period

    If a work licence is granted, you may be disqualified from driving for up to double the amount of time than if you had not applied for the licence.  This is completely up to the Magistrate, some Magistrates will double, some will not.

    The work licence will be issued for the entire period of your disqualification meaning that throughout the period of disqualification you would be able to drive for work purposes.

     

    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.

     

    What if I am not granted a work licence?

    If you are not granted a work licence then you might have the right to appeal and this must be done within one calendar month of your court date. Those time limits are very strict. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide information on appealing the refusal to grant work licence, you would need to obtain urgent legal advice.

     It’s just much easier to simply do the application correctly the first time.

     

    What happens after my disqualification period?

    After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your normal licence. You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended.

    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. This 1 year started at the time your licence was disqualified by the court and the work licence granted so you may only have a few months to run at this point.

    You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back.

     

    Can I vary the work licence after it is granted?

    Yes if your circumstances change you can apply to the court to vary your current order.

     

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

    You will lose your work licence for whatever time is left on it and in addition you will be disqualified for a further 3 months. 

     

    Frequently asked questions

    Q. It says I cant apply for a work licence if I was driving for work at the time of the offence, when I was caught I was driving home from work, can I still apply?

    A. Yes you may be able to apply, the court allows people to apply if generally driving is not the main function of their employment. This is a really complicated area of law and if you were driving for work or to or from work at the time of the offence you definitely need legal advice.

     

    Q. I have previously been on a good driving behaviour period in the last 5 years, will this stop my from getting a work licence

    A. No

     

    Q. I have a mid range drink driving charge, the police gave me a notice saying I cannot drive until my court date but that’s not for 3 weeks and I need to drive or I will lose my job.

    A. The court does allow person who is mid range and thus immediately suspended to apply for what is essentially an emergency work licence pending the court hearing their full work licence application.  It is known as a section 79E application and is something that even many courts don’t know about. 

     

    Q. I am a plumber and get called out to emergency work, can I do this under a work licence?

    A. If this information was put before the court then the Magistrate can allow this in the terms of the work licence. If it is not added to the work licence terms then you can only drive in accordance with the exact working of the work licence order.

     

    Should I get a lawyer to represent me?

    In a word, yes.  Although you are free to represent yourself we have found that unrepresented people generally end up with a longer disqualification period and more importantly, are less likely to be granted the application because their paperwork is defective or does not adequately cover all the requirements of the Act.  Remember you get one shot at this, you cannot reapply if you are refused.  On one particular Court day recently, of the 5 people making an application for a work licence only our client was granted one.

    It is also important to remember that during your period of disqualification you cannot drive to the shops, to pick up the kids etc so minimising the period of disqualification is critical.  Common problems we have seen with unrepresented applications include;

    • failing to have the Court grant the licence for all hours you work
    • failing to have the Court grant the licence for all days you work
    • failing to take into account the time you have to leave for work in the morning or return after work
    • failing to have the licence issued for all the vehicle types you need to drive
    • failing to have the order allow you to carry passengers
    • not providing the correct information to the court

     

    If I’m going to engage a lawyer why should I engage Clarity Law?

    At Clarity Law we are experts in Queensland traffic law. We are in the court every single day helping people with traffic charges. We have successfully argued the court grant almost 1,000 work licence applications. You simply can’t find a traffic law firm with more experience in the courts. We also have upfront fixed fees with no hidden charges.

     

    Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

    Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the absolute lowest disqualification period and fine possible as well as having the work licence granted.   We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland, everyday our lawyers are in court getting the best outcome for clients.  Just some of the benefits of us handling your work licence application include;

    • we know the Magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the work licence and impose the lowest disqualification period
    • we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not object to the court granting the work licence application
    • we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court
    • engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
    • we will draft all the material including if needed your employer’s affidavit
    • your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
    • you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
    • unlike the police or the Magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

    Here at Clarity Law we have never failed in an application for a work licence.  At best we have found from our experience that unrepresented people have only a 60-70% chance of getting a work licence.

     

    What courts do you appear in?

    We appear in every Court in South East Queensland.  Just some of the Court we appear in are;

    1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
    2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
    3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
    4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
    5. Gympie Magistrates Court
    6. Holland park Magistrates Court
    7. Ipswich Magistrates Court
    8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
    9. Noosa Magistrates Court
    10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
    11. Southport Magistrates Court
    12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
    13. Wynnum Magistrates Court

    For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.

     

    Will I need to come into the office to see you?

    We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts as well as Brendale, Ipswich and Loganholme 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.

     

    What do you charge?

    We charge a flat fee of $1,800 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 price includes;

    • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
    • negotiations with the police prosecution unit including obtaining 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 drink or 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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    4. Visit our drink driving page
    5. Visit our drug driving page

    We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba.  We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people.  We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about work licences and the court process. 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 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 work licences 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