Drug Driving Lawyer Coolangatta

Drug Driving Law Firm Coolangatta


Welcome to the drug driving webpage of Clarity Law, since 2010 we have concentrated on getting the best results for people charged with drug driving in the Coolangatta Magistrates Court.  We appear in the Coolangatta courthouse almost weekly assisting clients charged with drug driving on the Gold Coast who are hoping to minimise the penalty and potentially seek a work licence.

The thousands of appearances in court we have made means that we have the experience to give you accurate advice and the best way to get the lowest penalty possible.  We also offer fixed prices for all our matters so you will know exactly what you will pay.  Our prices can be found here.

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”)


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 of being affected by that drug.  It is the most common drug driving charge for a person who has taken drugs the night before or some days earlier and driven not feeling they are affected by drugs.

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.  Coolangatta Court has certain rules when they will hear a work licence and you can contact us to discuss how a work licence application is heard.


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.  It is not possible to apply for a work licence or any type of hardship licence if you are charged with driving under the influence of a drug.

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 driving under the influence of legal prescription drugs.

Often we see this charge where a person is alleged to have shown Indica of being affected by drugs like;

  • 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

Whilst the police would generally seek a salvia or blood test it is legal for them to charge someone for drug driving based on the driver’s indicia alone.


Are there defences to a drug driving charge?

Most defences to a drug driving offence have now gone.  The tests the police carry out are considered to be accurate and are accepted by the courts.  If we are engaged we always look for any possible defences that may exist.


Can I get a work licence?

If you are charged with a driving with a relevant drug charge, then you may be able to get a work licence but this must be done at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  For more information on applying for a work licence if charged with drug driving go to our work licence webpage for more information.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of a drug (“DUI”) you cannot apply for a work licence or indeed any type of licence to keep driving during your disqualification. 


What will happen in court?

If you plead guilty, the Coolangatta court will usually 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 drug 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”).

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 convict you, impose a penalty and disqualify you from driving for a certain period of time. That 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.


What penalty will be imposed?

Well thought out submissions and arguments before a magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification.   For first time offenders with no other charges before the court the court will look to fines and disqualifications as a penalty.  For repeat offenders the court will be looking at a number of penalties from probation to prison.  No matter the penalty it will always include a disqualification of your drivers licence.


What can I do to reduce my penalty and disqualification period?

The best thing is obviously to engage an experienced traffic lawyer to act for you.  A lawyer knows what the court needs to hear to get the lowest penalty possible.

Other things you can look to do is obtaining character references, where appropriate medical reports and completing the QTOP course.


When does the disqualification begin?

The disqualification starts immediately.  You would not be able to drive once you leave the Coolangatta court.  If you are granted a work licence you can only drive in accordance with the court order.


How can I get more information about drug driving?

We have a dedicated drug driving page with lots more information.  You can access that page by clicking here.


Where is Coolangatta Court?

136 Musgrave Street

Coolangatta Qld 4225


Business hours

8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday


Phone                   (07) 5513 9700

Fax                         (07) 5513 9711

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





The current list of Magistrates at Coolangatta are;

Magistrate Kay Philipson
Magistrate Pamela Dowse
Magistrate James McDougall
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair
Magistrate John Costanzo
Magistrate Mark Howden
Magistrate Michelle Dooley
Magistrate Clare Kelly
Magistrate Kerry Magee
Magistrate Louise Shephard
Magistrate Kerrie O'Callaghan
Magistrate Cameron McKenzie
Magistrate Grace Kahlert

Magistrate Kathleen Payne


Our Local Office

Corporate Centre One

Level 15, 2 Corporate Court, Bundall 4217

Phone: 0756132683 

Please always phone ahead to book an appointment, due to COVID we can’t accept walk in clients at the current time.


Our Lawyers

Every one of our lawyers is extremely experienced appearing in the Southport Magistrates Court every week representing people on a huge range of traffic, and drug driving charges.

Steven Brough

Russell Tannock

Lucy Ferguson

Belinda Smyth – Client Services Manager

Between our lawyers we have appeared in court thousands of times representing clients with drug driving charges.


Our experience

Since 2010 we have been representing people throughout the Gold Coast region who have been charged with traffic offences such as drug driving and need a good drug 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. 

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 drug driving charge causes to people can be overwhelming, having a experienced drug 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.

Our prices include;

  • full preparation for court and devising strategy to minimise penalty
  • negotiations with the police prosecution unit including obtaining traffic history and charge documents
  • preparing for what we will tell the magistrate
  • advising you on how to obtain character references
  • all telephone calls and emails
  • detailed information to you on the likely disqualification period and fine and information on what will happen at court and afterwards
  • appearing in the court with you to conduct you’re a guilty plea


What areas of traffic law we undertake in addition to drug driving?


Why should I choose you and not just represent myself?

We understand that many people do just represent themselves in court for a drug driving charge.  Unfortunately some believe the duty lawyer will assist them which they will not for a drug driving charge unless you are facing a prison sentence.

We get calls every week from people who have represented themselves in a Gold Coast court and had a terrible outcome and are now desperate to try and do something to overturn the decision.  Just some of the reasons to engage a traffic lawyer includes;

  1. We have appeared in Coolangatta hundreds of times this means we know what the magistrates want to hear to minimise the disqualification period
  2. We can advise you if you qualify for a work licence
  3. We are there to look after your interests, neither the magistrates nor the police prosecutor is going to do that, you need someone on your side
  4. We can take you through the whole process so you are not worried what will occur in Coolangatta court as we would have explained everything to you and will be with you at court to assist you. This will dramatically reduce your stress levels
  5. Engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously


Links that may be of assistance

Client Testimonials

Link to our Blog


List of Queensland Courts and their contact details

Daily list of Matters in Coolangatta Courts

List of Court Calendars for Queensland Courts


If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact Clarity Law then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our client services manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have over 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 and no obligation.

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 Coolangatta court and the magistrates and prosecutors.


How to get in Contact with us

If you want to engage us or just need further information or no obligation 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.