Disqualified Driving

information on the charge of disqualified driving in Queensland and the penalties and outcomes the courts can impose.

Disqualified driving is an extremely serious charge in Queensland. 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.  Disqualified driving is the leading traffic offence that sends people to prison.  Since 2010 we have been dedicated to helping Queenslanders charged with traffic offences like disqualified driving.


What is disqualified driving?

Disqualified driving is a type of unlicensed driving charge where at the time you were arrested you were disqualified from driving by a court order.

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

Section 78 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 is the legislation that sets out the charge in Queensland.  It defines a disqualified driver as one who is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence because of any court order.


Which court deals with a disqualified driving charge?

The charge is dealt with in the magistrate’s court closest to where the charge occurred.  You can often seek to transfer the charge to the magistrate’s court closest to where you live if you are pleading guilty.  For a full list of courts and their contact details click here.


How is a disqualified driving heard in court?

We have an article on how drink driving charge are heard, disqualified driving charges are heard in a similar way.


If a court has disqualified you from driving and you're caught driving what are the consequences and penalties?

The consequences of driving while disqualified can range from a fine and 2-year disqualification up to imprisonment and a 5 year disqualification.

The factors that determine the penalty include

  • How long ago your licence was disqualified
  • Your traffic and criminal history
  • Whether you committed other charges at the same time like drink driving or drug driving
  • The reason you were driving
  • How you were driving


Will I receive a jail sentence?

Jail is often imposed by the courts for disqualified driving, even on some occasions for first time offenders although first time offenders are generally not sent to jail. If you have had previous disqualified driving charges or a bad traffic history it is vital to try and convince a magistrate that jail is inappropriate and that a more appropriate penalty is community service or probation. Although any jail sentence that might be imposed may be short (generally under 6 months) the financial and emotional impact will be severe.

We have had great success in the past convincing courts that the driver should not be sent to jail but instead should serve community service or that the jail sentence should be wholly suspended, often we have been able to convince the court to simply impose a fine and a further disqualification period without any further penalty.

This is not the type of offence you should attempt to undertake on your own as very specific submissions need to be made to the court to avoid jail. It is also important to note that you may appear before the same magistrate that originally disqualified you from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence.  About 10% of people charged with disqualified driving receive a prison sentence as part of the sentence.


How long will I be disqualified for?

The court will impose a further disqualification of your licence, generally a further 2 years which is the minimum but it can be up to a further 5 years. We note that there seems to be some confusion as to the minimum disqualification period, although in New South Wales it is 1 year, in Queensland it is 2 years.

The courts will look at how long ago the previous disqualification occurred and what were the circumstances of this current offence in setting a penalty. It is critical that all the relevant facts and circumstances of the offence and the person’s private and work history are placed before the court. We have all of our client’s complete references in a form the courts will accept.


Can I get a work licence?

It is not possible to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence or any other type of authorisation to drive if you are found guilty of disqualified driving, this is why its critical to try and get the minimum disqualification period.

People will sometimes enquire about a section 10 dismissal but this applies in New South Wales only not Queensland.


Is there a defence to a disqualified driving charge?

In certain limited circumstances a defence of necessity or emergency may be available e.g. driving a person to a hospital to receive emergency care. We have also acted for clients who have driven for reasons such as attending a chemist to obtain panadol for sick family and been able to have the police prosecution service drop the charges against our client. We are one of the only law firms to have had this success.

Other possible defences are you were not driving on a road, your disqualification had in fact ended or you were having to drive under duress (for example fleeing violence).

If you engage us we will check your circumstances to ensure any possible defence is explored.  We have an article on this topic that you might find interesting click here to read the article.


What can I do to reduce the penalty?

The best thing is obviously to engage an experienced traffic lawyer to act for you.  Other things you can look to do is obtaining character references, where appropriate medical reports and completing the QTOP course.


Do I need a lawyer?

Yes, do not attempt to represent yourself in the court on a disqualified driving especially if this is not your first disqualified driving charge as the risk of a jail is too high.


Is the charge really that serious?

It is, the charge is one of the leading reasons people charged with a traffic offence go to prison. 


Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest disqualification period avoiding a jail sentence if this is not your first offence. We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland and have helped hundreds of people charged with disqualified driving. We appear every week in the courts with people charged with disqualified driving, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients. Other law firms simply do not have the experience that we do and don’t know the magistrates like we do. Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include;

  1. we know the magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome for a disqualified driving charge
  2. we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek a jail sentence
  3. 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
  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
  5. your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
  6. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
  7. unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests


What courts do you appear in?

We appear in every court in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Maryborough. Just some of the courts we appear in for disqualified driving charges are;





Holland Park

Pine Rivers





Sunshine Coast








Gold Coast








Darling Downs




We have offices at;




                Gold Coast




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 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.

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 to conduct your guilty plea

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


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. 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 hundreds of disqualified driving charges throughout South East Queensland.

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

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
  3. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. 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 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 disqualified driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a disqualified driving charge will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on dangerous 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

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation