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Traffic Charges

Michael Coman LLB B Bus - Gold Coast solicitor
Michael Coman LLB B Bus
Email Michael Coman

With the limited public transport on the Gold Coast, most of us drive a car. A lot of us need our licence to drive to and from work or for work.

With most of us driving and the use of speed cameras and red light cameras increasing, chances are that you have received a fine or two for a traffic related offence and have accumulated demerit points.

The accumulation of demerit points sometimes lead to a driver’s licence being suspended and sometimes, correspondence from Queensland Transport may not be received by you (if you frequently change address etc) and you may not be aware that you are driving without a licence.

Sometimes, unpaid fines can result in a State Penalty and Enforcement Registry (SPER) suspension which you may not be aware of.

If you are caught driving without a licence, or while your licence is suspended, you will be charged with “unlicensed driving” and you face a disqualification of your licence and a monetary fine. If you drive while on a “disqualified licence”, you face a significant period without your licence.

For repeat offenders, harsher penalties such as probation, community service or imprisonment can be ordered.

It is very important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after you are aware of your traffic offence.

Even though it is a traffic offence, you need to treat it seriously and the sooner you seek advice, the better the outcome. We can assist you by providing to you options and advice and defending the matter in Court.

Drink Driving and Drug Driving

A drink driving charge may cost you more than just your driver’s licence.  At Davoren Associates we understand that you may need a licence to carry out your every day commitments including your role as a parent or for work - without your licence, your job may be on the line.

If you find yourself in this situation, our Solicitors can assist you by:

  • Providing advice to you about expected penalties;
  • Referring you to driving programs or other professionals;
  • Appearing on your behalf in the Court to make submissions to the Magistrate about your circumstances and minimise any penalties; and
  • Assist you to obtain a Work licence so you can continue to use your car for work purposes.

Read more about how we can help you if charged with a drink or drug driving offence

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Refusing To Be Breathalised

In the event that you refuse or fail to provide a breath test or blood test as directed by the Police, you may be charged with “Failing to supply a specimen of breath or blood” and you will be required to go to Court. The Court shall consider your charge like a major drink driving offence (0.15 or above) and shall penalise you at its discretion.

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Work Licence/Restricted Licence

In the event that you have been caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or less and you have not had your licence previously cancelled, suspended or disqualified (subject to time limits), you may have an opportunity to obtain a work licence to allow you to fulfil your work commitments.

You may be granted a work licence/restricted licence if you plead guilty to the charge and can satisfy the Court that -

  1. Without the licence you would suffer extreme financial hardship or your family, depriving you of the means of earning a living (that is, you shall lose your employment without a driver’s licence);
  2. You are a fit and proper person to hold a work licence/restricted licence, having regard to the safety of other road users and the public generally.
  3. That you were not driving for work purposes when you were caught drink driving.

Read more about work and restricted licences here. 

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Penalty Of Disqualification

You will be disqualified from holding a driver licence for a stated period if you are convicted of:

  • A drink driving or drug driving offence
  • A dangerous driving offence
  • A criminal offence involving the driving or use of a motor vehicle

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Driving Without a Licence

  • Your drivers licence has expired and you have not renewed
  • You have voluntarily surrendered your driver licence
  • Your driver licence has been suspended or cancelled because you are medically unfit to drive safely
  • You do not hold the class of licence
  • You have never held a driver licence
  • Your driver licence has been suspended because of an accumulation of demerit points or a high speed offence
  • Your driver licence has been immediately suspended or you have been immediately disqualified following a drink driving or drug driving offence
  • Your driver licence has been suspended or you have been immediately
  • Your driver licence has been suspended by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry  because you have not paid fines
  • You have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence

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Demerit Point Suspensions

Learner Drivers who accumulate four or more demerit points within a 12 month period will be suspended from driving for a period of 3 months. They do not have the option of choosing to drive under a good driving behaviour period.

Provisional Licenced drivers who accumulate four or more demerit points within a 12 month period will be send an “Accumulation of Demerit Points- Notice to Choose” a good behaviour period option.

If you hold a Queensland open driver licence you may receive a warning letter from the Department of Transport when you gain at least 7 demerit points in a 3 year period. If 12 or more demerit points are accumulated within a 3 year period, you will be sent an “Accumulation of Demerit Points- Notice to Choose” a good behaviour period option.

Within a 3 year period:

  • If you accumulate at least 12 demerit points but not more than 15 demerit points, you will be suspended from driving for a period of 3 months.
  • If you accumulate at least 16 demerit points but not more than 19 demerit points, you will be suspended from driving for a period of 4 months.
  • If you accumulate at least 20 demerit points or more, you will be suspended from driving for a period of 5 months.

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Good Behaviour Period

If you accumulate demerit points over a period of time, you may have the option to choose between:

  • Having your licence suspended for 3 months; OR
  • Agreeing to continue driving under a good behaviour period for 1 year.

You are required to notify the Department of Transport of your option. If you do not notify the Department, your licence will be automatically suspended for 3 months.

If you accumulate two or more demerit points during your good behaviour period, your licence will be suspended for 6 months.

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Driving While Your Licence Is Suspended

If you are caught driving during your licence suspension period, you will be charged with unlicensed driving and you will be required to appear in Court.  If the charge is proven, the court will disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driver licence as well as imposing a significant fine or one year imprisonment.

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Special Hardship Order

You may be eligible to apply for a special hardship order in the Court if your licence suspension will cause you extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living or severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

To be eligible you must hold a Queensland driver licence (not a learner licence) which has been suspended because you:

  • Accumulated two or more demerit points while driving under a period of good driving behaviour for 1 year; or
  • Committed a high speed driving offence (more than 40km/hour over the speed limit).

We can assist you with making an application for a special hardship order in the Court within 21 days from the start of your licence suspension.

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Driving While Your Licence Is Disqualified By a Court

If you are found driving while your licence is disqualified, the Court will disqualify you for a further period of at least 2 years to a maximum of 5 years, as well as imposing a significant fine or 18 months imprisonment.

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Licence Withdrawn

Your authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland licence will be withdrawn when-

  • The three month residency rule applies to you; or
  • It is proven that you are medically unfit to drive safely

If you are found driving a motor vehicle in Queensland when your authority to drive in Queensland has been withdrawn, you may be given an infringement notice or be dealt with by a court for unlicensed driving.

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Removal of Absolute Disqualification

If you were absolutely disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence for driving unlicensed before 13 March 2002, you may be eligible to apply to have your disqualification removed.  If you are successful, you can then reapply for a new licence. We can assist you with the necessary application to the Court.

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Speeding Offences

If you are caught driving over the speed limit, you will be fined and you will accumulate demerit points.

If you are detected driving more than 40km/hour over the speed limit, you will be given a ticket for the offence with a fine to be paid.  If you pay the fine or the offence is proven in the Court, you will be sent a “Notice of Driver Licence Suspension for Speeding Offence” stating that:

  • Your licence has been suspended for 6 months;
  • Your authority to drive in Queensland on your non-Queensland driver licence has been suspended for 6 months.
  • You have accumulated 8 demerit points.

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Mobile Phones While Driving

All drivers are banned from using a mobile phone that is held in the hand while driving, for any reason including but not limited to dialling, texting, using the internet, GPS or music.

Learner drivers, probationary drivers and their passengers are subject to further mobile use restrictions.

Areas of Expertise

  • Drink Driving and Drug Driving
  • Refusing To Be Breathalised
  • Work Licence/Restricted Licence
  • Penalty Of Disqualification
  • Driving Without a Licence
  • Demerit Point Suspensions
  • Good Behaviour Period
  • Driving While Your Licence Is Suspended
  • Special Hardship Order
  • Licence Withdrawn

 

  • Driving While Your Licence Is Disqualified By a Court
  • Removal of Absolute Disqualification
  • Speeding Offences
  • Mobile Phones While Driving
  • Appearing in Court on your behalf
  • Dangerous driving
  • Late night driving restrictions

Key Personnel

Michael Coman, Partner

More Information

Don't risk your licence or heavy penalties, let our experienced traffic lawyers advise you. Whatever your legal query, contact Davoren Associates or visit our Mermaid Beach office to obtain solid advice at a reasonable price.

Our dedicated solicitors offer a wide range of legal services for both individuals and businesses alike. Whatever your legal issue, our lawyers and support staff will strive to provide you with the best possible result.