Traffic Law

Gold Coast Litigation

DUI, traffic offences and licences

With Marino Law on your side, you are never alone if you are charged with drink or drug driving, unlicenced driving, disqualified from driving, other traffic offences or in need of a work licence or special hardship order.
Our experienced traffic lawyers can provide you with the advice you need and help take the stress out of your Court appearance.

Drink driving offences (DUI)

There are harsh penalties for drink driving, depending largely on the result of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Due to public demand, legislation and the Courts, tough approaches are now taken on all drink and drug driving matters. Penalties for drink and drug driving will generally involve licence disqualification and a fine, but repeat offenders also face the prospects of imprisonment.

The following table shows the maximum penalties that may apply for a first time drink driving offence:

Alcohol concentration (BAC) Max disqualification Max fine  Max term
imprisonment
Over 0.00, but under 0.05 BAC* 9 months $1,593.90 3 months
0.05 and over, but under 0.10 9 months $1,593.90 3 months
0.10 and over, but under 0.15 12 months $2,227.00 6 months
0.15 and over Magistrate’s decision
(minimum of 6 months)
$3,187.80 9 months

*learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles

A 24-hour licence suspension will apply where your BAC is less than 0.10. Your licence will be suspended for at least 24 hours from the time your BAC is confirmed as having exceeded the limit that applies to you.

Your licence will be immediately suspended if you:

  • have been charged with a low range drink driving offence (over 0.0 but under 0.10 BAC) while:
    • an earlier drink driving charge is still pending
    • you were holding a replacement licence ordered by the Court
  • have been charged with a mid range or high range drink driving offence (0.10 BAC and over)
  • fail to provide police with a specimen of breath or blood when requested
  • have been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

The immediate suspension will end when the drink driving charge has been dealt with by the Court, is withdrawn or discontinued.

If you are charged with a repeat drink driving offence, you may:

  • have your car impounded (if you have a BAC 0.15 and over or fail to provide a specimen of breath or blood)
  • have your licence disqualified for up to 2 years
  • have your car impounded or confiscated for high range drink driving
  • be fined up to $6600, or
  • be sentenced to a term of imprisonment determined by the Court

When your disqualification ends you can apply to have your driver licence reissued. You will be issued with a probationary licence, which you must hold for at least 1 year. You may also be subject to the alcohol ignition interlock requirement.

Drug driving offences

The Courts have a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of illegal drugs. If you test positive for drugs, your licence will be suspended for 24-hours.
If you are charged with driving under the influence your driver licence will be immediately suspended until the charge is dealt with:

  • by a Court
  • is withdrawn or otherwise discontinued
  • or you are issued with a Court order permitting you to drive until your Court hearing

When dealing with your charge, a Magistrate may:

  • disqualify you from driving for up to 6 months
  • fine you up to $3080
  • impose a term of imprisonment for 9 months

If you are charged with a repeat drug driving offence (you have been previously convicted of a drug driving charge in the last 5 years) you may:

  • have your licence disqualified for up to 2 years
  • be fined up to $6600
  • be imprisoned for a period of time determined by the Court

If you fail to provide a specimen of saliva for testing, you may be fined up to $4400 or sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. You may also be liable for the same penalties as if you were charged with the offence of driving under the influence of drugs.

Restricted licence application (work licence)

If you are convicted of a drink or drug driving offence, and you are an eligible person, you may apply to the Court that convicts you for an order directing that you be issued with a restricted licence (commonly known as a ‘work’ licence).

Subject to you circumstances, Marino Law’s experienced traffic lawyers can help you apply for a work licence provided you meet the relevant criteria. The application must be made before the Court makes an order disqualifying you from holding a driver’s licence.

To be eligible for a restricted licence you must be able to demonstrate to the Court that you:

  • are a fit and proper person to continue to drive under the authority of a restricted licence, having regard to the safety of other road users and the public generally
  • need a driver licence to earn your living, and refusal to make an order for a restricted licence would cause you or your family extreme hardship

You may not be eligible to apply for a restricted licence if:

  • you did not hold a valid open licence at the time you committed, and were convicted of, the offence
  • you were driving a motor vehicle that you were not authorised to drive under your open licence at the time you committed the offence
  • at the time of the offence you were learning to drive the next higher class of licence under the authority of your Queensland open licence
  • when tested, your blood or breath alcohol concentration was 0.15 or greater
  • when you committed the offence you were using the vehicle in an activity directly connected with your means of earning a living
  • at the time of the offence, you were driving a truck, tractor, specially constructed vehicle, bus, articulated motor vehicle, B-double, road train, taxi, limousine, tow truck, pilot or escort vehicle escorting an oversize vehicle, a vehicle carrying a placard load of dangerous goods or a vehicle being used by a driver trainer to give driver training
  • in the past 5 years, your provisional or open licence has been suspended or cancelled, or you have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence for a reason other than those outlined below
  • you have been convicted of drink or drug driving or dangerous driving in the past 5 years

Special hardship orders (loss of licence – demerit point allocation and high speed offences)

If the holder of a driver’s licence accumulates enough demerit points, the right to hold a licence may be suspended. The amount of demerit points depends on the type of licence that is held. The Department of Transport will write to the licence holder advising them of the circumstances and grant the driver the option of either a suspension for 6 months or enter a Good Driver Behaviour period for 1 year and on which the driver is allocated 1 demerit point. If the driver collects more than 1 demerit point in that year, the licence is automatically suspended.

Queensland Transport will write to a licence holder if caught for a high speed offence; exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 kilometres per hour. This will include an 8 point demerit allocation, but even if that does not take the driver over their allocated points, there is an automatic suspension of the licence for a period of 6 months.

If either of these events occur, you have the right to apply to the Court against the suspension for a special hardship order. A special hardship order is an order that lets you drive under special conditions even though your normal driver licence has been suspended.

You may be eligible for a special hardship order if your licence has been (or is about to be) suspended because:

  • you have been charged with driving more than 40 km over the speed limit (often referred to as a ‘high speed offence’)
  • more than one demerit point is allocated to your traffic history while you were driving during a 12 month good behaviour period
  • you have been charged with driving more than 40km over the speed limit and you have more than one demerit point allocated to your traffic history while you were driving during a 12 month good behaviour period (dual suspension)
  • you need your licence to either to do your job, or to get to and from work or study, or for another special reason

To be eligible for a special hardship order you must be able to demonstrate to the Court that:

  • you are a fit and proper person to continue to drive, having regard to the safety other road users
  • the refusal to grant a special hardship order would cause you or your family member extreme hardship and either deprive you of the means of earning a living or cause severe hardship by denying a family member to earn a living

To apply for a special hardship order you must also be able to satisfy the following:

  • you held a current Queensland provisional or open driver licence immediately before the licence was suspended. If you held a foreign or interstate licence or did not hold a licence at all, you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship order
  • you haven’t had your Queensland licence suspended or cancelled, or been disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland licence in the last five years
  • you haven’t had your authority to drive on Queensland roads under a non-Queensland driver licence suspended in the last five years
  • you haven’t been convicted in Queensland of dangerous driving in the last five years

Disqualified driving and unlicenced driving

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road unless you hold a valid driver’s licence. If caught driving unlicensed, generally the Court will impose a disqualification of holding a driver’s licence for a period of 6 months, a fine of up to $4,000 or 1 year’s imprisonment.

It is a far more serious matter than unlicenced driving if you have already been disqualified by a Court from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence and are caught driving. This offence involves in part contempt for the prior Court order or orders. The maximum penalty includes a fine of up to $6,000 or 18 months imprisonment.

If you have received an absolute disqualification from driving or disqualified for longer than 2 years, you are eligible to apply to have the disqualification removed after two years to obtain a drivers’ licence. The Court will consider the character of the person, the person’s conduct since the disqualification and the nature of the offence and any other circumstances surrounding the disqualification.

Our team of experienced traffic law lawyers can provide you legal advice on all aspects of drink and drug driving and traffic offences and provide you with the Court representation you require.