The penalties handed down for unlicenced driving charges can vary greatly depending on the circumstances on how you came to be unlicenced in the first place.
If you forgot to renew your licence or you have never held a licence
The penalty for this type of unlicenced driving charge is at the Magistrates discretion and in most circumstances, depending how long your licence had been expired or your traffic history, can result in no suspension being put on your licence and you just receiving a small fine. There are however circumstances where if you were never licenced that the court will impose a 3 month disqualification.
However, if you have received an unlicenced driving charge in the past 5 years and are caught again then there is a penalty of between 1 to 6 months.
If you had a SPER debt and failed to pay it
Often people refer their fines to SPER to pay off. When SPER received the debt a payment agreement is made between SPER and yourself. Should you fail to honour the agreement and make the agreed payments your licence will be suspended for anywhere between 1 to 6 months. The mandatory minimum suspension time is the 1 month if you were caught driving on a SPER suspended licence and the Magistrate has no choice but to suspend your licence. In these types of unlicenced driving charges the fact that you did not receive the letter from SPER advising that your licence was going to be suspended on a certain date is not an acceptable defence. The Legislation states that Queensland Transport only need to show they sent the letter to you, not that you received it.
If you are demerit point suspended
If you exceed your demerit point limit (12 points in 3 years) you will be sent a letter from Queensland Transport. This letter will give you the option to have your licence suspended for a 3 month period or to go on a good driving behaviour period. If you do not reply and advise them which option you would like to select by the nominated date you will automatically be given the 3 month suspension. If you are caught driving during the 3 month period the penalty is a mandatory 6 month licence suspension. With this one particular charge, unfortunately engaging a Lawyer cannot achieve a lesser disqualification period.
Failing to have your licence re-issued by QLD Transport after serving a suspension period
If your licence is suspended by the Court you should have handed your licence in when the penalty was handed down in Court. Upon completion of the suspension period you must attend Queensland Transport and have your licence issued again. Until you do this you are deemed suspended still and if you are caught driving the penalty can be between 1 to 6 months.
Driving during your Court or Police ordered licence disqualification period
If you are disqualified from driving in a Court or are on a licence suspension period by the Police and are caught driving within the time you were ordered not to, it is classed as disqualified driving which holds a licence disqualification anywhere from 2 to 5 years. For more information on disqualified driving charges see - http://drivinglaw.com.au/services/disqualified-driving.html
Many people are unaware that they are unlicenced when they are charged with the offence. This can be due to multiple reasons. Some ways to avoid being expectantly charged with unlicensed driving are:
Here at Clarity Law we represent unlicenced drivers in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise 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 process and the Magistrates like we do. We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week
Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.
Depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading or drug driving status and what type of class licence you hold, in Queensland 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;
This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.