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Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:42

Special Hardship Orders v Work Licences

We are asked everyday by people whether they can get a work licence, day licence or special hardship licence if they are disqualified by the courts or about to be.

In Queensland there are only two licences to allow a person to drive during a period of licence disqualification or suspension, these are work licences and special hardship licences.

A work licence is only available to people who are charged with a drink or drug driving offence and need to drive for work purposes.  The Government however only allows certain people to apply for a work licence.  To apply for a work licence you must be on an open Queensland drivers licence and the alcohol reading must be no more than .149.  You cannot apply if in the last five years you have had your licence suspended (unless it’s a SPER suspension), cancelled or disqualified.  This applies regardless of your circumstances (eg. You will lose your job, you can’t get your children to school etc). A work licence must be applied for at the time of sentencing for the drink or drug driving charge, it cannot be applied for later.  For full details on applying for a work licence see our work licence page.

A special hardship licence is only available to Queensland open or provisional licence holder who elect to go on a good driving period and lose 2 or more demerit points during that one year period.  A special hardship can also be applied for people who drive more than 40 km/h over the speed limit (high speed offence).  Like a work licence a person with a disqualification or suspension of the licence in the last 5 years cannot apply (a SPER suspension is an exception).  Unlike a work licence a Court can allow a person to drive for things other than for work purposes.  These need to be extreme circumstances such as on-going specialist, medical or counselling appointments.

The rules for a special hardship licence application are very complex, more details can be found on our special hardship licence page.

There are no licences available if you have already been disqualified by a Court and subsequently find you need a licence nor are there licences available if you have been charged with offences such as demerit point unlicensed driving.  If you do not qualify for a work licence or special hardship licence and are facing a disqualification by the courts then you will not be allowed to drive during that disqualification.

 

This area of law is changing constantly and you should get good legal help if you need to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence.

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.  For more information on work licences and special hardship orders visit the driving law website or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.  

This article is for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Dangerous driving or more properly known as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is one of the most serious traffic offences a person can be faced with in Queensland.  Often the charge results from a traffic accident where the driver at fault has driven in a dangerous manner.  Tragically often the tiniest mistake by a driver can lead to a person suffering death or grievous bodily harm and the driver who often has never broken the law before forced to navigate the court system.

The purpose of this article is to give some information to a person faced with a charge of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.

 

Are there different levels of dangerous driving?

In Queensland there are three levels of dangerous driving

·         Dangerous driving

·         Dangerous driving causing bodily harm

·         Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death

Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death is obviously the most serious of the offences.  The offence is even more serious if at the time the driver was adversely affected by drugs or alcohol.

 

What is dangerous driving?

The expression "operates a vehicle dangerously" in general does not require any given state of mind on the part of the driver as that driver may believe he or she is driving carefully yet be guilty of operating a vehicle dangerously. "Dangerously" is given its ordinary meaning of something that presents a real risk of injury or damage.  The ordinary meaning of ‘dangerous’ is ‘fraught with or causing danger; involving risk; perilous; hazardous; unsafe’. It describes, when applied to driving, a manner or speed of driving which gives rise to a risk to others, including motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and the driver’s own passengers.

 

What is grievous bodily harm

 “grievous bodily harm” is defined to mean

(a) the loss of a distinct part or organ of the body;

OR

(b) serious disfigurement;

OR

(c) any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health

It is immaterial whether or not medical treatment is or could have been available to the injured person.

 

What type of accidents can result in a dangerous driving charge?

A charge for dangerous driving often results from split second errors in judgement.  We have in the past acted for people who have been charged with dangerous driving for;

1.       Failing to see a motorcycle before entering an intersection

2.       Being temporarily distracted causing the car to run off the road into the other lane of traffic

3.       Falling asleep at the wheel resulting in a collision with a power pole and serious injuries to the passenger in the car

4.       Turning too sharply on a dirt road causing the vehicle to roll and cause injury to a passenger in the vehicle

5.       Driving at excessive speed

In most cases if no person had been injured the driver may only have faced a careless driving charge.

 

What court will hear the charge?

Whilst all matters start in the Magistrates Court the charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death or grievous bodily harm can only be finalised in the District Court.  For people in Brisbane this would mean the matter would start in the Brisbane Magistrates Court but would need to be transferred to the Brisbane District Court to finalise.  The Gold Coast has a District Court at Southport, the Sunshine Coast has a District Court at Maroochydore.  There is also a District Court at Beenleigh.

 

Who prosecutes the charges?

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will prosecute the matter but will rely on the Queensland Police Service to investigate the matter and obtain the evidence.

 

Are there any defences?

Defences to a charge of dangerous driving might include:

1.       The driving was in fact not dangerous, for example the condition of the road or the vehicle caused the accident.

2.       Necessity, for example the driver had to drive as a result of an emergency

3.       The accused was wrongly identified as the driver

A lawyer would be required to properly advise as to what defences might be available.  If you plead not guilty to the charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle driving causing death or grievous bodily harm because you have a defence then the matter will go to a trial before a jury.

 

How long will the charge take to resolve?

It all depends on whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.  Typically for a guilty plea in the Brisbane Court it might take 6-8 months from the arrest to when it is finalised in the Brisbane District Court. 

 

Will the charge result in a jail sentence?

It all depends on what happened, whether alcohol or drugs were involved and the extent of the injuries to the victim.  In most cases you can expect a prison sentence if you plead guilty or are found guilty after a trial for a charge of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.

 

How long will the licence disqualification be for?

The disqualification period must be at least 6 months but depending on the circumstance of the charge and the traffic history perhaps much longer.  It is not possible to obtain a work licence or hardship licence to allow you to drive during the disqualification.

 

 

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.  For more information on Dangerous Driving visit the driving law website or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.  This article is for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:17

High Range DUI

There are three different levels of drink driving for an Queensland open licence driver:

 

Low - .05-.099

Mid - .1-.149

High - .15 and above

 

If you are charged with a high range drink driving charge in Queensland (also known as DUI or UIL) the mandatory minimum disqualification, for a first time offender, is 6 months. Obviously your penalty will vary based on your exact alcohol reading, your traffic history, personal circumstances and the Magistrate handling your case. For more information see our link www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/drink-driving.html

 

Whilst it is a given that someone charged with a high range drink driving charge is going to get a more severe penalty than that of a low or mid-range offender there is also other repercussions that result from a high range drink driving charge.

 

You will not be able to apply for a work licence

 Work licences can only available to low to mid-range drink drivers. Regardless of your situation there is no way around this. There are other requirements you must meet to be eligible. For more information on this please see www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/work-licences.html

 

 

You will be subject to an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device

Anyone charged in Queensland with a high range drink driving charge (or 2 low or mid-range drink driving charges within 5 years) will be subject to having an alcohol ignition interlock device fitted to their vehicle at the conclusion of their suspension. The alcohol ignition interlock device is similar to a breath test device and is connected to your vehicles ignition. You must blow into with a zero alcohol limit before your vehicle will start. You will need to have the alcohol ignition interlock device for a minimum of 1 year.

The alcohol ignition interlock device needs to be installed by an approved provider and costs vary depending on your vehicle size and if you are a pensioner.  You will incur the costs associated with the rental, installation, servicing and removal of the interlock from your nominated vehicle. 

If at the end of your suspension period you decide not to have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you will be unable to drive for a further 2 years from the date your Court suspension ended.

Whilst there are grounds for an exemption, there are few and it is difficult to obtain. Grounds of exemption can be if you are residing in a remote location (over 150kms from an alcohol ignition interlock installer) or living on an island, have a medical condition preventing you from being able to use the device or you have extenuating circumstances. Please note that extenuating circumstances cannot be that you are unable to install the interlock for employment or financial reasons. 

If you are facing a high range drink driving charge it is important to have an experienced Lawyer represent you to ensure you obtain the absolute shortest suspension period and fine possible.

 

Getting legal representation

Here at Clarity Law we represent drink driving charges 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.  Every week we appear in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast courts helping clients with drink driving offences.

For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

We often get calls from people needing a special hardship licence for work purposes who also desire to be able to drive their children to school or other activities under that hardship licence.

First a bit of background, a special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence that may be available to people who exceed their demerit points, elect to go on a 12 month good driving behaviour period and then during that period incur further demerit points.  In those circumstances unless a person applies for a special hardship licence then they will have their licence suspended for a minimum of 6 months and be unable to drive.  A person who has their licence suspended for exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (a high speed suspension) may also be eligible to apply for a special hardship licence. For more information about special hardship licences see our webpage - www.drivinglaw.com.au/hardship-licences.html

The special hardship licence is only available to people who are on a Queensland open or provisional licence and who have in the previous 5 years not had a licence suspension or disqualification (excluding SPER suspensions).

The special hardship licence is available where if the court were not to grant the order the applicant or their family would;

1.       suffer extreme hardship by depriving them of the means of earning a living; or

2.       suffer severe and unusual hardship for some other reason

To apply for a special hardship licence a person must lodge affidavits for themselves and their employer (if they are not self-employed) and must appear in their local court before a Magistrate to argue for the special hardship licence to be granted. For information on the timeline of a special hardship application see our previous article www.drivinglaw.com.au/blog/item/6-special-hardship-application-time-frames.html

In most cases it is relatively easy to establish that a person would suffer financial hardship if they lost their licence and as a result could not work.  What is much tougher is being able to establish that a person would suffer severe and unusual hardship if they could not drive their children to school or other activities.

It is important to note that a special hardship licence is not a licence to be able to drive whenever a person desires, the order for the special hardship licence, if granted by the Magistrate, will restrict the hours, days, reasons and places a person can drive.  The order will also restrict who a person can have in the car with them.  Therefore to be able to drive children a person would need to first convince the court that they or their family would suffer severe and unusual hardship if not able to drive the children and if that is established then the court will need to specify exactly where and when the children could be driven.

The general attitude of most Queensland Magistrates is that they will not grant a person the ability to drive their children to school or other activities. To be able to convince the Magistrate to grant the right to drive children to school generally a person would have to prove that;

1.        There is no public transport available to transport the children to school;

2.       There is no one else who could drive the children i.e a partner or family member (further Affidavits on behalf of these people may be required in some circumstances);

3.       The hours the parents work is such that driving the children to school is the only viable option to get them to school; or

4.       The children have special needs that means driving them to school is the only option.

 

When it comes to being able to drive the children to sporting or other activates the courts are even more reluctant to allow this.  Generally a person would only be able to drive their children to these activities if they could prove that

1.       The children have special needs such that the sporting or other activities help with or

2.       The children are competing at such a high level that if the parents cannot drive them they are likely to suffer severe and unusual hardship

 

The court would be looking for affidavit evidence from a doctor or a coach confirming the need to drive the children.

Due to the complexity of special hardship licence application, especially when requesting the licence to cover children’s needs it is important to engage a professional to represent you.

Clarity Law is Queensland’s leading traffic law firm covering every court is South East Queensland.

We undertake special hardship applications 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:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Whist careless driving (also known as driving with undue care and attention) and dangerous driving charges can result from similar circumstances this is not the case with the penalties with the potential penalty for dangerous driving being much more serious. Both charges can be accompanied with a drink or drug driving charge if the driver tests positive.

 

Careless driving is the less serious of the two charges as it is traffic charge, not a criminal charge, although it can still be punishable with a jail sentence. Depending on circumstances it is possible to obtain a result of no disqualification being put on your licence, although it does carry a mandatory loss of 3 demerit points if you plead guilty or are deemed to be guilty. Should you be on a good driving behaviour period and the 3 point loss will breach it you may be eligible for a special hardship licence – for more information see our website - http://drivinglaw.com.au/hardship-licences.html

 

Careless driving charges can come about from an incident as minor as skidding in the wet and your car hitting a gutter or a tree or having a collision due to being distracted by the radio or attending to an item they may have dropped.  Careless driving can also include accidents with pedestrians or other road users resulting in injuries to those people.  Drivers charged with this are believed to have been not paying enough attention to the road, not actually driving what is deemed to be 'dangerous'.  

 

Dangerous driving is the higher of the two charges and is in fact one of the few traffic related charge which is a criminal charge.

 

Dangerous driving charges occur when a driver was deemed to have driver a motor vehicle dangerously.  In deciding whether the driving was dangerous the court looks at the speed the vehicle was driven and whether the driving was dangerous to the public having regard to all the circumstances including:

 

(a)   the nature, condition and use of the place; and

(b)   the nature and condition of the vehicle; and

(c)    the number of persons, vehicles or other objects that are, or might reasonably be expected to be, in the place; and

(d)   the concentration of alcohol in the drivers blood; and

(e)   the presence of any other substance in the drivers body.

 

It is always a good idea to seek legal advice if you are charged with either careless driving but especially so for a dangerous driving charge.

 

Depending on the circumstances of a dangerous driving charge, witnesses, damage etc it can be possible to case conference/ put submissions to the Police Prosecutions to have the charge lowered to careless driving if there are reasonable grounds. This is assessed by obtaining the police court brief.

 

For more information see our website  - www.drivinglaw.com.au/dangerous-driving.html

 

Here at Clarity Law we represent driving charges 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 call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

 

Saturday, 19 March 2016 10:59

Drug Driving Charges Skyrocket

In Queensland police are increasingly undertaking drug driving tests in conjunction with normal drink driving RBT units. Police officers who are able to conduct the drug testing need to be specially trained in the use of saliva testing equipment and testing procedures. The number of Police that are now qualified to conduct the drug tests has increased dramatically in the last few years as well as the addition of 13 specially built drug testing vehicle to Queensland roads.  There is going to be an increasing amount of drug driving charges.

For example the amount of drug driving tests for the last 3 years include;

2014 - 21,000 drivers were drug tested in Queensland

2015 – 33,000 drivers were drug tested in Queensland

2016 – It has been estimated that over 50,000 drivers will be tested in Queensland

The roadside drug driving tests are carried out by taking a swab of a driver’s salvia.  The tests are designed to pick up the following illegal drugs;

1.       THC – the active component in cannabis

2.       Methylamphetamine – also known as speed, ice or crystal meth

3.       MDMA – also known as speed

A person caught with these drugs in their system will normally be charged with driving with a relevant drug in the system. When you are charged with this offence your licence will usually be suspended for a 24 hour period. Depending on your circumstances and traffic history it is possible to apply for a work licence if you are charged with driving with a drug in your system.

If the driver appears to be under the influence at the time they are driving or is believed to be affected by a drug to such an extent that they are endangering the public they will be charged with the higher of the two drug charges being, driving under the influence of a drug. If you are charged with this offence your licence will be suspended immediately up until your matter is dealt with by the Court. If you receive a driving whilst under the influence of drugs charge you cannot apply for a work licence. Further, if you are believed to be under the influence it is not uncommon for the Police to then search your vehicle for drugs or drug paraphernalia.

It is also possible to be charged with driving under the influence of drugs if you are driving a vehicle with legal drugs in their system, that being legally prescribed medication.  The decision is made at the police’s discretion as to whether they believe the drugs have affected the person to such a degree that their driving was impaired. 

If the police suspect a person has been impaired they may be required to give a sample of their blood for further testing. At the time a blood test is taken you are allowed to request that the Police provide you with a sample of your blood so you can have it tested independently.

A key component to proving the charge in court will be the statement of the arresting officer and their observations of the driver as well as the saliva or blood test results, which are confirmed in a drug analysis certificate.  The blood test will generally report the amount of the drug in the person’s blood as well as any comments from a medical officer as to what impairment an ordinary person would have with that level of drugs in the system.

A refusal to provide a drug test will result in a charge of failing to provide a drug test. This is a serious charge and is dealt with harshly by the Courts. If you are charged with failing to provide a sample you will be dealt with as if you were under the influence.

A person who pleads guilty or is found guilty of the UIL charge is subject to the same punishment as a high range drink driver that is a minimum of 6 months disqualification of their drivers licence and no ability to apply for a work licence.

Queensland has some of the harshest penalties for drug drivers in both fines and suspension periods.   It is critical to get good advice about the charge and whether you might be able to apply for a work licence.  Information on applying for a work licence can be found on our work licence page.

Here at Clarity Law we represent drug driving charges 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 call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.  Check out our drug driving charge for more information.

 

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drug driving is based on our knowledge of representing hundreds of drug driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:02

The Different Types of Drug Driving

Similar to drink driving charges which are categorised as either low, medium or high range, drug driving has different categories in which you can be charged under.

If you are charged with drug driving you will either be charged with having a relevant drug in your system or, and more seriously, driving whilst under the influence of a drug.

The drug driving tests look for traces of the following drugs being relevant in your system:

1.       THC – the active ingredient in cannabis

2.       Methylamphetamine – also known as speed and ice; and

3.       MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy.

 

Although the police can require a blood test to test for drug driving the most common way to test is through taking a sample of a person’s saliva.

If the preliminary saliva test is negative you will be free to go immediately. If a drug is detected in your saliva (positive result) you will be required to undertake a second saliva test. If the second test is again positive for drugs your driver’s license will be suspended for 24 hours. The remaining saliva sample will be sent to a laboratory and following the result you may be notified and charged with a traffic offence of drug driving. A person caught with these drugs in their system will normally be charged with driving whilst a relevant drug is in the system.

If the results of a drug driving test comes back positive it is irrelevant whether you’re driving was affected by having illicit drugs in your system. This means that for example, if you consume marijuana a couple of weeks before being tested you will still be charged with drug driving if the results are positive (marijuana can stay in your system for up to 40 days). However, saliva tests are designed only to react to the active ingredient of a drug. Therefore the period in which drugs can be detected varies depending on quality and quantity of the drug that has been ingested, the period of time since taking the drug and the frequency of use of the drug.

 

Driving whilst under the influence of a drug

You are likely to be charged with driving under the influence of a drug if you are pulled over by the police and appear to be under the influence of a drug eg. Red eyes, slurred speech, twitchy etc. If the Police believe you are under the influence of a dangerous drug or even a synthetic drug (for more information on this see our article about synthetic drugs) it is likely that they would search your vehicle. Quite often we have clients who are charged with possession of a dangerous drug and/or utensils and drug driving at the same time.

It is also possible to be charged with driving under the influence of a prescription drug if the police believe you have been affected to such a degree by the prescription pills that you pose a risk to other road users.

If you are charged with this offence your licence will be suspended immediately. You cannot apply for a work licence and face at least a 6 month disqualification.

 

 

Having a relevant drug in your system

If you undergo a drug driving test and it comes back positive but you appear to be sober you will be charged with having a relevant drug in your system.  This is the lesser of the two drug driving charges. When you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system your licence will be suspended for a 24 hour period.

If you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system, depending on circumstances, you are eligible to apply for a work licence.

 

This article is written by Steven Brough.  Steven has over 14 years experience dealing with this type of charge and appearing in Queensland Courts.  You can ring Steven on 1300 952 255 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our traffic law website at www.drivinglaw.com.au

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 15:48

Special Hardship Application Time Frames

A special hardship licence is a type of licence that may be issued by a Queensland Court to persons who travel over the speed limit by more than 40kms over hour (high speed suspension) and/or exceed their points on a good driving behaviour period. There are no other circumstances in which you can apply for a special hardship licence. A special hardship licence allows you to drive during the suspension of your licence (generally 6 months).

A special hardship licence can only be used for the purposes stated by the Court; you cannot use a special hardship licence to drive to the shops, university, or unpaid work experience unless this is specified in the Order. A special hardship licence is designed to allow you to keep your job and continue to earn a living where a driver’s licence is an essential component to you earning that living or for some other specified serious reason.

Depending on which Magistrates Court your application is to be heard in depends when your application will be heard. Some Courts hear Special Hardship Application weekly, some fortnightly and some only monthly. Again, as it is a nominated Court application you may request a date for a month or two away if you need to for any reason.

When you receive a fine which breaches your good driving behaviour period you can continue to drive as normal up until mid-night before your suspension date. However you cannot drive after that time until you have filed your Application for a Special Hardship with the Court and QLD Transport. You have 21 days from the suspension date in which to do this.

The suspension date is allocated by Queensland Transport. When you make payment, part payment of your fine or the debt is referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Register (SPER), Queensland Transport is then notified that you have breached your Good Driving Behaviour period and that you need to be issued a suspension date. A letter is then sent out to you, usually 2-3 weeks after you make payment, part payment or the debt is referred to SPER. The suspension date will be on the letter and will generally be a further 2-3 weeks from when you receive the letter.

If you wish to hurry the process along than make payment or a part payment as soon as you can so that Queensland Transport will become aware and issue a suspension date sooner. If you wish to put it off than do not make payment or a part payment until the day before the fine is due.

It is critical to ensure Queensland Transport has your current postal address as it is an extremely important letter. If you are unaware of your suspension date and are caught driving you will be charged with unlicensed driving.

You can file the Application for a Special Hardship Licence and supporting material on your suspension date, which ensures that you are only unable to drive on that day until you have filed your application and material. It is also good to your application if you do file the application on the suspension date in that it shows that you are unable to go for a period of time without a licence.

If you chose not to file your application for a special hardship application on the first day of the suspension you only have 21 days from the suspension date to file your application for a special hardship licence there is absolutely nothing can be done if you exceed the 21 days.

The application and material needs to be filed with the Magistrates Court closest to where you reside, where you will be issued a Court date. Then you just need to attend the corresponding Queensland Transport office to serve them with copies of your application and material. Once that is done you may continue to drive, as normal, up until midnight before your Court date. 

Having a Lawyer prepare and undertake your Special Hardship Licence Application is critical to ensure that your application is successful.

 

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.  For more information on Special Hardship Applications visit the our Special Hardship Application webpage on our driving law website or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

Sunday, 01 November 2015 11:30

Driving under a police suspension

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;

  • Use our contact form
  • Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

 

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.   

 

If you are charged with a drink driving charge with a reading between .1 and .149 your licence will be immediately suspended until your Court date. Depending on what Court you are due to appear in and how busy the Courts are at the time you are charged your Court date may be anywhere between 1 to 6 weeks away.

Depending on your traffic history and circumstances you may be eligible to apply for a work licence on your Court date. However, this leave you off the road from your charge date until your Court date or even a date after that. If you are applying for a work licence it is important to be aware that majority of Queensland Magistrates Court do not hear work licence applications on the initial Court date. Instead they adjourn them off for a date 1-4 weeks later.

The process for applying for a Section 79E licence is very similar to applying for a work licence in that we need to draft an Affidavit for you, and if you are not self-employed we also need to draft one for your employer. As an Affidavit is a legal Court documents the signatures on them need to be witnessed by a Lawyer or a Justice of the Peace.

We obtain you an urgent Court date for the application to be heard within about a week, depending on the Court’s availability. If you are successful you will be allowed to drive, for work purposes only, up until your Court date.

It is critical to remember that you only have 21 days from your charge date to apply for a Section 79E Licence.

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