Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 18 July 2023 12:48

Traffic Offender Programs

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One of the questions a traffic lawyer will be asked in the early days of the life of a traffic matter is, “Do I need to do a traffic offenders course before court?”.

This is a question, that inevitably shares an answer those who’ve had to engage a lawyer have heard before……it depends.

If you have come across this article, you likely have been charged with a drink or drug driving offence and have been advised by a lawyer or friend to do a program. We have written extensively about drink and drug driving offences on our website if you wish to read more about the offending prior to continuing.

This is by no means a detailed prospectus on any one program, however should be a good jumping off point for a person charged with a traffic offence (not limited to drink or drug driving) to assist with getting a better outcome in their matter.


What is a traffic offenders course?

A traffic offenders course is a short course designed to give people charged with a traffic offence and going to court an opportunity to complete a course, usually online, that gives some insight into their offence, the dangers associated with certain behaviours while driving and the traffic/court system in general.

The course once completed will provide a completion certificate and that certificate can be used in court to potentially reduce the penalty or help with getting a work licence or hardship licence.


What courses are available?

The Queensland Traffic Offenders Program or “QTOP” is the leading example of a traffic offender program, other alternatives include;

Note: These programs are all privately run and are focused on different states, such as Queensland and New South Wales.

These programs are designed to give the participant a significant insight into their offending, and aims to reduce reoffending by the participants.


Am I even eligible to do a program?

The Queensland Traffic Offenders Program, the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program and Traffic Offenders Rehabilitation Program are all open to those who wish to complete the program and do not have any prerequisite conditions or eligibility criteria to complete.

That being said, some programs have some technology requirements to complete the course (if not doing in person) that you should be aware of prior to engaging the courses.


Why should I do a program?

Returning to the question of do I need to do a program. The strictest answer is no; but.

You cannot be sentenced more harshly for not having completed a program, however you will not gain any reduction in penalty as a benefit of having completed the program.

In terms of a plea for a drink or drug driving offence, this may have an impact on the length of a disqualification, and more significantly the completion of a course may impact on success in a restricted licence application. (see our previous articles on Work and Special Hardship licences).

While the two applications are different, they each share a common test – is the applicant a fit and proper person on the balance of probabilities, having regard to the safety of other road users and the public generally.

This test will typically be examined through a review of the facts of the case and the applicants traffic history. Applicants with a poor traffic history, who have committed a high-speed offence or have a very high reading (or a combination of all three), may significantly benefit from the completion of a traffic offenders program.

The completion of a program assists our solicitors to demonstrate that the applicant is a fit and proper person. The completion of the program shows the court that they take the matter very seriously, demonstrated through incurring the expense and completion of a voluntary program.

Some Magistrates will deny a person a work licence or special hardship order if they have not done a traffic offenders course.


So…do I need to do one of these programs?

The answer is no, it is not mandatory. During the conduct of your matter, whether it is a drink driving charge or an application for a restricted licence, one of our experienced team members will discuss the importance of the completion of a program for your matter. It remains however, entirely up to you whether you wish to complete the program.

Finally, it is significant to note that in Queensland, this does not replace the requirement to complete the Department of Transport and Main Roads drink driving program, which is required to obtain your licence back (this includes when receiving a work licence). Which program you will be required to complete will depend on if you are considered a “repeat offender” – or have you have two or more drink driving offences since September 2021.

If you are not a repeat offender, you will be required to complete the Plan. Survive. Drive. Foundations course – which is completed online in approximately an hour. 

If you are a repeat offender, you will be required to attend in person sessions for the Plan. Survive. Drive. Comprehensive course – which is completed over 6 sessions of 2 hours each.


I’m going to do a course which one is the best?

There is no right answer to this either.

Generally the courses cost between $200-$250.  Some have in person courses that might suit someone without up to date computer equipment or who aren’t tech savvy.  Most are online which tends to be more convenient for people allowing them to complete the course outside of their work hours.

What we can say is QTOP is the oldest and in our opinion most respected of the courses.  We have referred many hundreds of clients to QTOP since 2010 with great success.  We are also a proud sponsor of the program for many years.

Please note, we do not obtain any advantage, financial or otherwise from client’s completion of any of the above named programs.


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

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. Click here to select a time for us to call you back

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger


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 your charge.

You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a traffic charge will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

Last modified on Monday, 25 March 2024 15:48
Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

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