Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Monday, 25 September 2023 18:52

Do I really need to lose my licence for drink driving?

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People often ask whether they have to lose their driver's licence if they are charged with drink or drug driving in Queensland?

In this short guide we will talk about licence disqualifications for drug and drink driving offences and what alternatives there are to maintaining the ability to drive during any disqualification.


The law in Queensland

In Queensland unlike other Australian states there is mandatory periods of disqualification for all drink and drug driving offences. It does not matter what a person's circumstances are, their driving history or any other factors,  if they are charged with drink or drug driving and plead guilty there must be a mandatory period of disqualification.


Let's take an example of an open licence holder with no traffic history who records a reading of .0 51 which is just barely over the drink driving limit.  The driver has a disabled child who needs regular doctor appointments and must be driven there.  The law states in these circumstances that the driver must lose their licence for at least one month no matter how much of an impact it will have on them and their family.  The magistrate has no ability to reduce that disqualification below 1 month. It is certainly a very harsh outcome for someone who was just over the alcohol limit however that is the law in Queensland.


What are the disqualification periods?

The chart below sets out the disqualification period in Queensland.




We also have a whole article on Drink Driving Penalties in Queensland


I've heard about a thing called a work licence

A work licence is a type of authority where the court can allow someone to drive during the mandatory disqualification.  It's important to note that this is only for work purposes.  Our example above of a mother needing to drive their child to medical appointments would not apply.  However someone losing their job because of this qualification may be able to apply.


The conditions for someone applying for a work licence are as follows, they must:

  • Not have had a licence to disqualifications suspension or cancellation in the previous 5 years

  • Not be charged with an offence of high range drink driving or driving under the influence of a drug

  • Be on a Queensland open driver's licence at the time of the offending


The court may also impose any of the following conditions on any work licence they a grant;

  • restrict the times when you may drive

  • restrict the purposes for which you may be able to drive

  • restrict the class of vehicle you may drive;

  • require you to complete a logbook

  • require you to wear a work uniform

  • restrict who you may carrying as a passenger in the vehicle


It's not possible to go into all of the requirements of a work licence here so please read our main work licence page for more information.


What about getting a special hardship licence?

Unfortunately a special hardship licence only applies to someone who has exceeded their demerit points, then has gone on a good driving behaviour and has incurred more than one demerit point.  It also applies to someone who has exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h.

It does not and cannot apply to someone charged with drink or drug driving.

For more information on special hardship licences see our main page for a complete guide.


Surely the magistrate can take pity on me and not take my licence away?

If you are charged with drink or drug driving as stated above the magistrate has no discretion as to whether they will take their licence away they must for a period of at least one month.   A first time provisional licence holder minimum disqualification period is 3 months.  Check out our guide to drink driving penalties.


I've heard that a magistrate can give me a section 10 and not take my licence away

Section 10s only apply in New South Wales they are not Queensland law and therefore don't apply here.

See our article on Why section 10 does not apply in Queensland


Are you really telling me the court has no discretion to not take my licence away?

That is correct.  The magistrate can decide the length of the disqualification but in the example we used at the start of the article the disqualification that can be imposed is between 1 and 9 months.  The magistrate would likely take pity on someone in those circumstances and only impose a 1 month to disqualification however they cannot and will not go below 1 month.


What can I do to reduce the disqualification period?

The best way to ensure the lowest penalty possible is to engage a lawyer that regularity appears in Queensland courts for drink or drug driving charges.


Why should I engage Clarity Law?

Quite frankly we care about getting the right outcome for our clients and helping them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

In the face of a traffic charge, selecting the right legal representation is paramount, and Clarity Law offers a unique blend of proficiency and empathy that sets us apart. Our firm is dedicated to providing clarity in the often complex world of traffic law. We believe that every client deserves a clear understanding of their rights and the legal process they're navigating.

Our experienced team of lawyers approaches each case with a commitment to open communication, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a proven track record of securing favourable outcomes, we have the expertise to navigate even the most intricate legal challenges.

At Clarity Law, we strive not only to be your staunch advocates but also to provide a supportive, understanding environment during this trying time. Choosing Clarity Law means choosing a team that will tirelessly work to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

You can read more about our founder, Steven Brough’s, journey to starting Clarity Law by clicking here


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 have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  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

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message


We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on our traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:


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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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