Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Thursday, 28 September 2023 16:16

Unlicensed Driving Due to SPER Suspension

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One of the more common charges that can bring a person before the court is a charge of unlicensed driving.  There are a number of different ways a person can become unlicensed but this article focuses on unlicensed driving due to an unpaid SPER debt.


What is unlicensed driving due to a SPER debt?

The State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) is tasked by the government with the collection of debts owed to the state.  It has the option of suspending a person’s drivers licence to try and force them to pay their SPER debt.  When a person’s licence is suspended and they are caught driving then the police must give them a notice to appear in a Magistrates court.



How does this offence usually occur?

In most cases we have seen the offence occurs as a result of a person’s licence being suspended by SPER and the driver simply doesn’t realise it has occurred or does know but takes the chance to keep driving.



But I didn’t know my licence was suspended

This is very common.  The law requires that SPER notify you by letter at your last known address.  The law does not require that SPER prove that you received the letter of suspension only that it was sent.  As people move addresses and fail to update their address then these problems can occur.



What should I do if charged?

The first step would be to ring SPER and get the suspension lifted.  The next step is to seek legal advice.



What penalties can the court impose?

The court will impose a fine and in addition the court must impose a disqualification.  The disqualification period must be no less then 1 month and no more than 6 months.



Can I get a work licence?

No.  There is no ability to apply for a work licence or a special hardship licence.

We have more information about unlicensed driving


I can’t get a licence disqualification: what can be done?

If you have personal or financial reasons that means you must keep driving and cannot take even the minimum disqualification of 1 month then the only option is to try and negotiate with the police prosecutor to try and get the charge reduced to one that does not carry a mandatory period of disqualification. 

Negotiations with the prosecutor is known as case conferencing and is absolutely best done by an experienced traffic lawyer. 

The purpose of the negotiations would be to try and convince the prosecutor to either withdraw the charge completely (which is unlikely) or reduce it to a different type of unlicensed driving charge that carries no mandatory loss of licence.  If the prosecutor agrees to this then there is a very good chance the magistrate will only impose a fine for the reduced charge and not disqualify a persons drivers licence.

We have more information about negotiating with the prosecutor.



What factors would the prosecutor look at in deciding whether to reduce the charge?

Negotiations with the prosecutor is very complex and should only be attempted by an experienced traffic lawyer.  The cost of hiring a lawyer would likely be less than the cost of taxis, ubers and general inconvenience if you do the negotiations yourself, fail and have your licence suspended by the courts.

In general however the prosecutor would likely be looking at the following in deciding whether to reduce or withdraw the charge through negotiations;

  1. The defendant’s traffic or criminal history

  2. The reasons the SPER suspension was imposed

  3. Whether the SPER debt has now been paid or a payment plan entered into

  4. The reason the defendant needs to drive

  5. The impact a disqualification will have

  6. The public interest in allowing someone to keep driving



I will lose my job without a licence

If you will lose your job then the only option would be to try and negotiate with the police prosecutor over the charge.


Can’t I just plead with the magistrate not to take my licence?

Unless the prosecutor has agreed to reduce the charge then the magistrates hands are tied.  They must disqualify your licence for between 1 and 6 months, they have no discretion to go below 1 month of disqualification.

For more information


Can you help me?

We absolutely can.  We have the knowledge and experience to give you the best chance of the court giving the minimum disqualification 1 month or to negotiate to reduce the charge with the police prosecutor and try and convince the magistrate not to take your licence.

We can help in any court in South East Queensland, from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and up to Maryborough and out to Toowoomba.

We have offices at;




Gold Coast



Hervey Bay


What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. 

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other South East Queensland law firm can match our prices and experience. Our prices include;

To see what we will for a guilty plea on a unlicensed driving charge or to negotiate with the prosecutor  click here



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:

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.

www.drivinglaw.com.au/about-us/our-team/121-steven-brough.html | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.