Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland

Displaying items by tag: disqualification

Sunday, 27 February 2022 13:06

How Long will a Court Disqualify my Licence for?

There are a range of driving related offences in Queensland, with various disqualification periods for each of them.


Driving Offences and Disqualification Periods

The Queensland Parliament has legislated so that certain driving offences carry mandatory minimum disqualifications. This means when a court is deciding how long to disqualify your licence for, it cannot go lower than the minimum, regardless of what a lawyer says or what the Court may want to do. The primary (but not only) legislation that creates driving offences is the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.

Below, then, is a list of the most common mandatory disqualification periods:

Take note that minimum disqualifications will be higher, in most cases, if you have prior offences for drink driving or drug driving within 5 years of the offence.

Some of the disqualifications above can also “cumulate” which means they stack on top of each other. This usually occurs when there are multiple offences. To give some examples:

  • Multiple drink driving and/or drug driving offences committed at different times, but sentence imposed at the same time – cumulative.
  • Unlicenced driving type offence and drink driving/drug driving offence committed at the same time – cumulative


Can I be Disqualified for more than the Minimum?

In most cases, yes. The minimum is the starting point, and the Court has the discretion to impose a higher disqualification.


Is There No Way to Avoid a Disqualification?

In limited situations you can make an application to the Court for a restricted licence, also known as a work licence. If you have not been disqualified or suspended within 5 years prior to the offence, the offence is low or middle limit drink driving, or driving while a drug is present in your saliva, and you would have a valid open licence if not for the disqualification, then you are eligible.

There are further tests before getting a work licence; you need to be deemed by the Court a fit and proper person, and you need to prove you would be deprived of your means of earning a living if the work licence was not granted. It is an involved process which requires the preparation of sworn affidavits and a detailed description of your personal and financial circumstances. We are experts in getting people work licences, and you may wish to help yourself to a free consultation with our firm if you want to explore your options.

Another way to avoid a possible disqualification is to write to the prosecution and ask them to downgrade or withdraw your charge, which is called a “submission”. This is also an involved process and often requires a persuasive argument backed by evidence you are working or made an honest mistake or have exceptional personal circumstances that would warrant some leniency. We have had some great successes with our submissions, for a few examples:

  • Downgrading of a charge which had a mandatory disqualification of two years down to one of just one month.
  • Downgrading of a charge from 6 months minimum to a charge which had no minimum.
  • Getting prosecutors to drop one of two charges, which halved the minimum disqualification from 12 months to 6 months.  

The final way to avoid a disqualification is to contest the charge, and win, in court. This is an option that cannot be easily generalised in a short article and is better explained with targeted legal advice.


Are There Defences Available?

There are, of course. However, there are specific lines of defence for each charge and each set of circumstances which is beyond the scope of this guide.


What Things Does the Court Consider When Deciding the Disqualification Period?

The Court will take into account a number of factors. If it is a drink driving offence, the Court will:

  • Take note of your blood alcohol content.
  • Consider if you have a history of committing similar offences and driving offences in general,
  • Consider the manner of your driving; i.e. did you come to the attention of the police because you were swerving all over the road, or was it a random breath test?
  • Look at whether you have completed an education course such as Queensland Traffic Offenders Program.

These above are some of the things the Court will consider.



As you will have seen, although there are minimum disqualification periods, the period will differ depending on the charges and the circumstances of each case. You are able to avoid total disqualification, or achieve a lower length of disqualification, but this will almost always require the expertise of a lawyer. Each lawyer at Clarity Law is a driving law expert. We have appeared in hundreds of driving matters each, and thousands of cases in total. If you want the best possible outcome for your case, help yourself to a free consultation.

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Monday, 25 July 2016 14:47

Unlicenced Driving

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 -

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:

  • Always ensure that your current residential address is known to Queensland Transport Department and SPER, if you have a debt with them.


  • If you work away from home you should have someone monitor your mail in case any correspondence comes to you advising you have an overdue SPER debt, you have exceeded your demerit point limit or you receive a fine.


  • If you have a SPER debt that is direct debited from a bank account always ensure there are funds available for the payments to come out from. Also, if you change banks or close a bank account ensure the SPER payments were not connected to that account. If so you need to advise SPER of the bank account detail change immediately.


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.  

Published in Legal Blog