Clarity Law - drivinglaw.com.au

South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

unlicensed driving

  • Disqualified Driving

    Disqualified driving is an extremely serious charge in Queensland. Courts are particularly hard on these types of offences as to be charged with disqualified driving you must have been disqualified by a court but still chosen to drive. Magistrates often feel a personal affront that you have disobeyed their orders.  Disqualified driving is the leading traffic offence that sends people to prison.  Since 2010 we have been dedicated to helping Queenslanders charged with traffic offences like disqualified driving.

     

    What is disqualified driving?

    Disqualified driving is a type of unlicensed driving charge where at the time you were arrested you were disqualified from driving by a court order.

    The charge is different to other unlicensed driving or driving without a licence charges as there must be a previous disqualification by the courts still in place at the time the offence was committed.

    Section 78 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 is the legislation that sets out the charge in Queensland.  It defines a disqualified driver as one who is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence because of any court order.

     

    Which court deals with a disqualified driving charge?

    The charge is dealt with in the magistrate’s court closest to where the charge occurred.  You can often seek to transfer the charge to the magistrate’s court closest to where you live if you are pleading guilty.  For a full list of courts and their contact details click here.

     

    How is a disqualified driving heard in court?

    We have an article on how drink driving charge are heard, disqualified driving charges are heard in a similar way.

     

    If a court has disqualified you from driving and you're caught driving what are the consequences and penalties?

    The consequences of driving while disqualified can range from a fine and 2-year disqualification up to imprisonment and a 5 year disqualification.

    The factors that determine the penalty include

    • How long ago your licence was disqualified
    • Your traffic and criminal history
    • Whether you committed other charges at the same time like drink driving or drug driving
    • The reason you were driving
    • How you were driving

     

    Will I receive a jail sentence?

    Jail is often imposed by the courts for disqualified driving, even on some occasions for first time offenders although first time offenders are generally not sent to jail. If you have had previous disqualified driving charges or a bad traffic history it is vital to try and convince a magistrate that jail is inappropriate and that a more appropriate penalty is community service or probation. Although any jail sentence that might be imposed may be short (generally under 6 months) the financial and emotional impact will be severe.

    We have had great success in the past convincing courts that the driver should not be sent to jail but instead should serve community service or that the jail sentence should be wholly suspended, often we have been able to convince the court to simply impose a fine and a further disqualification period without any further penalty.

    This is not the type of offence you should attempt to undertake on your own as very specific submissions need to be made to the court to avoid jail. It is also important to note that you may appear before the same magistrate that originally disqualified you from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence.  About 10% of people charged with disqualified driving receive a prison sentence as part of the sentence.

     

    How long will I be disqualified for?

    The court will impose a further disqualification of your licence, generally a further 2 years which is the minimum but it can be up to a further 5 years. We note that there seems to be some confusion as to the minimum disqualification period, although in New South Wales it is 1 year, in Queensland it is 2 years.

    The courts will look at how long ago the previous disqualification occurred and what were the circumstances of this current offence in setting a penalty. It is critical that all the relevant facts and circumstances of the offence and the person’s private and work history are placed before the court. We have all of our client’s complete references in a form the courts will accept.

     

    Can I get a work licence?

    It is not possible to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence or any other type of authorisation to drive if you are found guilty of disqualified driving, this is why its critical to try and get the minimum disqualification period.

    People will sometimes enquire about a section 10 dismissal but this applies in New South Wales only not Queensland.

     

    Is there a defence to a disqualified driving charge?

    In certain limited circumstances a defence of necessity or emergency may be available e.g. driving a person to a hospital to receive emergency care. We have also acted for clients who have driven for reasons such as attending a chemist to obtain panadol for sick family and been able to have the police prosecution service drop the charges against our client. We are one of the only law firms to have had this success.

    Other possible defences are you were not driving on a road, your disqualification had in fact ended or you were having to drive under duress (for example fleeing violence).

    If you engage us we will check your circumstances to ensure any possible defence is explored.  We have an article on this topic that you might find interesting click here to read the article.

     

    What can I do to reduce the penalty?

    The best thing is obviously to engage an experienced traffic lawyer to act for you.  Other things you can look to do is obtaining character references, where appropriate medical reports and completing the QTOP course.

     

    Do I need a lawyer?

    Yes, do not attempt to represent yourself in the court on a disqualified driving especially if this is not your first disqualified driving charge as the risk of a jail is too high.

     

    Is the charge really that serious?

    It is, the charge is one of the leading reasons people charged with a traffic offence go to prison. 

     

    Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

    Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest disqualification period avoiding a jail sentence if this is not your first offence. We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland and have helped hundreds of people charged with disqualified driving. We appear every week in the courts with people charged with disqualified driving, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients. Other law firms simply do not have the experience that we do and don’t know the magistrates like we do. Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include;

    1. we know the magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome for a disqualified driving charge
    2. we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek a jail sentence
    3. we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court
    4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
    5. your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
    6. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
    7. unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

     

    What courts do you appear in?

    We appear in every court in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Maryborough. Just some of the courts we appear in for disqualified driving charges are;

    1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
    2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
    3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
    4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
    5. Gympie Magistrates Court
    6. Holland park Magistrates Court
    7. Ipswich Magistrates Court
    8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
    9. Noosa Magistrates Court
    10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
    11. Southport Magistrates Court
    12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
    13. Wynnum Magistrates Court

    For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.

    We have offices at;

                    Maroochydore

                    Brisbane

                    Brendale

                    Gold Coast

                    Ipswich

                    Loganholme

     

    Will I need to come into the office to see you?

    We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts  as well as Brendale, Ipswich and Loganholme but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office. We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.

     

    What do you charge?

    We charge a flat upfront fee for our services that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. We don't charge any travelling fees either; if you are in Maroochydore or Southport you will pay the same price as if you are Brisbane.

    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.

    Our prices include;

    • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
    • negotiations with the Police Prosecution unit including obtaining traffic history and charge documents
    • drafting submissions for the court
    • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)
    • all telephone calls, faxes emails and meetings with you
    • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards
    • appearing in the court with you to conduct your guilty plea

    To see what we will charge for a guilty plea on a disqualified driving charge click here

     

    If I contacted you what would occur?

    If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 40 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your charge, all at no cost.

    If you want to engage us then it’s easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don’t want to engage us or want to engage another firm that’s fine, you won’t be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your charge. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

     

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

    We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken hundreds of disqualified driving charges throughout South East Queensland.

    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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    4. Visit our main website page

    We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba.  We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people.  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 disqualified driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a disqualified driving charge will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

     

    Need more information?

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

    This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

  • Driving Offences

    A driving offence and the threat of losing your licence can have a devastating impact on your life.  It is critical that whatever the driving charge that you get the best legal representation.  We get calls every week from people who have been to court without a lawyer and received a punishment much more severe than they thought it would be, at that point there is not much we can do to help.  None of our clients have ever regretted getting good legal advice and representation.  Remember we are experts on traffic law in Queensland.

     

    Drink Driving 

    Drink driving in Queensland is a serious offence and there is a no tolerance attitude by the courts, if you are ‘over the limit’ you will be charged and you must receive some period of disqualification

    It may be possible for you to apply for a work licence but this must be done at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  Please see our section on work licences for further information.

    Well thought out submissions and arguments before a Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification.  There are a number of factors that can lead a magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.   Visit our drink driving page for more information.

     

    Drug Driving

    Drug driving is becoming more common on Queensland roads. 

    There are two possible drug driving charges in Queensland either;

    • driving whilst a relevant drug is in the system; or
    • driving under the influence of a drug (“DUI”)

    In essence driving with a relevant drug in the system is similar to low range drink driving while driving under the influence of a drug is similar to high range drink driving.

    The punishments are similar to drink driving offences and it may be possible to apply for work licence.  For more information visit our drug driving page.

     

    Careless Driving

    Careless driving is also known as driving without due care and attention.   The charge is less serious than dangerous driving but can still carry an extensive disqualification period.  Typically the Police issue careless driving charges for traffic accidents where they feel the driver is at fault.  The Police must be satisfied that you drove without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users.  You can be charged with careless driving even if on private property.  The court has the ability to impose a disqualification period if the circumstances warrant.  The disqualification can range from 1 month to an absolute disqualification.  Visit our careless driving page for more information.

     

    Disqualified Driving

    Disqualified driving is an extremely serious charge in Queensland.  The Courts are particularly hard on these types of offences as to be charged with disqualified driving you must have been disqualified by a court but still chosen to drive.  Magistrates often feel a personal affront that you have disobeyed their orders.

    The charge is different to unlicensed driving or driving without a licence as there must be a previous disqualification by the courts still in place at the time the offence was committed.

    Jail is often imposed by the courts for disqualified driving, even on rare occasions for first time offenders.  It is vital to try and convince a Magistrate that jail is inappropriate and that a more appropriate penalty is community service or probation.  The court will also impose a further disqualification of your licence, from 2 up to 5 further years.  Visit our disqualified driving page for more information.

     

    Unlicensed Driving

    People are charged with unlicensed driving because at the time of their licence status was checked by the police they were not licenced to drive on Queensland roads.

    The typical types of unlicensed driving charges include;

    1. Unlicensed driving– applies generally where people have forgotten to renew their licence
    2. Unlicensed driving (SPER suspended) – applies to people who have a debt with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) that they haven’t paid and SPER has suspended their licence
    3. Unlicensed driving (demerit point suspended) – applies to people whose licence has been suspended for too many demerit points.  Generally Queensland Transport would have written to a person who exceeded their demerit points and that person has elected a 3 month suspension or failed to elect a good driving behaviour period and their licence was automatically suspended for 3 months.
    4. Unlicensed driving (disqualified by court order) – applies to people whose licence has been disqualified by a court.  This is a very serious charge, for more information visit our disqualified driving webpage

    Visit our unlicensed driving page for more information.

     

    Evading Police

    The charge of evading police, also known as failing to stop is an extremely serious charge with the Queensland Government enacting some of the toughest legislation in the country.  The government have shown a continued desire to see people jailed for evading the police.

    Visit our evading police page for more information.

     

    Dangerous Driving

    Dangerous driving is one of the most serious traffic offences in Queensland.   Dangerous driving, depending on the circumstances of the offence can be either a traffic offence or a criminal offence.   The penalty for dangerous driving can be up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $4,000.00 depending on a number of factors including whether the driver consumed alcohol or was speeding.

    If a person is injured or killed as a result of an accident it is possible to be charged with Dangerous Driving causing injury or death.   If any of the following aggravating circumstances exist then the maximum penalty is 14 years in prison:

    • at the time the person was adversely affected by alcohol or drugs; or
    • at the time the person was excessively speeding or taking part in an unlawful race; or
    • the person has previously been convicted for dangerous driving

    It is critical to get legal advice if you are charged with dangerous driving as prison is a real possibility for this offence or at the very least a large fine and a long disqualification period.   A person should never appear unrepresented on a charge of dangerous driving as the legal issues are simply too complex.  Visit our dangerous driving page for more information.

     

    Special Hardship Licence

    Where you have exceed 2 or more demerit points in a good driving behaviour period or exceed the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed offence) it might be possible to apply for a special hardship licence to continue to drive for certain work and personal reasons. Visit our special hardship licence page for more information.  There are very strict rules regarding who can apply for a special hardship licence.

     

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

    We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken thousands of cases throughout South East Queensland.

    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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    4. Visit our main website page
  • Unlicensed Driving

     

    Unlicensed driving is a charge that can cover many different types of situations.  The charge in its simplest form applies to people who have simply forgotten to renew their licence but at its most serious it covers people who have been disqualified from driving by a Queensland court and have been caught driving again.  How serious the offence is and whether a person’s licence will be disqualified depends on the circumstances of the charge.

     

    Why would I be charged with unlicensed driving?

    People are charged with unlicensed driving because for one reason or another at the time of their licence status was checked by the police they were not licenced to drive on Queensland roads.

    The typical types of unlicensed driving charges include;

    1. Unlicensed driving– applies generally where people have forgotten to renew their licence
    2. Unlicensed driving (SPER suspended) – applies to people who have a debt with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) that they haven’t paid and SPER has suspended their licence
    3. Unlicensed driving (demerit point suspended) – applies to people whose licence has been suspended for too many demerit points.  Generally Queensland Transport would have written to a person who exceeded their demerit points and that person has elected a 3 month suspension or failed to elect a good driving behaviour period and their licence was automatically suspended for 3 months.
    4. Unlicensed driving (disqualified by court order) – applies to people whose licence has been disqualified by a court.  This is a very serious charge, for more information visit our disqualified driving webpage

     

    What penalty does an unlicensed driving charge carry?

    The court will impose a fine for the offence and depending on the severity of the offence may impose a period of disqualification.  For repeat offenders or more serious offences will look at a range of other penalties up to and including prison.

     

    Will I incur any demerit points if convicted?

    No

     

    Will I lose my licence?

    It very much depends on the circumstances of the incident that lead to the unlicensed driving charge.   The table below summaries the disqualification period that may apply

    Circumstances

    Disqualification Period

    Forgot to renew licence or never had a licence

    Up to Magistrate, can be no disqualification in appropriate circumstances

    Had SPER debt but didn’t pay

    1- 6 months

    Was demerit point suspended

    6 months

    Was disqualified by court

    2-5 years

    If person has previous unlicensed driving charge in last 5 years and was driving because forgot to renew licence or get a licence back

    1-6 months

     

    I’m being charged with unlicensed driving and the table above says I will get a disqualification but I need to drive

    If the table above indicates a disqualification period then unfortunately the court must impose it.  For SPER suspended drivers or those with a previous unlicensed charge in the last 5 years then the court must impose at least a 1 month disqualification but it can be up to 6 months.

    If the charge is driving while demerit point suspended then the court must disqualify a person’s licence for 6 months.

     

    Can I get a work licence or special hardship licence?

    No. unfortunately people charged with unlicensed driving cannot apply for a work licence or special hardship licence.   

     

    Is there any way we could negotiate to reduce the charge?

    If driving is absolutely critical then there are circumstances when it might be possible to make submissions to the police prosecution service to withdraw the charge.  The police prosecutor does have the power to reduce the charge to one where a licence disqualification is not mandatory.  We have an excellent article on negotiating with a police prosecutor

    Factors that the police prosecutor will likely take into account in deciding to accept submissions might include;

    • Circumstances of how you became unlicensed
    • Your traffic and criminal history
    • The impact a mandatory disqualification would have on you
    • How long ago you became unlicensed
    • Your family circumstances

     

    Should I get a lawyer to represent me for the unlicensed driving charge?

    Remember you cannot get a work licence or other similar licence if you are charged with unlicensed driving.  If your employment or income is dependent on your ability to drive then it is important to get legal representation to try and ensure the minimum disqualification period possible.

    Generally if you simply forgot to renew your licence then you don’t need a lawyer as the court almost never disqualifies a person.  Also with a charge of unlicensed driving while demerit point suspended the court must impose a 6 month disqualification and having a lawyer represent you will not change this.

     

    Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

    Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest disqualification period and a fine as low possible.   We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland, everyday our lawyers are in court getting the best outcome for clients.  Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include;

    • we know the magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome
    • we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not object to the court imposing the minimum disqualification period
    • we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court
    • engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
    • your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
    • you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
    • unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

     

    What courts do you appear in?

    We appear in every court in South East Queensland.  Just some of the courts we appear in are;

    1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
    2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
    3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
    4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
    5. Gympie Magistrates Court
    6. Holland park Magistrates Court
    7. Ipswich Magistrates Court
    8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
    9. Noosa Magistrates Court
    10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
    11. Southport Magistrates Cour
    12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
    13. Wynnum Magistrates Court

    For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.

     

    Will I need to come into the office to see you?

    We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts as well as Brendale, Ipswich and Loganholme but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office.  We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.

     

    What do you charge?

    We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  We don't charge any travelling fees either; if you are in Maroochydore or Southport you will pay the same price as if you are Brisbane.

    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;

    • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
    • obtaining traffic history and charge documents
    • drafting submissions for the court
    • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)
    • all telephone calls, faxes emails and meetings with you
    • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards
    • appearing in the court with you to conduct your guilty plea

    To see what we will for a guilty plea on a unlicensed driving charge click here

     

    If I contacted you what would occur?

    If you contact us then Steven Brough the firms founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 40 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your charge, all at no cost.

    If you want to engage us then it’s easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don’t want to engage us or want to engage another firm that’s fine, you won’t be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your charge. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

     

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

    We have also written an excellant article called the Essential Guide to Unlicensed Drivingthat can provice much more information.

    This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here