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Information all about how a drink driving charge is dealt with in Noosa Magistrates Court and whether you should hire a drink driving lawyer


Drink Driving Lawyer Noosa


When it comes to drink driving offences in Noosa, it's crucial to understand the legal implications of that drink driving charge, how the Noosa Magistrates court deals with that drink driving offence and perhaps most importantly what penalty the Noosa Magistrates court will impose, can you get a work licence and how to get the lowest disqualification period.

Clarity Law, has since 2010, provided expert guidance and support for individuals charged with drink driving offences in Noosa. We aren't a firm that does drink driving on the side or as a part of a lot of other types of law we are drink driving lawyer.

In this article, we will explore what is the drink driving charge, the importance of DUI and drink driving lawyers here in Noosa, shedding light on their role and how they can assist those facing legal charges in Noosa Magistrates Court.


What is drink driving?

Over 30 years ago all the state and territories in Australia agreed on a nationwide limit on the alcohol limit people can drive with, the famous .05.

In addition each state also limits some drivers to a zero alcohol limit.

In Queensland the zero alcohol limit can apply to:

  • Learner and provisional licence holders

  • Those involved in driving passengers in taxi and share rides

  • Anyone driving a vehicle of 4.5 tonnes

  • Bus drivers


Drink Driving Charges in Queensland

There are broadly 4 different drink driving charges in Queensland



BAC Range

Driving over no alcohol limit

0 - .049

Driving over the general alcohol limit

.049 - .099

Driving over the middle alcohol limit

.1 -. 149

DUI or high range drink driving

.15 +


Each charge will have different penalties that can be imposed and restrictions on the ability to get a work licence.


Immediate Suspension after a Drink Driving Charge

Those charged with driving with an alcohol limit under .1 (i.e. low range drink driving) will have an immediate 24 hour licence suspension applied.  Those charged with mid or high range will have their driver licence suspended until the court deals with the charge.

In certain circumstances, it is possible to apply for a special licence which will allow you to drive before your matter is finalised in court. This is called a section 79E order and is only available to people charged with drink driving who hold an open licence.  See our article on section 79E orders for more information.


Can the police pull you over for a random breath test?

The law states that a police officer may request a sample of breath or blood if “the officer has found such person, or suspects on reasonable grounds that such person, was during the last preceding three hours”:

  • driving a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere;

  • attempting to put in motion a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere;

  • in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere; or

  • Involved in an incident that lead to injury or property damage

The key points are that a officer must have a reasonable suspicious that someone was driving or attempting to drive or in charge of a motor vehicle in the last 3 hours. 

It also does not matter where the offence took place, it could be on the road, in someone's driveway or the Coles supermarket car park at Noosa.


I wasn't driving the vehicle but I was arrested for being in charge of a motor vehicle

You can be charged with drink driving being in charge of a vehicle if you had control of the motor vehicle for example if you were in the driver's seat and had the keys near you even if you were not driving or had no intention of driving.  Often this occurs when people are in the car waiting to be picked up, in the car wanting to find something or just sleeping.

If you were in the front compartment of the vehicle then the law reduces the defences you might have to the charge.

In the past we have had clients charged with drink driving while being in charge of a motor vehicle where;

  • They were listening to music in their car as they had an argument with their partner

  • They had called an uber and were charging their phone waiting to be picked up

  • They fell asleep in the front seat of the car in the car park

  • They were waiting in the car for the rain to stop and then were going to walk home


What options do I have?

Broadly you will have 3 different options on your first court date. 

You can:

  • Plead guilty

  • Plead not guilty

  • Adjourn for legal advice


Plead guilty

If you plead guilty and are not applying for a work licence then you matter will likely proceed to be dealt with immediately in Noosa Magistrates Court generally deals with drink driving charge each day of the week.

If you are seeking a work licence then the court would adjourn the matter so that all the material you will rely on can be filed with the court.   Noosa Magistrates Court generally deals with work licence applications on Tuesdays at 2pm.


Plead not guilty

If you believe you are not guilty of the charge then you can request a trial before a Magistrate.  If you are looking at pleading not guilty its essential to get legal advice.  You can also check out our article on beating a drink driving charge.


Adjourn for legal advice

The court will always allow someone to adjourn their matter to get legal advice on their first court date.



In Queensland unlike other states the court must impose a disqualification period for every drink driving charge.  This means that no matter the circumstances of a person their drivers licence will be disqualified for a period of time.


How does the Noosa Magistrates Court work out a penalty?

The Noosa court will generally look at the following factors in setting the penalty

  • Your BAC

  • Whether you have prior drink driving offences

  • The extent of your traffic and criminal history

  • Your age

  • Your current work arrangements

  • Your family situation

  • How the disqualification will affect your work and family commitments

  • Any character references you provide

  • How early you pleaded guilty

  • Your participation in any courses (such as the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program)

  • How cooperative you were with police

  • Your financial circumstances

  • How the recording of a conviction might impact your future


What penalties might be imposed

The table below sets out the disqualification ranges and maximum fine the court can impose for a first offence.


Disqualification period

Maximum fine

Over the no alcohol limit

3-9 months


Over the general alcohol limit

1-9 months


Over the middle alcohol limit

3-12 months


Over the high alcohol limit

Minimum 6 months



How do I reduce the penalty?

We strongly suggest you attend some form of driving course before your court date. We recommend the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). This course can be done online or in person. All the details including how to enrol are on their website at www.qtop.com.au .

The program is designed to increase the understanding of participants of their social commitments in general and traffic laws in particular. When your matter is finalised in court a magistrate may take into account any changes of attitude exhibited by you while participating in the program.

In additional character references can be useful to understand a persona background.

The best way to reduce the penalty is obviously to engage a Noosa DUI lawyer that appears regularly in the court and knows the very best things to say and what not to say to the Noosa Magistrates court to get the lowest fine and disqualification period.


Recording a Conviction

Drink driving is a summary offence which under Queensland law is a criminal offence but not a crime therefore a conviction, if recorded, would go on your traffic history but not on your criminal history.  

You can ask the court not to record a conviction if if will have an impact on your ability to earn an income or will have a serious social impact.

See our article on the recording a conviction for a drink driving charge.



If I cannot drive during my disqualification period I will lose my job

As you must get a disqualification in Queensland the only option to keep driving would be to make an application for a work licence.

It is only possible for you to apply for a work licence if:

  • you held an open licence at the time of the offence

  • are charged with low or mid-range drink driving and

  • had no suspensions of your licence in the last 5 years


A work licence must be applied for at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards. 

You cannot apply for a work licence if you are charged with high range drink driving (driving under the influence) or were subject to the no alcohol limit (i.e you we a provisional licence holder or driving a taxi or truck over 4.5 tonnes.

Please see our section on work licences for further information or check out the most comprehensive guide on the internet on how to apply for a work licence.

A work licence only allows you to drive for work purposes you cannot get a work licence or hardship licence to be able to drive for person reasons i.e. driving your children to school.  In Queensland a period of disqualification must be imposed and so if personal driving is critical all you can do is try and minimise the disqualification period as much as possible.

The court also has the option to double then period of disqualification they would have imposed if no work licence was applied for.  Well thought out submissions and arguments before the Noosa Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification. 


The process in Noosa Magistrates Court

Generally most drink driving charges heard in Noosa court will follow the following process.

  1. The Noosa Magistrates court will generally start at 9:00am

  2. From just after 8:30am there will be a police prosecutor in the court room giving people their QP9 (what is a QP9 see our article here) and asking people if they are pleading guilty, not guilty or seeking an adjournment

  3. Once the court starts your name will be called at some point

  4. The court will then ask you if you are pleading guilty, not guilty or seeking an adjournment.

  5. If you are seeking an adjournment then the court is quite willing to grant an adjournment on the first occasion the matter is heard in court. If you seek further adjournments the court will need to be convinced you have a valid reason.

  6. If you are pleading guilty then the guilty plea can usually be conducted there and then. The police prosecutor will provide the court with a verbal overview of what occurred and then tender your criminal and traffic history (if you have any). You can then address the court on what occurred and the penalty to be imposed. The types of things that the court might be interested in hearing from you in regards to the penalty included.

    • Why the offence occurred

    • What you do for living

    • How much money you make a week

    • The impact a disqualification will have on your family and personal life

    • The impact a disqualification will have on your employment or education

    • Addressing any similar charges you have previously committed

    • Addressing whether a conviction should be recorded or not


What happens after the disqualification ends?

After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your licence.  You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended.  Drink driving in Queensland does not incur any demerit points.

After you have been disqualified you will be on a probationary licence for 1 year once you get your licence back, this means that;

  1. You have only 4 demerit points available; and

  2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year

Queensland Transport now require that you do a course in order to obtain your licence.  If this is your first drink driving charge or if you have other drink driving charges but they occurred before 10 September 2021 then you need to do a short online course.  Details can be found here   If this is your second or more drink driving charge and any previous drink driving charges occurred after 10 September 2021 then you need to do a more intense course.  Details can be found by clicking here  



You will be required to have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle for the period of one year if the charge was mid range drink driving or high range drink driving or if this is your 2nd drink driving charge in 5 years.

This means you cannot start driving on your licence (once the disqualification period ends) until the interlock is fitted to your nominated vehicle.  The court has no discretion to allow you not to do this as it is a Queensland Transport licencing requirement.  More details can be found here.


What does a Noosa DUI lawyer in court actually do?

The role of a drink driving lawyer in Noosa is pretty simple its about getting the very best outcome for the client, that usually involves trying to the get the lowest disqualification period and fine and where appropriate arguing that a work licence should be granted.

Just as importantly its about reducing the stress level of the client by clearly explaining what will occur, what needs to be done to reduce the penalty and being able to take a clients call immediately or answer their email quickly so the client always knows what's happening and that they can trust their lawyer is an expert and actually cares about the client and the outcome.


I can just use the duty lawyer and not have to pay for a lawyer

Duty lawyers wont act for people charged with drink driving.  If you don't organise your own lawyer then you will be facing the Magistrate on your own.


Can I change the court?

The court might be willing to transfer your charge to another court for example one closer to where you live if you are pleading guilty to the charge.


Do I really need to attend court in person for a drink driving charge?

Yes, you cannot plead guilty online to drink driving.  If you live interstate then in some cases if you engage a lawyer then you might be able to have them deal with the charge with you phoning into the court proceedings.


When does the disqualification begin?

If you plead guilty the disqualification states as soon as the Magistrate imposes the disqualification period.  You would not be able to drive away from the court.


I have P plates can I get a work licence?

No, you must have an open licence at the time of the traffic offence itself.


What legislation control's drink driving in Queensland?

In Queensland drink driving is governed by the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.


I got caught drink driving in Noosa years ago but never went to court

If you missed your court date an arrest warrant was almost certainly issued.

You can voluntarily surrender to the court and get the matter dealt with however contact a lawyer as the process if not handled right could see you spend time in the watch house which is not a pleasant experience.


Noosa Magistrates Court


Noosa Magistrates Court is located at

Langura Street

Noosa Qld 4567

Directions to the court can be found here Map


Court contact and hours

8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

8.30am to 4.00pm, Tuesday


Phone:  (07) 5473 2200

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



Noosa Court has the following Magistrates:

Callaghan, CJ

Madsen, R

McLaughlin, MR

Stjernqvist, HB


How to find who is in Noosa Magistrates Court

The court will publish a list of all people who are to appear in the court that day.  This is known as the daily law list.  People in the Noosa court that day can be found by clicking here.



The Noosa court each year decides which days they will hear different types and charges and legal matters.  For drink driving the Noosa court hears every day of the week.

Click here to see the current Noosa court timetable


Noosa Drink Driving Lawyers FAQ's

Where is the local Queensland Transport Office?

The Noosa Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre is located at 8 Sidoni Street, Tewantin.


Where is the best parking for Noosa Court

There is free parking onsite.


Where is the closest public transport to Noosa court?

Bus stop 302108  is only a few minutes walk away.


Where is the local interlock installers?

Autobarn Gympie

17 Edwin Campion Drive
Gympie QLD 4570


Harmac Automotive

1 Depot Street

Kuluin QLD 4558


Suburbs covered by Noosa Magistrates Court

Noosa Heads, Noosaville and Tewantin, the coastal suburbs of Castaways Beach, Marcus Beach, Peregian Beach and Sunshine Beach, and the small villages of Boreen Point, Cooran, Cooroy, Kin Kin and Pomona


Clarity law's closet office

Suite 4/66 Duporth Ave,

Maroochydore QLD 4558

Phone: 1300 952 255

Map Directions


What do you charge?

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

We are 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 Noosa DUI lawyer can match our prices and experience. While we will never be the cheapest we do offer the best value in our opinion.

Our prices include;

  • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty

  • Contacting the prosecution unit to obtain your traffic history, charge documents and a copy of the prosecutor court brief (QP9) so we know what the prosecutor will tell the court occurred

  • drafting submissions for the court

  • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)

  • all telephone calls, 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 for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge

We know there are a lot of DUi lawyers Noosa so we will work hard to prove we are your best option.


Click here to see what we charge or see below for our current prices for a first time drink driving offence.

Work Licence (includes price of guilty plea)      $2,200

Drink Driving - Low range                                   $1,499

Drink Driving - Mid range                                    $1,599

Drink Driving - High range                                   $1,699


Our Experience

Since 2010 we have been representing people throughout the Noosa region who have been charged with matters involving alcohol or a drug driving offence and need expert Noosa DUI lawyers to represent them.

Our client often come to us nervous, worried and needing answers. This is not a time for uncertainty over your future nor the costs you will pay.

We strive to give you immediate comprehensive advice and a fixed fee so you can be sure of your legal costs and whether you qualify for a work licence.


Our Lawyers

Every one of our lawyers is extremely experienced appearing in the Queensland Courts every week representing people on a huge range of traffic, DUI and drink driving charges.


Steven Brough


Russell Tannock


Jack Marshall


Jacob Purden


Belinda Smyth – Client Services Manager

Between our lawyers we have appeared in court thousands of times representing clients with drink driving charges throughout Queensland


Why should I choose you and not just represent myself?

Just some reasons include;

  1. we know the Magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the lowest disqualification period and penalty

  2. we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them support a work licence application or minimum licence disqualification submission

  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 which will reduce your stress level

  7. unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests


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 45 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 drink driving 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 and they know the Noosa courts and the magistrates and prosecutors.


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;


  • Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you



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


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





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