DUI & Drink Driving Lawyer Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Drink Driving Lawyers

 Thank you for considering engaging Clarity Law as a possible traffic law firm for your Sunshine Coast DUI or Drink Driving charge.  We have been representing people charged with DUI and Drink Driving in the Sunshine Coast courts since 2010 and we are very familiar with every Magistrate  that sit on Sunshine Coast and the surrounding courts.  In fact our founder Steven Brough has been a drink driving lawyer on the Sunshine Coast since 2001 and our head office is based at Maroochydore.

Engaging a drink driving lawyer is a difficult decision, you need to be sure the law firm you engage is both reputable, experienced and that you have certainty of your legal costs and the traffic lawyer they assign to your case is knowledgeable in the Sunshine Coast Courts and knows what each Magistrate wants whether it be Maroochydore, Caloundra, Caboolture, Noosa, Nambour, Gympie or Caboolture Magistrates Courts.


Levels of Drink Driving

In Queensland there are 4 levels of drink driving.  Each level of drink driving has its own licence disqualification  range.

BAC levels


I cannot understand how I could be over the limit

Our clients can often be really confused how they can be over the limit.  This is especially true for first time drink drivers.  In our experience this is generally down to

  • How stressed you were
  • How much food you had consumed
  • Whether you were drinking high alcohol drinks
  • Losing track of the amount of drinks consumed
  • Your type of build and how much body fat you have
  • How quickly you consumed the alcohol

The old guidelines of 2 standard drinks in the first hour and one every hour after often led to people being over the limit and should never be relied upon.


I am charged with drink driving but need to drive during any disqualification

It may be 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 but this must be done at the time you appear in a Sunshine Coast 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).

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

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.

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 Sunshine Coast Magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.


I didn’t realise I could get a work licence and have already had the drink driving charge dealt with

You must apply for a work licence before you plead guilty to the drink driving charge.  You cannot apply for a work licence after you are sentenced.



Can I Get a Work Licence or Special Hardship Order for Driving Under the Influence?

Unfortunately, section 87(5)(da) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 excludes someone convicted of driving under the influence from being eligible for a work licence.

A special hardship order is only applicable to someone whose licence is suspended (or is going to be suspended) by Transport and Main Roads due to the breach of a good behaviour driving period.


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.

It does not matter that the car was not on a road.  You can be charged with drink driving even if the car was on private property such as a car park or driveway.


Driving While Under the Influence

Driving under the influence (DUI)  is a serious charge, which can have serious consequences for your driver licence and for your hip pocket. Driving under the influence is otherwise known as high range drink driving. The reason it is called ‘high range’ Is because you will not be charged with this offence unless your blood alcohol content is detected as .15 or above. The law assumes you were driving under the influence of alcohol if your blood alcohol content is this high. The charge is contained in section 79(1) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.


What do Police Have to Prove?

As always, it if for the police to prove you committed the offence. It is generally quite easy to prove a charge of this kind. Police have very wide powers to breathalyse people and most of the time a person charged with this offence will either be sitting in the driver’s seat of a car before they were breathalysed, or had been driving a car before breathalysed.

The breath analysis instrument the police use at the roadside is only an indication of blood alcohol content (BAC). This means to get a BAC reading which would be sufficient to prove the charge against you, the police will need to take you to a police station to have your breath analysed by a special instrument, which is kept at most police stations. It is very common for the reading at roadside to be different from that at the station. It is always the reading at the station that the prosecutors will rely on in court. The police are required to produce a “breath analysis certificate” as proof of your BAC to the Court. The legislation is such that it is very difficult to challenge one of these certificates. We are unaware of any instances where a challenge to one of these certificates has been successful.

 police 4


Are there defences to a drink driving charge?

Most defences to a drink driving offence have now gone.  The police must conduct the breath or blood test within 3 hours of you driving and it must be conducted in accordance with the law.

If you are charged with a failure to provide a breath sample then it is a defence to this charge to prove that due to a physical condition you were unable to provide a sufficient specimen of breath.  This is a very technical area of the law and if you think you have a defence you should contact us.



Will I get a criminal record?

No, all traffic convictions are just that, traffic convictions, they are not considered to be criminal charges.  The Courts are unlikely not to record a conviction unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way. 

It should be noted however that overseas travel may be more difficult or impossible if a conviction for a DUI is recorded, especially to Islamic countries or the United States or Canada


What are the Consequences for a High Range Drink Driving Charge?

If you plead guilty to driving under the influence, the minimum disqualification of your driver licence is 6 months. 6 months is relatively uncommon, but our lawyers are very experienced and have had some great success achieving a 6 month disqualification, or close to it – with the expert knowledge, the right material and the right story to tell. Most of the time you will be sentenced to a fine close to the $1,000 mark, unless you have prior offences for drink driving, in which case you might expect a different penalty (like probation or suspended imprisonment).

An interlock condition on your licence is a mandatory requirement. There is nothing we or the magistrate can do about that. The condition will last a minimum of 12 months. You would need to take a vehicle to an approved installer. There are costs for the initial installation and ongoing costs for maintenance and calibration. You will also be required to partake in a “driver education program” at your own cost. More information can be found here.




What period of disqualification of my driver licence will I get in a Sunshine Coast Court?

First time convictions usually carry a fine and disqualification. The length of disqualification and amount of the fine depends largely on the blood alcohol limit. If there are previous convictions the fine and disqualification time will increase.   According to the legislation if there are 3 convictions in 5 years with BAC readings above 0.15% jail time will be a compulsory part of the punishment.

Below is a table showing a table of minimum and maximum licence disqualifications that apply.

A very general rough guide to penalties for a first time low range drink driver in a Sunshine Coast Magistrates Court with no previous offences is listed below; please note this is not legal advice as to your potential penalty it is merely a general guide. Employing a lawyer will almost always reduce your disqualification period.

 Possible penalties


What will happen in Court?

In general terms, drink driving matters are dealt with “summarily”, which means that they are dealt with in a Magistrates Court. 

Different Sunshine Coast courts have different rules on where they hear drink driving charges.  In Maroochydore Court for example traffic matter are generally heard on a Monday.  In Caloundra its generally hear on Tuesday.  Other courts like Gympie set aside Mondays for most traffic matters.
In addition to the date, you will also be advised of what time you must be at court. Generally, you will be told to be at court at 8.30am or 9.00am. While you must be at court at this time, your matter will not be heard immediately. Instead, the court and the police prosecutor work together to decide the order in which matters will be heard that day.  As a rule, anyone who has legal representation will be heard first, followed by everyone who is representing themselves.

If you plead guilty, the court will usually deal with your matter immediately. The magistrate will read the charge to you and ask you how you plead. The magistrate may also ask you if you are entering the plea of your own free will. The police prosecutor will then read the outline of facts and give the magistrate copies of the drug analysis certificate, your criminal history and traffic history. The police prosecutor may also offer an opinion as to what penalties should be imposed on you.

After the prosecutor has spoken, the magistrate will give you an opportunity to speak. Your lawyer (or you if you don’t have a lawyer) will then put explain what occurred, why it occurred, the positive things you have done since the offence, your general good character and the impact the penalty including the disqualification will have on you. This is done to support asking the magistrate to give you the minimum penalty that can be argued for on the strength of those facts and circumstances.

The court will also consider any other material you might have obtained that will help reduce the penalty such as character references or completing a driving course such at Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”).

Once your lawyer has spoken, the magistrate may seek further clarification of certain matter from the police, from your lawyer, or from both. The magistrate will then convict you, impose a penalty and disqualify you from driving for a certain period of time. That licence disqualification takes effect immediately.

If you have applied for a work licence, the magistrate will indicate whether the application is granted. If it is granted the magistrate will state the conditions on which the licence is granted.

Once you are disqualified, you must immediately surrender your driver’s licence to the police prosecutor. It is an offence to be in possession of your licence after you have been disqualified from driving.




What Factors will the Court take into Account?

As the peak traffic law specialists in Queensland, we know exactly what the Court wants to hear. The Court will take into account, among other things:

  • 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


When does the disqualification begin?

The disqualification starts immediately.  You would not be able to drive once you leave the Court.  If your licence was immediately suspended because you were a mid or high range drink driver then the court will take into account the time you have been suspended but the disqualification period the court sets starts from the court date.


Will I need to fit an Interlock to my car?

You will be required to have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle for the period of one year once you are eligible to obtain your driver’s licence back if you are charged with mid range drink driving or high range drink driving (DUI or UIL) or this is your second drink driving charge within 5 years.  The Court has no discretion to exempt you from an interlock if this applies to you as it is a Queensland Transport licencing requirement.  This is an area that is subject to constant change, for more information visit their website.

 interlock reduced size


What happens after my disqualification period?

After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend The Department of Main Roads and reapply for your licence.  You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended.  

After you have been disqualified for a drink driving offence you will be on a probationary licence for one year, this means that;

  1. You have only 4 demerit points available
  2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year

You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back if you were licenced at the time of the offence.

During your disqualification you cannot drive any motor vehicle for any reason.  If you do drive then you can be charged with disqualified driving which is a very serious charge.


Links that may be of assistance

List of Queensland Courts and their contact details

Daily list of Matters in Sunshine Coast Courts

List of Sunshine Coast Magistrates

Court Calendar for Sunshine Coast Courts


Should I get a Drink Driving Lawyer to represent me?

In a word, yes this is not an offence where you should simply turn up to a Sunshine Coast Magistrates Court without a lawyer.  The consequences and penalties the Court may impose are too serious not to seek to minimise the penalty by having a drink driving lawyer with you.

If you have a bad traffic history, have previously been convicted of drink driving or are charged with mid or high range drink driving offence then a DUI or drink driving Lawyer is critical.  We get 2-3 calls a week from people who represented themselves in Sunshine Coast court and received extremely harsh penalties and need to try and appeal the result.  In most cases an appeal is not possible or if it is it will cost a huge amount for the legal fees.  It is better to have a lawyer from the start to minimise the drink driving penalty.

Hopefully, the above has shown it is important to come to court prepared. It is a bad idea to turn up to court and “wing it”. While the minimum disqualification is 6 months, the maximum is much higher, and if you go to court prepared with an experienced lawyer (and we do specialise in this area), you can be confident of getting an outcome much better than what you would get merely going by yourself and hoping for the best. We find, at times, there is a strange casualness people take to drink driving offences, but being without a licence can have catastrophic consequences, particularly in more regional areas or for people who work in industries which require an ability to drive.


What Sunshine Courts we appear in

We appear in the following Magistrate Courts in the Sunshine Coast region for DUI and Drink Driving charges;

Caloundra Magistrates Court

Caboolture Magistrates Court

Gympie Magistrates Court

Maroochydore Magistrates Court

Nambour Magistrates Court

Noosa Magistrates Court


Our Local Office

Suite 4

66 Duporth Avenue

Maroochydore QLD 4558

Phone: 1300 952 255


Please always phone ahead to book an appointment.


Our other Office Locations




Gold Coast

Hervey Bay



Our Lawyers

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

 steven brough criminal solicitor

Steven Brough – Founder and Sunshine Coast Traffic Lawyer

 russell tannock criminal lawyer

Russell Tannock – Sunshine Coast Traffic Lawyer

 lucy ferguson criminal solicitor

Lucy Ferguson – Sunshine Coast Traffic Lawyer

 jacob pruden criminal lawyer

Jacob Purden – Sunshine Coast Traffic Lawyer

 belinda smyth criminal lawyer

Belinda Smyth – Client Services Manager

Between our lawyers we have appeared in court thousands of times representing clients with drink driving charges throughout the Sunshine Coast.


I will just use the duty lawyer at court, that’s free

Unless you are facing the chance of imprisonment which is not likely for drink driving then the duty lawyer cannot act for you at court.  This means you will be facing the court and the prosecutor on your own.

 australian courtroom reduced size


A lawyer is not going to make any real difference

We have done 1000’s of drink driving charge throughout Queensland and the Sunshine Coast.  Having a lawyer always makes a difference.  It doesn’t have to be us but always have a lawyer handle your matter in court.  Even a month or two less disqualification is worth the price let alone the reduction in stress you will have with a lawyer by your side handling everything.  Just the cost of Ubers and taxis to get around for the few extra months a lawyer can save makes it worth it, let alone the saving in stress and worry.

Remember in court only a lawyer is on your side, the magistrate and the police prosecutor are not.


I’m really embarrassed at what has occurred

That’s understandable most of our clients haven’t intentionally driven whilst over the limit.  We have no judgement, good people make mistakes and we are here to try and get the best outcome for the client so they can go on with their lives.


Our Experience

Since 2010 we have been representing people throughout the Sunshine Coast region who have been charged with a DUI or Drink Driving charge and need a good traffic lawyer 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 Founder Steven Brough is one of the most respected and experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland and started his career on the Sunshine Coast.

low res group


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

Check out our reviews by clicking here and seeing what other people thought of our service


Is this all going to be a hassle to engage you?

No, 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.

Most of the information we require you can complete with an online form from your phone or tablet.

You will also have the direct email address and mobile phone number of your lawyer so you can ask any question you may have.  We believe in given client the very best experience possible and that starts with great communication and fast responses to your queries.  Our client services manager Belinda is also just a phone call or email away to answer any questions you have.

 contact us reduced size


How to get in Contact with us if you need a Lawyer?

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 call you back for short free conference
  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 drink driving. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  


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;

  • 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, 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 for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge


 If you aren’t a first time drink driver we are happy to provide a fixed price quote.


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 Sunshine Coast courts and the Magistrates and Judges.


More Drink Driving Information

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