Have you been charged with a traffic offence in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

Have you been charged with a traffic offence in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

How this firm can help you achieve justice

How this firm can help you achieve justice

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer who is independently recommended as being among the leading criminal defence lawyers in Queensland.
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex homicide trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about traffic offences

1. Specific traffic offences in Queensland

In Queensland, charges relating to traffic offences are treated seriously, with some offences carrying mandatory minimum penalties. If you or a family member faces a traffic offence in Queensland, getting early and authoritative advice from an experienced lawyer can help to minimise the impact such charges can otherwise carry.

Careless driving

Careless driving is made an offence under section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld). It carries a maximum penalty of 40 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

In Queensland, a person commits an offence of careless driving if they drive a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place. The offence is often – though not always – charged in cases where an accident has occurred and where the evidence suggests that the cause was driver inattention or carelessness.

Careless driving causing grievous bodily harm

A charge of careless driving causing grievous bodily harm carries a maximum penalty of 80 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment. If the driver is unlicensed at the time of committing the offence, the maximum penalty is doubled.

The offence of careless driving causing grievous bodily harm requires proof that a person drove a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place and that caused grievous bodily harm to another person. The charge may be substituted for, or in place of, the more serious offence of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.

Careless driving causing death

A charge of careless driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 80 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment. If the driver is unlicensed at the time of committing the offence, the maximum penalty is doubled.

The offence of careless driving causing grievous bodily harm requires proof that a person drove a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place and that caused the death of another person. The charge may be substituted for, or in place of, the more serious offence of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.

Dangerous operation of a vehicle

Dangerous operation of a vehicle is made an offence under section 328A of the Criminal Code (Qld). The maximum penalty for the offence where no aggravating circumstances are proved is 200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.

The offence of dangerous operation of a vehicle may be charged when a person operates, or in any way interferes with the operation of, a vehicle dangerously in any place. The maximum penalty is increased if at the time of committing the offence the person is adversely affected by an intoxicating substance, was excessively speeding or taking part in an unlawful speed trial, or had been previously convicted of an offence under section 328A of the Criminal Code (Qld).

Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm

Dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm is treated as a serious charge in Queensland, which is often punishable by a term of imprisonment due to the harm caused by the offence.

Cases of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm are dealt with on indictment in the District Court of Queensland. The charge arises when a person operates, or in any way interferes with the operation of, a vehicle dangerously in any place and in doing so, causes grievous bodily harm to another person. The assessment of whether the conduct was dangerous has regard to all the relevant circumstances of the case.

Dangerous driving causing death

Dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death is treated as a serious charge in Queensland. Convictions for the charge often result in a term of actual imprisonment due to the loss of life caused by the offence.

Cases of dangerous driving causing death are dealt with on indictment in the District Court of Queensland. The charge arises when a person operates, or in any way interferes with the operation of, a vehicle dangerously in any place and in doing so, causes the death of another person. The charge may be substituted for, or in place of, the more serious offence manslaughter or less serious offence of careless driving causing death.

Drink driving charges

Drink driving charges, including the offence of driving under the influence of liquor (DUI), can have significant impacts on people and their families. The mandatory minimum licence disqualification periods can cause a significant burden.

Although some people who are charged with drink driving offences are eligible to apply for a work licence, those who are ineligible can face significant mandatory licence disqualification periods. The consequences for drink driving, particularly driving under the influence of liquor, can impact people in a variety of ways. While many people may receive fines for drink driving, imprisonment, including actual imprisonment, may be imposed in more serious cases.

Drug driving charges

Drug driving charges, including the offence of driving under the influence of a drug (DUI), can have significant impacts on people and their families. The mandatory minimum licence disqualification periods can cause a significant burden.

Although some people who are charged with drug driving offences are eligible to apply for a work licence, those who are ineligible can face significant mandatory licence disqualification periods. The consequences for drug driving, particularly driving under the influence of a drug, can impact people in a variety of ways. While many people may receive fines for drug driving, imprisonment, including actual imprisonment, may be imposed in more serious cases.

Unlicensed driving charges

In Queensland, it is an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a road unless they hold a driver licence authorising them to drive the vehicle on the road. Imprisonment is a sentencing option for offences of this kind.

Although in some cases police may issue infringement notices for an offence of unlicensed driving, many offences require a person to appear in court. If a person drives unlicensed while disqualified by court order, the sentences that may be imposed, as well as the applicable disqualification periods, increase. Special sentencing considerations apply to people who are repeat offenders or commit the offence while disqualified.

2. Common issues with traffic offences

If you are facing a driving or traffic offence charge, getting informed about the options you may have to apply for a work licence or special hardship order can be crucial to avoiding unnecessary hardship on you or your family.

Below is a list of common issues that people confront when dealing with traffic charges in Queensland. While the information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about common issues relating to traffic offences, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about an issue that may be raised in a specific case, contact Anderson Legal.

Drink driving work licence applications

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence and need your licence for your employment or business, you may be eligible for a work licence. The restricted licence allows a person to drive for limited purposes while otherwise disqualified.

Under section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld), a court may grant a restricted work licence to a person convicted of a drink driving offence. There is a range of criteria that must be met to be eligible for a work licence. A magistrate must also be satisfied that the person applying for the work licence is a ‘fit and proper person’ and that without it being granted, their job or source of income will be lost and result in extreme hardship.

Drug driving work licence applications

If you have been charged with a drug driving offence and need your licence for your employment or business, you may be eligible for a work licence. The restricted licence allows a person to drive for limited purposes while otherwise disqualified.

Under section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld), a court may grant a restricted work licence to a person convicted of a drug driving offence. There is a range of criteria that must be met to be eligible for a work licence. A magistrate must also be satisfied that the person applying for the work licence is a ‘fit and proper person’ and that without it being granted, their job or source of income will be lost and result in extreme hardship.

Removing an absolute disqualification order

In Queensland, a person may apply to a court seeking an order for the removal of an absolute disqualification in relation to their driver licence after a period of two years from when the original disqualification order was made.

Under section 131(10) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld), a person is disqualified from driving for a period of more than two years, or is disqualified absolutely from driving, then they may apply after a period of two years to remove the disqualification. If the application is refused by a court, then the person is prohibited from applying again for a period of 12 months from the date of the refusal.

Special hardship licences

A special hardship licence allows a person to keep driving when they would otherwise be suspended because they either gained two or more demerit points while driving under a period of good behaviour or committed a high-speed driving offence.

To be eligible for a special hardship licence or special hardship order, it is necessary to satisfy the court that the suspension of your licence would cause extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living or would otherwise cause severe and unusual hardship to you or your family. If a court refuses to grant the application there is no avenue to appeal the decision.

3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of a traffic offence, there can be consequences beyond what occurs within the court system. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects of a charge or conviction for a traffic offence can come as a shock, particularly with respect to the mandatory periods of licence disqualification that can apply to offences.

Alcohol ignition interlocks

Alcohol ignition interlocks are breath test devices connected to the ignition system of a vehicle. The purpose of an alcohol ignition interlock is to prevent a vehicle from starting if the breath alcohol content of the driver exceeds zero.

People convicted of certain driving offences involving alcohol are then subject to the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program in Queensland. If a person does not participate in the Program, they are not permitted to drive for the relevant period. Completion of the Program takes at least 12 months and during that period the alcohol ignition interlock must be fitted to the nominated vehicle of the licence holder.

Adverse publicity

For many people accused of a criminal offence, inaccurate or sensationalist reporting of the allegations is deeply troubling. Steps can be taken to mitigate the prejudice that can arise from adverse publicity to ensure a fair hearing.

While many journalists seek to adhere to high standards when reporting on criminal allegations, it can be important for anybody accused or convicted of a criminal offence to understand their legal options if their case is unfairly or improperly jeopardised by adverse publicity. Adverse media publicity can prejudice the fairness of a criminal trial, so it is important that people facing criminal allegations understand their rights when dealing with adverse publicity.

Character, safety & security clearances

There are many occupations, jobs or roles that require character, safety and security clearances. A criminal history, and, in some instances, mere criminal allegations, can adversely affect assessments for character, safety and security clearances.

In Queensland, certain occupations are regulated by professional or trade bodies that can take disciplinary action following a criminal allegation or conviction arising. It is important to understand how a criminal law issue may affect other areas of life, such as employment prospects, recreational activities, insurance claims and other issues. This firm provides advice to its clients about the possible steps that can be taken to mitigate issues of this kind.

Character tests – citizenship / visa issues

The Australian Citizenship Act (Cth) and Migration Act (Cth) both contain character tests that can affect the eligibility for a person to become or remain a citizen or visa holder in Australia. Having a criminal history can be a decisive factor.

For citizens of another country who seek citizenship in Australia, a good character test can apply to the assessment of a citizenship application. Outstanding or finalised criminal charges (and even allegations falling short of criminal charges) can impact the assessment of the ‘good character’ test. The Migration Act (Cth) sets out the way a criminal history can lead to the refusal or cancellation of visas.

Employment issues

Many people do not realise that employers can take action – such as suspension or dismissal – against an employee accused of an offence. In some cases, such disciplinary action may be taken even if the conduct occurred outside of work.

Being accused of a traffic offence of itself is confronting enough for most people, however losing your career and livelihood even before the offence is proved can create additional burdens. Anderson Legal has the expertise to guide its clients through the employment law issues that can arise from driving and traffic offences, including what steps may be taken to ensure employment is not unnecessarily ended by an employer.

Mandatory licence disqualifications

In Queensland, mandatory minimum licence disqualifications apply to a range of driving and traffic offences. While some offences allow for a person to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence, it is not true of all offences.

The main offences that carry mandatory periods of licence disqualifications are drink driving offences, drug driving offences, dangerous driving as well as unlicensed driving while disqualified. For most offences, licence disqualifications automatically compound on each other, meaning people can quickly be disqualified for a number of years if more than one traffic offence is committed in a short period of time.

Recording of convictions

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a discretion to not record a conviction, despite the person being found guilty or having pleaded guilty to an offence. The recording of a conviction can have significant consequences.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a general discretion to record or not record a conviction. Courts are required to take account of all relevant circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s character and age, as well as the impact the recording of a conviction will have on them. For some sentences, such as those involving imprisonment or a breach of court orders, a court may be required to record a conviction.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about a traffic offence in Queensland?

If you are facing allegations involving driving or traffic offences in Queensland, obtaining early and authoritative advice is essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully preparing and conducting trials, sentences and appeals before all courts in Queensland.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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