Drink Driving - DUI, Traffic and Licences
Aitken Wilson Lawyers are your Brisbane and Gold Coast solicitors for drink driving charges (dui), loss of licence and other traffic offences.
DRINK DRIVING (DUI) OFFENCES
There are harsh penalties for drink driving, depending largely on the result of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Due to public demand, legislation and the Courts, tough approaches are now taken on all drink driving matters. Generally, the higher your BAC, the higher the penalties and longer the suspensions. We will advise you whether there are any merits in defending your case, whether the blood alcohol concentration reading was accurate and whether time limits were observed. Penalties for drink driving will generally involve licence disqualification and a fine, but repeat offenders also face the prospects of imprisonment.
If convicted of a minor offence, being a reading of under 0.15%, penalties will include disqualification periods from 1 to 9 months, depending on the type of licence you hold together with a fine from around $200 up to around $2,000. Major offences which generally relate to readings of over 0.15% or failing to provide a breath or blood specimen will attract penalties from around $1,000 up to $3,000 and a licence disqualification of a minimum of 6 months. If there are previous convictions, the Court will have regard to these in imposing heavier penalties and longer periods of disqualification. If there are 3 major drink driving offences in a 5 year period, an automatic jail sentence will apply.
'work licence - drink driving'
Depending on your circumstances, Aitken Wilson Lawyers can help you obtain a work licence as long as you meet the relevant criteria. The application must be made at the time the conviction is recorded and before the court makes an order disqualifying you from holding a driver's licence.
The conditions which must generally be met are that:
- you hold a current Queensland open driver's licence;
- you have had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15%;
- you were not driving under a work licence at the time;
- you were not driving under a licence that required a nil alcohol reading;
- you have not been convicted anywhere of drink driving or dangerous driving or had a licence suspended or cancelled in the last 5 years (some exceptions);
- you can show that failure to obtain a work licence will result in extreme financial hardship such as losing your job.
OTHER TRAFFIC OFFENCES
Special Hardship Orders
'loss of licence – demerit point allocation and high speed offences'
In Queensland , if the holder of a driver’s licence accumulates enough demerit points, the right to hold a licence may be suspended. The amount of points depends on the type of licence that is held. Queensland Transport will write to the licence holder and let them know if the circumstances arise and give the driver the option of either a suspension for 6 months or enter a Good Driver Behaviour period for 1 year and on which the driver is allocated 1 demerit point. If the driver collects more than 1 demerit point in that year, the licence is automatically suspended.
Queensland Transport will write to a licence holder if caught for a high speed offence; exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 kilometres per hour. This will include an 8 point demerit allocation, but even if that does not take the driver over their allocated points, there is an automatic suspension of the licence for a period of 6 months.
If either of these events happen, you have the right to apply to the Court against the suspension for a Special Hardship Order as long as you are able to show that the loss of the licence will cause you or your family extreme financial hardship by depriving you of the means of earning your living (you can’t do your job without it, can’t get to work and will lose your job) or alternatively, that it would cause severe and unusual hardship to you or your family other than by depriving you of your means of earning a living (eg., taking your sick child to hospital). It is also necessary to prove to the Court that you are an appropriate person to hold a licence, considering your traffic history.
Aitken Wilson Lawyers can advise you if you are an appropriate candidate for successfully appealing the loss of your licence, put together all relevant documents and proofs necessary and appear for you in Court at the hearing. Note that there are strict time limits on when, and procedures on how you can lodge your appeal, so you should get advice as soon as you receive any relevant notices.
Due to changes in the legislation in 2007 any licence you may receive from the Court will have limitations on your ability to drive. Such limitations generally will include matters such as only being able to drive to and from work or for work purposes. It may also state the days and times on which you can drive.
'disqualified driving and unlicenced driving'
Unless you have a valid driving licence, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road. If caught driving unlicensed, generally the Court will impose a disqualification of holding a driver’s licence for a period of 6 months, a fine of up to $4,000 or 1 year’s imprisonment.
It is a far more serious matter than unlicenced driving if you have already been disqualified by a Court from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence and are caught driving. This offence involves in part contempt for the prior court order or orders. The maximum penalty includes a fine of up to $6,000 or 18 months imprisonment.
If you have received an absolute disqualification from driving or disqualified for longer than 2 years, you are eligible to apply to have the disqualification removed after two years to obtain a drivers’ licence. The Court will consider the character of the person, the person’s conduct since the disqualification and the nature of the offence and any other circumstances surrounding the disqualification.
There has also been an increased focus in recent times on road safety more generally. There are now severe penalties for dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention (careless driving) and high speed offences. These include fines, licence suspension and in some cases even jail. Of course, the penalty is likely to be more serious if death or injury is caused.
Aitken Wilson Lawyers offer quality legal advice on all aspects of drink driving & traffic offences.