Queensland Legal Assistance for Traffic Offenses
When you are behind the wheel of a car (or any other type of motor vehicle), there are laws in place to ensure that you are driving safely and abiding by the rules of the road. It is an offense against the traffic laws if you choose to disobey them, so be careful.
To be charged with a traffic offense can result in very serious consequences due to the complexities of this area of the law. There is a wide range of possible consequences for breaking the law, including being ordered to serve probation, paying a fine, or even going to jail. This is something that is dependant on the nature of the offense, the circumstances, and your driving record.
You should seek the counsel of an attorney if you have been accused of committing a traffic violation.
The following are some examples of common violations of traffic laws:
- driving without a license, including driving while disqualified from doing so
- drink and drug driving1
- exceeding the permitted speed limit, also known as speeding.
- breaking a red light traffic rule
- driving without taking proper precautions (also known as careless driving)
- The act of driving recklessly, also known as "dangerous operation of a motor vehicle,"
To be charged with a traffic offense can result in very serious consequences due to the complexities of this area of the law. The punishments for breaking the law can range from getting a fine and demerit points to being sentenced to probation or even jail time. This is something that is dependant on the nature of the offense, the circumstances, and your driving record.
You should seek the counsel of an attorney if you have been accused of committing a traffic violation.
Notices of potential infringements
You may be required to pay a fine on the spot or you may receive a fine in the mail for certain traffic offenses; either way, this is considered an infringement notice. This will explain it to you:
- Which law(s) have been broken, if any?
- how much money you'll be required to pay.
- where or how to make the payment
- the date by which the penalty must be paid.
In the event that you are late with your payments, the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) has the ability to:
- suspend your driver licence
- Give instructions to your bank to move money out of your account and into theirs.
- request from your employer that they deduct a specific amount from your pay on a monthly basis.
- submit an expression of interest in your property.
- immobilize your vehicle
- confiscate and put your property up for sale.
- a warrant has been issued for your arrest, and you will be held accountable.
In addition to the initial fine, SPER may also assess an enforcement fee against your account.
You are able to work out a payment plan with SPER to assist you in paying off the fine if you are unable to pay it by the deadline because of financial constraints.
You should consult an attorney if you are worried about the enforcement action that SPER is taking against you if you are concerned about the action.
Expressing disagreement with a notice of alleged infraction
You have the right to contest an infringement notice in court if you feel that it violates your rights.
In order to contest an infringement notice in court, you are required to fill out and submit the following forms:
The Department of Transport and Main Roads should receive the completed form that is to be sent in. Once the form has been sent in, you will receive either a complaint and summons or a Notice to appear in the mail, along with the date on which you are scheduled to appear in court.
If you choose to go to court to dispute an infringement notice and you are found guilty of the offense, in addition to any fine, the cost of the summons, and any witness expenses (if any), the offender levy will be added to the total amount that you are responsible for paying.
If you are considering contesting an infringement notice, you should first consult an attorney before deciding to take your case to court.
It is possible that you will lose the right to have the matter heard in court if you do not choose to go to court by the due date listed on the infringement notice.
The assignment of a penalty
An infringement notice will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle for any violations of traffic law that are detected by cameras.
In the event that you are served with a notice of infringement in your capacity as the registered owner of the vehicle, but you were not operating the vehicle during the relevant time period, you are required to complete a statutory declaration.
In the statutory declaration, you are required to state the name and address of the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offense if you are aware of that person and you know who was driving the vehicle.
In the statutory declaration, you are required to do the following if you do not know who was driving the vehicle:
- You should state that you were unaware of who was operating the vehicle.
- Investigate the matter thoroughly to determine who was behind the wheel of the vehicle, and detail the findings of your investigation.
- Identify the driver and describe the process that was followed while demonstrating that you had a system in place to do so.
You are strongly encouraged to consult an attorney before filling out a statutory declaration.
You are required to follow the instructions that are listed on the infringement notice in order to obtain information regarding where to return the statutory declaration and by what date.
When it comes to transferring a fine or making the decision to have the matter heard in court, there are very specific time limits. You should check the infringement notice for the specifics, and if you are still unsure, you should seek legal counsel.
Contesting a ticket for excessive speed
If you have been charged with an offense related to speeding and you want to challenge the accuracy of the speed detection device or speedometer or the way it was used, you should seek legal advice before continuing with the case.
This is a complicated area of the law, and there are specific guidelines that must be adhered to in order to contest a speeding fine. If your challenge is unsuccessful, you may be responsible for additional costs.
In Queensland, you will receive demerit points if you are found guilty of a traffic offense. may be recorded on your vehicle's history of collisions. This is a record of any violations of the rules of the road, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving recklessly, or driving a vehicle without proper registration that you have been found guilty of.
If you amass an excessive number of demerit points, your driver's license could be suspended. You will, in most cases (unless you are a learner, in which case you won't), get a letter from the Department of Transport and Main Roads giving you the option of:
- having your driver's license revoked for a period of time, possibly even several months, or
- going on a good behavior license for a year (during which time, if you accumulate two or more demerit points, your license will be suspended), and having that license suspended if you get any more demerit points than that.
Your driver's license will be immediately revoked for a period of six months if you are found guilty of a "high speed offence," which includes exceeding the posted speed limit by 40 kilometers or more. You will not be eligible for a good behavior license during this time. This is applicable to all different categories of licenses.
If you have had your license suspended but you still need to drive for work or another reason, there are some situations in which you might be able to get it reinstated. Make a request for a hardship special order. Consult an attorney if you feel that any of these things apply to you.
You are able to find a list of traffic offenses that will result in demerit points by consulting the demerit points schedule.
You are able to view your points of demerit online.
Making a request for a special order of hardship
Even if you have had your regular driver's license suspended, a special hardship order may allow you to get permission to drive under certain circumstances.
You are eligible to submit a request for a special hardship order if your driving privileges have been suspended due to the following reasons:
- You have been accused of committing a high speed offense for driving more than 40 kilometers over the permitted speed limit.
- While you were behind the wheel during a period of 12 months considered to be one of good behavior, your driving record shows that you accumulated at least 2 demerit points.
- You have been charged with driving more than 40 kilometers over the speed limit, and you have had two or more demerit points recorded on your traffic history while you were driving during a period of 12 months in which you were required to maintain good behavior (dual suspension).
To be eligible for a special hardship order, the following must be true:
- You need to have had a valid driver's license in either the provisional or open category in the state of Queensland at the time that your license was suspended.
- Your driver's license, also known as your authority to operate a motor vehicle in Queensland, must not have been revoked or suspended in the preceding five years, with a few exceptions.
- You must not have ever been banned from holding or possessing a driver's license in the state of Queensland.
- You are required to be able to demonstrate to the court that:
- You are what people would call a "fit and proper person," and
- If you don't get a special hardship order, either you or your family will go through severe and unusual hardship because you won't be able to work (that is, earn a living), or you will go through severe and unusual hardship for another reason. Either way, you or your family will go through extreme hardship.
After your license has been suspended, you are required to make an application to the Magistrates Court in the district or division in which you live (you are allowed to make an application on the day your license is suspended, but not before that day). Make sure to get in touch with the court so that they can tell you which court division or district you belong to.
If you are currently facing a charge of driving without a license (while your demerit point suspension or high speed suspension is active), there is a possibility that applying for a special hardship order will not be of any use to you.
Before submitting an application for a special hardship order, you should seek legal counsel.
Do I need legal advice
If any of the following apply to you, you should probably seek legal counsel:
- have been accused of committing a traffic violation
- if you disagree with an infringement notice and wish to elect court, you may do so here.
- received a fine but weren't driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction, and you want to transfer the fine to another driver who was driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction.
- do you wish to contest a fine for speeding?
- are submitting an application for a hardship order due to the fact that your license has been suspended
Where to find professional legal counsel
We may provide legal advice regarding violations of traffic laws. Get in touch with us to find out if we can assist you with the problem you're having.
It's possible that the following services can also provide you with legal advice.
It's possible that community legal centers offer legal advice on drunk driving cases; get in touch with them to find out if they can assist you.
If you need legal counsel or representation, the Queensland Law Society can put you in touch with a specialized private attorney.
Who else can be of assistance?
Additionally, these organizations might be able to provide assistance. They do not offer advice in legal matters.
The State Penalties Enforcement Registry, also known as SPER, is in charge of the collection and enforcement of unpaid infringement notice fines, court-ordered monetary fines, and Offender Recovery orders that have been issued in the state of Queensland. You have the option of coming to an agreement with SPER to pay a predetermined sum either weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
The Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (QTOP) is an educational court diversion program for first and second time offenders who want to plead guilty to a traffic offence, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, unsafe driving, driving while disqualified, driving with a suspended license, or appealing license disqualifications (fees apply for this service). QTOP is designed to help offenders learn from their mistakes and avoid further legal trouble.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads handles inquiries and complaints regarding matters such as driver's licenses, vehicle registration, traffic fines, and other related topics.
The most recent update was on November 10, 2022.
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