Dui, Drink Driving, Traffic & Licenses

Dui, Drink Driving, Traffic & Licenses



Drink driving – DUI, traffic offences and licences – Brisbane, Qld

Aitken Whyte Lawyers in Brisbane are a leading firm providing expertise and results for all drink driving – DUI, drug driving, traffic offence matters and licensing issues.

DUI, Drink Driving and Drug Driving

There is a nil tolerance attitude to those found drink driving on Queensland roads or with drugs in their system (driving with a relevant drug or driving under the influence of a drug) while driving. When a person is found to be ‘over the limit’, then they will be ordered to appear in a Magistrates’ Court in the jurisdiction where the offence occurred and then dealt with by the Court. The Court has no discretion not to disqualify a person from holding a licence if convicted of drink driving or drug driving – the issue is how long will the disqualification be and what other punishment will go with this.  Generally for first time convictions, a fine is appropriate and the amount of the fine and the length of the disqualification will depend to a large extent on the blood alcohol reading.

For second and further offences, the punishment will increase as will the disqualification to the point that the legislation provides that any person who is convicted 3 times in 5 years with readings above 0.15, must receive as part of their punishment a period of time in jail.

For first offences of open licence holders, disqualification periods start from 1 month and go up to 12 months. A reading of just above the limit generally can expect the minimum disqualification period but escalate upwards from there.  There are different minimums for other types of licence such as 3 months minimum for a provisional licence holder. For a first offence with a reading of over 0.15, driving under the influence of a drug or failing to provide a specimen, a 6 month disqualification period is the minimum that can be imposed but it is rare that this minimum is imposed and most convicted of a high reading or under the influence of a drug can expect a much lengthier period without a licence and significant fines.

Work licences

If found drink driving or driving with a relevant drug but you need your licence for work purposes, then Aitken Whyte Lawyers can assist you in making an application to the Court for such a licence. There are a few prerequisites that must be met before being able to make such an application. They include:

  1. The driver holds a current Queensland drivers’ licence both at the time of the offence and the time when the application is made to the Court;
  2. The blood alcohol reading was below 0.15 or with a relevant drug in the driver’s system;
  3. The driver has not had their licence suspended or disqualified in the 5 years before the application is made (there are some exceptions in relation to SPER suspensions and Special Hardship Orders);
  4. The driver was not the holder of a work licence at the time or driving for work related purposes; and
  5. The driver was not required to have a nil alcohol reading.

If those conditions are all met, then the Court needs to decide whether the driver will suffer an extreme hardship through the loss of the licence by depriving the applicant of the means of earning a livelihood and that the driver is a fit and proper person to hold a licence having regard to their traffic history and other road users. If the Court is satisfied, then the driver will be convicted of the offence and disqualified from driving, but will have the right to drive to work or drive for work purposes. A copy of the order issued by the Court needs to be taken to Queensland Transport and a restricted driver licence issued before the driver is entitled to drive on the licence. Similarly, when the disqualification period ends, the restricted licence needs to be changed back by Queensland Transport before a driver can drive without the restrictions.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers can assist in preparing the relevant documents for the Court and appearing in Court to apply for such a licence having considerable experience and a very high success rate.


Licence suspension due to accumulation of demerit points and high speed offences

In Queensland, if the holder of a drivers’ licence accumulates too many demerit points or is convicted of a high speed offence (above 40 km/hour over the relevant speed limit) then their right to hold a licence will be suspended. After accumulating 12 or more demerit points on a licence, a driver is given the option of either having their licence suspended for 6 months or entering a Good Driver Behaviour period for a period of 12 months. The driver is allocated 1 point and if they accumulate more than 1 point during that period, the licence will be automatically suspended. A high speed offence also leads to an automatic suspension even if there are still points left on the licence.

The result of not holding a licence can be disastrous financially. In those circumstances, as long as certain conditions are met, a driver has the right to apply to the Court for a Special Hardship Order. Those conditions include:

  1. The driver held a valid Queensland licence before the suspension took effect;
  2. The driver can’t have had their licence disqualified, suspended or cancelled in the 5 years before the suspension;
  3. The driver has not been convicted of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle in the last 5 years.

If those conditions are met, then an application can be made and the Court will grant a licence if it can be satisfied that:

  1. The applicant is a fit and proper person to continue to drive having regard to their traffic history and the safety of others and the public; and
  2. A refusal would either:
    1. Cause extreme hardship in that the applicant would lose their ability to earn a living; or
    2. Cause severe and unusual hardship to the applicant or the applicant’s family for reasons not related to earning a livelihood.

Examples of the second category could potentially include taking children to school or attending to a sick family member.  Each individual applicant’s position would need to be considered before proceeding with such an application.

Queensland Transport will write to a licence holder advising them if their licence is to be suspended. They will give a particular date from which the driver is not allowed to drive. Generally an application can then be lodged within a 21 day period and once the application is filed in Court and a copy served on Queensland Transport, the licence holder can drive again until the day before the application is heard.

Seeing there is limited time within which to make the application, and affidavits need to be prepared and filed with the application, you should contact Aitken Whyte Lawyers as soon as you receive the letter from Queensland Transport.


If a driver has been disqualified from holding a Queensland Driver’s licence for a period in excess of 2 years or absolutely, they are entitled to apply to the Court to have the disqualification removed after a 2 year period. Only one application is allowed in any year and the Court would need to consider the person’s reasons for wanting the licence back, how not having a licence is impeding the person financially or otherwise, the character of the person, the person’s conduct since the disqualification and the nature of the original offence and any other circumstances surrounding the disqualification.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers can assist in making such application including advising you on your prospects and the timing of making such an application, preparing the relevant evidence for Court and appearing for you at the hearing.


Unless you have a valid driving licence, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a Queensland 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 $3,000 or 1 year’s imprisonment.

If a driver is caught driving at a time when the Court has disqualified the person from driving, then this is considered and dealt with by the Courts in a far more serious light. That is because the offence shows contempt for the Court’s prior orders and a preparedness in the eye of the driver to disobey an order. The maximum penalty includes a fine of up to $4,500 or 18 months imprisonment. Terms of imprisonment for repeat offenders are not unusual. A first offender will expect to receive the minimum disqualification period of 2 years plus a fine. Punishments increase for repeat offenders.

Other traffic matters

There are many other reasons why a person needs to go to Court in relation to driving or licence issues such as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and careless driving. Aitken Whyte Lawyers can help with all your needs.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers in Brisbane, offer quality legal advice on all aspects of drink driving – DUI & traffic offences.

Office Location and Contact Details


Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane
2/414 Upper Roma Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Ph: 07 3229 4459
Fax: +617 3211 9311
E: enquiries@awbrisbanelawyers.com.au