State Wide Review of Restricted (Work) Licences

drink drivingRestricted licences, are commonly referred to as work licences.  They permit a convicted drink driver to drive for work purposes.  The licence holder is subjected to a series of conditions regulating the type of vehicle they might drive, the hours they can drive and whether they might carry passengers.

The current drink driving discussion paper is looking at either abolishing work licences or tightening the criteria.

Current restricted (work) licence eligibility.

Under the current provisions a drink driver is eligible for a restricted (work) licence if they can demonstrate:

  1. They are a first time drink driver (nothing in the last 5 years);
  2. Commit an offence with a BAC of less than 0.015%;
  3. Not have committed the offence in the course of their employment;
  4. Hold an open Queensland Driver Licence;
  5. Not have had a driver licence suspension, cancellation or disqualification in the past 5 years.

An applicant would also need to demonstrate that they require the licence for the work.  The Court needs to be satisfied that if the person was not granted a restricted licence they would lose their employment.

In 2015, there were 2,377 restricted licences granted, which accounts for a little over 10% of drink driving offences.

Other Jurisdictions

Queensland is one of four jurisdictions that has a power to grant work licences.  Work licences are not available in:

  1. Victoria
  2. New South Wales;
  3. South Australia; or
  4. the Northern Territory.

ACT

Work licences are available for an offender with a BAC of  less than 0.010%. Unlike Queensland the Court may grant an ACT motorist a restricted licence where they have responsibilities to assist someone with a medical necessity.  Queenslanders have no such eligibility.

Western Australia

Extraordinary licences are available for all offences, regardless of the BAC.  An extraordinary licence is also available where the applicant has responsibilities to assist or care for someone with medical necessities.

Tasmania

Work licence eligibility is similar to Queensland with 0.15% the cut off.  Tasmania is slightly more stringent, an offender can not have committed an offence within the last 3 years compared to 5 years for Qld drivers.

Abolishing Restricted (Work) Licences

The first of the proposals is to abolish allotter the right to apply for a restricted work licence.  With first time disqualification periods of between 1 and 12 months, the impact upon first time offenders will be significant.  In 2015 the Courts granted a total of 2,377 restricted (work) licences.  The court was satisfied in each of those matters that without the application being granted they would loose their employment.  This represents a significant loss of employment if the discretion was taken away.

Those in favour of the abolition, point to the unfortunate statistic that 15 – 20% of restricted (work) licence holders re-offend within five years.

Exclude Mid Range Offenders

The second proposal is that mid range offenders be excluded from applying for a restricted (work) licence.  This would mean that any driver over 0.010% would not be eligible for the licence.

Any change to the current regime will impact upon the employment of many Queenslanders. Those in Regional  Queensland are not well serviced by public transport and will be further marginalised if they are unable to work.  The loss of licence has a broad impact upon a full participation in society, with the  impact often felt by the offenders family.

Clearly the rights of the offender and their family have to be balanced against the appalling road toll.

Feedback

The Queensland Government is seeking feedback from interested Queenslanders.  The survey can be accessed here.  The survey closes at midnight on 7 March 2017.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

It’s just a drink driving offence, I can’t go to jail. Can I?

Close up of beer glass with frothMost motorists pleading guilty to their first drink driving charge will receive a fine and a loss of their licence.  It is however open for the Magistrate to impose an actual period of imprisonment, especially where it is a repeat drink driving charge.

For some drink driving offences, the law says that the court must impose, as the whole or part of the punishment, imprisonment.

Sentence

When you enter a plea of guilty to a traffic matter the Magistrate must decide, not only the length of your disqualification, but also whether you will be fined, given a community based order or sentenced to a period of imprisonment.

The Court will look at various factors including:

  1. your reading at the time of the offence;
  2. the circumstances surrounding the offence; and
  3. your criminal and traffic history.

First time drink driving penalties

For a first time drink driver the maximum penalties are:

BACLicence DisqualificationMaximum fineMaximum Imprisonment
0.0%3 to 9 months$1,7063 Months
0.05 and over, under 0.101 to 9 months$1,7063 Months
0.10 and over, under 0.153 to 12 months$2,4386 Months
0.15 and over, Minimum of 6 months$3,4139 Months

Read more about BAC limits in our previous blog post.

Repeat Drink Driving Charge

Imprisonment becomes an option where the court is sentencing you for a repeat drink driving charge.  Repeat drink drivers face higher penalties than first time drink drivers.  In addition to the power to impose a period of imprisonment the court can also:

  1. Have your car impounded (if you refuse to provide a specimen of breath or blow over 0.15%;  Read more about impoundment powers here.
  2. Disqualify your licence for up to two years;

What is a Repeat Drink Driver?

A repeat drink driver is a person who has been sentenced for an offence outlined above within the last 5 years.  The Court will look at the totality of your traffic history in deciding which penalty to apply, however the legislation defines a repeat drink driver as a person convicted within the last five years.

What should I do if I am a repeat drink driver?

If you are intending to enter a plea of guilty to a repeat drink driving offence you should consider your reading, the circumstances of the offence and your traffic history.  If you are concerned that you might be facing a period of imprisonment you should contact a traffic lawyer for advice.

A program such as the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program will assist you to demonstrate rehabilitation.

More Drink Driving Articles

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Blood Alcohol Concentration limits in Queensland

Drink Driving OffenceQueensland police have the power to intercept motorists for “random breath tests”.  They are looking to determine the quantity of alcohol in your breath or blood.  The reading is expressed as a percentage of your alcohol in your blood.  That is a BAC of 0.05 means that for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body you have 50 milligrams of alcohol.

BAC Limits

In Queensland there are four alcohol limits.  The limits are used to determine the action police can take if you are caught drink driving.  From immediate suspension or cancellation of your licence to forfeiture of your car, the BAC reading plays an important role in the drink driving process.  The duration of any disqualification is also determined by your BAC.

The limits that apply in Queensland are:

  1. No alcohol limit – you will exceed this limit of your BAC is greater than 0.0%
  2. General alcohol limit – you will exceed this limit if your BAC is equal to or greater than 0.05%
  3. Middle alcohol limit – you will exceed this limit if your BAC is equal to or greater than 0.10%
  4. High alcohol limit – you will exceed this limit if your BAC is equal to or greater than 0.15%

Legal BAC limits

All open licence holders except motor cyclists in their first twelve months and those in the no alcohol range may lawfully drive on Queensland roads with a BAC under the general alcohol limit.

No alcohol

All learner drivers, P1, P2 provisional, probationary or restricted licence holders are prohibited from having any alcohol regardless of their age.

This class of driver includes:

  • Public transport drivers such as bus, limo, or taxi drivers etc;
  • Truck drivers exceeding 4.5t, an articulated motor vehicle etc;
  • Tow truck drivers, pilot or drivers escorting an oversized vehicle;
  • Driver trainers while giving driver training;
  • A specially constructed vehicle, including a tractor; or
  • emergency service personnel while they are engaged in their employment.

Also included in the no alcohol class are all RE motorcycle licence holders during the first 12 months of their class of licence.

Factors affecting your BAC

There are a number of factors that impact upon your ability to absorb and expel alcohol from your system.  You should note that as soon as you consume alcohol your BAC will start to rise.  The level is unlikely to peak for up to an hour after you have stopped drinking and will remain in your system for some time.  Factors that affect the BAC include:

  • The quantity of alcohol consumed;
  • The period the alcohol is consumed over;
  • Your body weight
  • When you last ate;
  • Your fitness level;
  • The health of your liver;
  • How regularly you drink;
  • Your mood;
  • Your sex; and
  • The type of alcohol consumed.

The list is not exhaustive and there are many factors that impact upon your BAC. The safest approach is not to drink at all if you intend to drive. There are many people who are charged with drink driving because they have miscalculated one or more of the factors.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Traffic Lawyers Guide To Work License Applications

Disqualification

Traffic LawIf you have been charged with a Drink Driving offence you must receive a disqualification. This is in addition to any other sentence that the Court may impose.  In some circumstances, you can obtain a Work Licence for the period of the disqualification.

The length of the disqualification depends on a number of factors including:

  • your reading,
  • the circumstances of your driving; and
  • any previous traffic history.

A first offender with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .072%, might expect a disqualification of 3 to 4 months.  If they relied upon a licence to maintain employment, they could apply for a Restricted Work Licence (sometimes described as a ‘Work Licence’ or ‘Day Licence’). During the disqualification, they could then drive a vehicle for work purposes.

Purpose of Work Licence

A work licence is issued to enable a person to earn a living.  You cannot attend to domestic or personal duties with a work licence.

For example, a plumber could travel from home to the depot and between various job sites.  They could also go to the hardware store to collect supplies. They would be in breach of the Order if they stopped off to collect groceries or drop children to school.

Work Licence Eligibility

You are not eligible for a work licence unless you can demonstrate that you meet the requirements namely that you:

  • hold a current open Queensland Driver Licence
  • had a BAC of less than 0.15%
  • did not commit the offence in the course of your employment.
  • are over 25 years of age.
  • were not driving under a licence that required your BAC to be zero.

Additionally, you must not, in the last 5 years have:

  • Had a licence suspended or cancelled (other than SPER);
  • Been convicted of another Drink Driving offence; or
  • Been convicted of Dangerous Driving.

Procedure

You must complete an Application for a Restricted Work Licence.  Forms are available from Queensland Transport the Magistrates Court Registry.

You will need to complete an Affidavit. This should  set out:

  1. why you will suffer extreme financial hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a livelihood.
  2. that you are a fit and proper person to hold a driver licence.

If you are employed, your employer must submit an Affidavit.  A letter from your boss is not sufficient.

It is wise to have an experienced Traffic Lawyer review or draft this material, particularly if your traffic history is questionable or your BAC reading is high.

You need to advise the Court that you are applying for a work licence before you enter your plea of guilty.

The Magistrate or the Prosecutor may require both you and your employer to give evidence.  Accordingly, you should have your employed attend Court with you.

A Lawyer with experience appearing in the traffic callover can assist you to advocate for a work licence.  They will make persuasive submissions, relevant to your situation.  Lawyers assist the Magistrate to reduce the disqualification period and penalty. They highlight the merits of your case, having regard to legislation, precedents and other sentencing principles.

Conditions

Often the Court will impose conditions on the Order. Common conditions include:

  • That you must wear a uniform;
  • That you do not carry any passengers;
  • That you must carry a log book and complete the anticipate destination before departing; or
  • That you carry a copy of the Order with you at all times.

Warning

You should note that if you are successful in obtaining a Work Licence you will not be able to drive until you have attended upon Queensland Transport and obtained a valid licence.  It would be an offence to drive from the Court House to the Transport Department.  You should organise a friend to drive you to the Department of Transport.

If you fail to comply with the conditions of your work licence, you may be prosecuted by the police.  You will lose the work licence, and subject to further penalties.

The legislation permits the Court to impose double the disqualification period where a work licence application is granted.  This does not routinely occur.

Will a Lawyer help me?

Engaging a lawyer has many benefits including:

  • Timely advice regarding possible defences, eligibility for work licences and processes to mitigate any disqualification or penalty.
  • An advocate with complete knowledge of the relevant laws, precedents, court room procedure and sentencing principles who can speak on your behalf.  You may even be able to avoid having to attend procedural mentions and adjournments.
  • An experienced negotiator, who can proactively resolve factual disputes or
  • An experienced court room advocate who can persuade the Court to adopt a more favourable penalty.

Further reading

The legislation governing work licence applications is the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act.

For details on how to obtain your traffic history Department of Transport

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice, you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

When do I have to provide police with a traffic crash report?

traffic lawsCurrent Law.

The Driver of a motor vehicle is required to furnish a traffic crash report to police as soon as possible to the nearest police station.

Section 92 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 and section 287 of the Queensland Road Rules require drivers involved in crashes and other incidents that result in more than $2 500 damage to report those incidents to police.

Drivers must also report to police if a person is injured or killed in the crash or a motor vehicle involved in the crash needs to be towed from the scene.

Maximum penalty –

  1.  if death or injury is caused to any person – 20 penalty units or imprisonment for one year; or
  2. otherwise – 10 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

Rationale for Change.

The $2 500 threshold has been in place for many years without being increased and no longer reflects a requirement to only report more serious crashes to police. This amount does not reflect the fact that a majority of crashes now involve damage exceeding $2 500 because modern vehicles are designed to crumple to preserve passenger safety.

Proposed Law

The Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 amends section 92 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 to remove the requirement to report crashes to police where property damage exceeds an amount fixed by regulation (currently $2 500).

Subsequently, the same requirement will be removed from the Queensland Road Rules.

Proposed Reporting Requirements

There will be a requirement to report crashes to police where:

  1. a person is injured or killed; or
  2. if any vehicle needs to be towed from the scene.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Disqualified Driving Sentence

Gatenby Criminal Lawyers LogoMollie Roper obtained an exceptional result for this mornings disqualified driving sentence.  Our client was charged with one count of disqualified driving and another count of disqualified driving whilst intoxicated.  The second offence was committed in the same week and while on bail for the original offence.

Our client was originally disqualified from driving for a high range drink drive charge.

Generally, for offending of this type a community based order and/or a period of imprisonment would be imposed.

After hearing extensive submissions made by Ms Roper the Magistrate sentenced the client to:

  1. A fine; and
  2. The minimum mandatory periods of disqualification.

While the mandatory disqualification period was still lengthy, the client  stayed out of jail and is able to maintain his employment and family commitments.

Sentencing Ranges

Disqualified driving is a serious offence and attracts a maximum penalty of up to $6,600.00 or imprisonment for up to 18 months.  As part of any disqualified driving sentence the Court must disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driver licence for a period of between two (2) and five (5) years.

As has been discussed earlier in our site, Queensland Magistrates are routinely imposing sentences of imprisonment for repeat disqualified driving offences and in circumstances where there is a circumstance of aggravation, such as drink or drug driving the prospects of imprisonment are increased.

Gatenby Criminal Lawyers provides an initial half hour appointment at no cost and we can provide you with specific advice about your disqualified driving sentence.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

 

Traffic Law – Can I Refuse a RBT?

Uncertainty about your BAC could see you loose your licence.

Uncertainty about your BAC could see you loose your licence.

A number of clients often ask our traffic lawyers whether they have to provide a specimen of breath.   Some people believe that the police must, upon request, obtain a blood test, others are indignant that they have been asked to supply at all.

The simple answer is that if you do not provide a sample of breath for testing as requested, you can be charged with failing to provide a sample of breath.

This offence is treated in the same way as if you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or above which results in a six month licence disqualification as a minimum. You can be convicted of this offence even if you had not consumed any alcohol before driving.

 
As with all matters that proceed to court, there are always exceptions to the general rule.  It may be that you are able to demonstrate that you were medically unable to provide a specimen of breath or that the requirement was made outside the prescribed time.  For this reason, if you have been charged with an offence of failing to supply you should contact our traffic law experts, who will be able to advise you of any defences that you may have.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Drink Driving – What Alcohol Limit Applies?

Uncertainty about your BAC could see you loose your licence.

Uncertainty about your BAC could see you loose your licence.

Gold Coast Traffic Lawyers

As Gold Coast traffic lawyers who present at QTOP*, we often ask attendees what the various alcohol limits are that apply in Queensland.  There is often as much confusion about the limit as to the amount you need to consume to reach 0.05%.  Many people are surprised to learn that even though they are holders of an open drivers licence, due to the nature of their driving they are required to have a zero BAC.

Queensland Alcohol Limits

In Queensland the alcohol liming that applies depends on the class of licence that you hold.  As a general rule, the following legal alcohol limits apply:

  1. Holder of a learner, provisional or probationary licence: 0.00
  2. Holder of a restricted licence: 0.00
  3. Holder of a licence when driving particular vehicles (eg trucks, buses, taxis etc): 0.00
  4. Holder of an open licence: below 0.05

Unfortunately we have had a number of clients who have been mistaken as to the alcohol limit that applies to them.  If in doubt you should contact one of our Gold Coast traffic lawyers and we will be happy to schedule a complimentary 30 minute appointment or provide some preliminary traffic law advice over the phone.

Restricted licence

You should also be aware that after your licence has been disqualified by the Court, you are not automatically returned to a full open c class licence.  You may find that you are placed on a r licence for a period and accordingly you will be the subject of a 0.00 BAC.  You need to carefully check the status of your licence once you return from disqualification.

*QTOP is the Queensland Traffic Offender Program of which we are proud sponsors and presenters.  For more information contact our receptionists or log onto the Queensland Traffic Offender website, http://qtop.com.au/

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Drink Driving – Go Straight to Jail, Do Not Pass Go.

Gold Coast Drink Driving Lawyers

Most Queensland motorists understand that if they are caught drinking and driving, they will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver’s licence for a period of time.  By and large our job as experienced Gold Coast Drink Driving Lawyers is to minimise the period of disqualification or to secure a restricted work licence or special hardship order.

Mandatory Imprisonment for multiple drink driving offences.

Mandatory Imprisonment for multiple drink driving offences.

When people attend upon us for traffic law advice they are often shocked to learn that in prescribed circumstances they must receive a mandatory prison sentence.

The  legislation provides that if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol for a third time within a period of five years, then you must receive a penalty of imprisonment as the whole or part of your punishment. A person is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol if they have a blood alcohol concentration that equals or exceeds 0.15%.

This means that if you have two drink driving offences over .15% within the last five years and are convicted of a third offence, the Magistrate or Judge has no option but to impose a penalty that includes imprisonment (whether actual or suspended). This will be in addition to any disqualification of your driver’s licence and any other punishments that may be imposed.
If you find yourself in the situation where you are looking at a third drink driving offence it is imperative that you speak with a Lawyer who specialises in traffic law to make certain that you obtain proper advice and representation.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

QUEENSLAND IMPOUNDMENT PROCESS

An experienced Gold Coast Criminal Lawyer will ensure your best outcome.

An experienced Gold Coast Criminal Lawyer will ensure your best outcome.

Hooning Laws

Hooning and other reckless driving offences can result in the impoundment or immobilisation of a motor vehicle for a period of  seven to 90 days under Queensland Hooning Laws.  For repeat offending the vehicle can be forfeit to the state.  While there is capacity to appeal these decisions,  the intention of the legislation is clear.  Go too far and lose your car.

The offending is broken into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Hooning Laws

  1. Evading police
  2. Any of the following offences committed during a speed trial, race or a burn out
    1. Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle;
    2. Careless Driving;
    3. Organising, promoting or taking part in reacting or speed trials;
    4. Wilfully starting or driving a motor vehicle in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke.

Type 2 Hooning Laws

  1. Driving a vehicle while out is uninsured and unregistered
  2. Unlicensed driving;
  3. High range drink driving 0.015% and over;
  4. Exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h;
  5. Driving an illegally modified vehicle;
  6. Failure to supply a specimen of breath or blood; or
  7. Driving while under a 24 hour suspension.

hooningCan I apply for the early release of my vehicle?

The owner or usual driver of the impounded vehicle can apply in writing to the Commissioner of Police for early release of the their vehicle if they can establish:

  1. Severe personal or financial hardship.
  2. The offence was committed without the owners consent.
  3. The unlicensed or uninsured offence has been rectified.
  4. The grounds for impoundment were unreasonable.

If you require assistance drafting an Application to the Commissioner of Police or wish to appeal the Commissioner’s decision then you should contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers for advice and expert assistance.

Disclaimer

This website contains general information about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.  You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.