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Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle QLD

Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle in QLD

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem. 

What is Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle?

The charge of ‘Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle,’ is commonly referred to by lawyers and Police as “dangerous driving” or “dangerous op.” It is one of the most serious driving offences in Queensland. Unlike most other driving and traffic related offences in Queensland that appear under the Transport Operations Act, this offence appears under the Criminal Code Qld. What behaviour amounts to “dangerous” driving can be difficult to define and is not technically defined under the legislation. The Criminal Code explains that this offence includes operating a vehicle at a speed or manner that is dangerous to the public. 

The word “dangerous” is given its ordinary meaning and the nature of what is “dangerous” is assessed objectively considering what the community would expect from a cautious and competent driver. Often, when charging defendants with this offence, police will consider and rely on the observations of other road users to assess the dangerous actions of the defendant on the road including their speed and vehicle movement. In Queensland, this offence can be aggravated by the defendant for example if they are affected by intoxicating substances or taking part in a race at the time of the dangerous operation of their vehicle. 

Penalties of Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Possible Defences to a Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle Charge

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are;

  • Necessity;
  • Mistake of Fact;
  • Public Safety;
  • Self Defence or defence of another person;
  • Intoxication;
  • Provocation;
  • Accident;
  • Duress;
  • Compulsion;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism

Which Court will your Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle matter be heard in?

Simpliciter Offence – The charge Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle will ordinarily be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.   The Defendant may however elect to have the matter heard in the District Court.  

Aggravated Offence – If there is a circumstance of aggravation attached to the charge (see Element 6 above) then the charge is too serious to be dealt with by a Magistrate and must proceed to the District Court.  In that event a committal hearing will be conducted in the Magistrates Court and the matter will proceed to the District Court.  If the Defendant pleads guilty to the charge then the sentence will be conducted by a District Court Judge.  If the Defendant pleads not guilty then the trial will be heard before a Judge and Jury.  

You can possibly reduce your sentence by completing an online traffic safety course like the Rate Program. 

Drink Drive Education Program Australia

What Happens During a Drink Drive Education Program in Australia?

When you have been charged with a traffic offence such as drink driving in Australia you should consider completing a Drink Drive Education Program to assist you in reducing the penalty you receive.

Completing a program such as the Road and Traffic Education (RATE) Program will help you to demonstrate to the court that you have learnt from your mistakes and are now aware of the possible consequences to your actions for yourself and other road users. This program is run online and takes around 5 hours to complete.

What do you do and learn in a Drink Drive Education Program?

In a Drink Drive Education program, you will receive further education on traffic offences which is aimed to change the attitude and behaviour of drivers who have committed traffic offences. This can be through in person lectures or online lectures which participants watch to gain the insight to complete the course. The people who present these lectures will be qualified in a variety of areas such as psychology, traffic law and road crash investigations. They will give you valuable insight by providing confronting information which will assist in educating you more about traffic offences.

You will watch a series of confronting traffic awareness videos which will further demonstrate to you the possible consequences of an offender’s actions for not only themselves but also other road users. These videos are produced by professional experts who witness the consequences of traffic offences where the outcome of the offending did not result in the participant just needed to attend court to answer for their actions.

At the end of your drink drive education program, you are given an opportunity to write self-reflections which will be tendered to the court. These reflections provide participants of these programs an opportunity to show their engagement in the program and demonstrate to the Magistrate that they have learnt from their mistakes. Participants should ensure they complete detailed reflections which demonstrate what they have learnt but also their remorse for their actions. 

At the completion of the drink drive education program, you will receive a certificate of completion and your reflections. These documents can be provided to the court at your sentence and will allow you to demonstrate to the Magistrate what you have learnt in the program. Completing a drink drive education program will allow a participant to understand that having a licence is a privilege not a right and they should ensure they are obeying traffic laws to prevent them reoffending. 

Special Hardship Order Application australia

Special Hardship Order Application

Have you accumulated too many demerit points OR been booked by the police for a high-speed offence?

Do you need your drivers licence for your job?

In Queensland, you may be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order Licence (SHO)- or what is better known as a Work Licence. 

A Special Hardship Order (SHO) will permit you to drive with certain conditions that relate to your specific job. You will only be permitted to drive in a certain class of vehicles, for specific reason, between certain times, and you must carry a copy of the order with you at all times whilst driving. 

In order to make a SHO application, you will need to attend to the following tasks:

  1. File the application in court;
  2. File your completed affidavit;
  3. File your employers affidavit (if you are not self-employed); and
  4. Serve a copy of the above material on Queensland Transport.

At the hearing of your SHO application, you must also be able to demonstrate to the court:

  • That you are a fit and proper person to be the holder of a licence; AND
  • That a refusal to grant the order will cause either extreme financial hardship or severe and unusual hardship.

These Special Hardship Order applications can be tricky. If you make a mistake, your application could be refused.

The Road and Traffic Education Program can assist you in satisfying the court that you are a fit and proper person. The course is conducted online and takes approximately 5 hours to complete. The course provides a platform which changes the attitude and behaviour of drivers who commit offences on our roads by delivering a series of confronting lectures from qualified and experienced professionals. 

Importantly for your SHO application, by completing the program you can demonstrate to the court that you are taking responsibility for your actions and have learnt from your mistakes- making you a fit and proper person to be the holder of a licence.

how to get my licence back after disqualification

How to Get my Licence Back Quicker After Disqualification

There are a number of traffic offences that can leave you without a licence. These include drink or drug driving, dangerous driving or driving whilst disqualified. Disqualification periods may range from a few months or a few years depending on the offence and severity of the offence. But there are ways to get your licence back quicker after disqualification. 

Some traffic offences carry harsh penalties, including the loss of your driver’s licence and jail in some circumstances. It is recommended to obtain a traffic lawyer who can help you to navigate the situation and achieve the best possible outcome. They can provide you with information and advice, and can also give you information about the likely penalties you’re facing.

There are many factors that can influence penalties for traffic offences, including your traffic history, facts of the offence and any mitigating circumstances that can be put before the Court. Mitigating circumstances are factors that lessen the severity or culpability of an act. These can include but are not limited to; age, mental health, lack of a prior criminal record and steps taken to alleviate future offending.

If you’ve been charged with a traffic offence that includes a disqualification period, it is important when appearing before the Court to demonstrate acceptance of the act/ remorse, and steps taken to better educate yourself to ensure you will not commit such offences in the future. 

This can be done through a traffic education program such as the Road and Traffic Education (RATE) Program. Where you will see lectures from a Psychologist, a Criminal and Traffic Lawyer and also a Crash Investigation Expert. There are a number of interactive modules on topics including; drink/ drug driving, crash statistics, road safety, the Fatal 5 killers on our roads, decision making and the law.

The Court can take your attendance of such a program into consideration when handing down their Sentence and may provide a reduction in the penalty they were otherwise to impose.

Fatality Free Friday

Fatality Free Friday

Fatality Free Friday commenced in 2007 through the Australian Road Safety Foundation and has continued since then – now recognised as Australia’s largest national community-based road safety program. The Fatality Free Friday program seeks to increase education to road users and ensure a fatality-free day on all Australian roads. 

Recent statistics show that one in four drivers admit to taking road risks since the implementation of COVID19 lockdowns. These risks include an escalation of speeding, followed by using mobile phones whilst driving, running red lights or stop signs, or driving after a few drinks. 

Two thirds of Australian road users believe that the roads are safer due to lockdowns and less cars on the road. However, the national year-to-date road toll has only declined by 12.5% in comparison to the same period in the previous year. 

Speed is the most common form of bad driving behaviour with two thirds of road users admitting to speeding with one in three drivers admitting to speeding on at least a weekly basis. Many passengers admit that they are not comfortable in telling their drivers to slow down when speeding or to stop using their mobile phones, with many saying they just don’t think it’s their place to say anything. This alarming information has caused a push to have people speak up and educate one another on the risks caused by their behaviour. 

As of 14 July 2021 there have been 1,138 Australian Road Deaths in the past 12 months. With an increase of 41 deaths compared to 12 months ended August 2020. 

Fatality Free Friday will be on 27 May 2022.

If you want to educate yourself in relation to these matters visit the Road and Traffic Education (RATE) Program on www.rateprogram.com.au.  Where you will see lectures from a Psychologist, a Criminal and Traffic Lawyer and also a Crash Investigation Expert. There are a number of interactive modules on topics including; drink/ drug driving, crash statistics, road safety, the Fatal 5 killers on our roads, decision making and the law.

Statistics Source: Research conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, April 2020, n=1,005 nationally representative by gender, age and location of Australian drivers aged 18 years and over.

how do you lose your drivers licence

How Do You Lose Your Driver’s Licence?

Your driver’s licence is considered a privilege, not a right.  When we sign up for a driver’s licence, we are also agreeing that we will comply with a whole range of road rules and conditions. It is not uncommon for people to lose their driver’s licence for breaking these road rules and conditions, without even being aware that these rules or conditions existed. 

Unusual ways to lose your drivers licence:

  • If you hang a limb out the window- an elbow on the window ledge, a foot resting out the window- you can face a fine and the accumulation of demerit points. 
  • If you use your horn in a non-emergency situation, you could be fined and accumulate demerit points.
  • If you drive through an orange light, but it is deemed you had enough time to stop, you can be fined and incur demerit points.
  • Seatbelts. We all know you must wear a seatbelt, or you face fines and demerit points, but wearing a seatbelt incorrectly also opens you up to those same fines and demerit points. 
  • Driving with a relevant drug in your system. If you get caught driving with a relevant drug, the law does not take into consideration whether you were under the influence or not. Simply having a relevant drug present- this includes medically prescribed marijuana- opens you up to a mandatory disqualification period and at the minimum, a fine. 
  • Mowing the lawn on a Saturday while enjoying a beer? You may be on a road- or roadway.  If you are, you are subject to the same breath alcohol concentration as if you were driving a vehicle. You face a mandatory disqualification period and at the minimum, a fine. 

How to make sure you keep your drivers licence:

  1. Educate yourself. The Road and Traffic Education RATE Program is specifically designed with the view of providing education about road safety with the aim of reducing recidivism. The course is conducted online and takes approximately 5 hours to complete. 
  2. Beware of Work and School Zones- the most common way people incur demerit points quickly is speeding through these zones. 
  3. Watch what you say to police- you have the right to remain silent, there is no obligation for you to participate in any interview or make any statement. Anything you say can be used against you. Raising your voice or saying things like “don’t you have better things to do” or “there are real criminals out there and you are wasting your time on me” will not assist you in court. 
  4. Speed cameras – make note of where speed cameras are located and turn on your speed camera alert on your GPS device. 
  5. Read up on your rights.  

You can possibly reduce your licence loss period by completing an online traffic safety course like the Rate Program. 

High Range Drink Driving

High Range Drink Driving

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem. 

What is High Range Drink Driving?

It is an offence in Queensland to drive a vehicle whilst your blood alcohol is above the legal limit.  High Range Drink Driving is commonly known as driving under the influence or DUI for short.  You are found to be high range drink driving when you are driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.15%. 

High range drink driving is the most serious offence of its kind and holds a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment for a first offence or a fine up to 28 penalty units, currently being $3,736.6‬0.

The penalties increase if it is a second or subsequent offence within a 5 year period.

When charged with high range drink driving your licence will be immediately suspended until the charge against you is determined in Court.

You are not eligible to make an application for a restricted work licence.  At the conclusion of your court disqualification you will have to have an alcohol interlock device installed in your car if you want to get your drivers licence back from Queensland Transport.  

Maximum Penalty for High Range Drink Driving

High range drink driving is the most serious offence of its kind and hold a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment for a first offence or a fine of $3,080.00

Any second, or subsequent offences within a period of 5 years carries a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment or a fine of 60 penalty units.

For third and any subsequent offences within a period of 5 years of the first offence the law requires the Court to impose a sentence which includes imprisonment. This does not necessarily mean the individual is required to serve the full sentence.

Disqualification from Driving for High Range Drink Driving 

Upon convicting a person of high range drink driving a court is required to disqualify that them from holding or obtaining a Queensland drivers licence for a minimum of 6 months for a first offence, a minimum of 1 year for a second, and a minimum of 2 years for any subsequent, offences. A court is empowered to disqualify a person absolutely (meaning they can never hold or apply for another Queensland driver’s licence) even for a first high range drink driving offence (though in practice this is rare). If more than one period of disqualification is imposed (for example for repeat offences), they must be served cumulatively (that is, each period of disqualification does not commence until the previous one has expired).

Upon convicting a person of high range drink driving the Court is required to have an Alcohol Ignition Interlock device fitted to their nominated vehicle for a period of 12 months once they receive their licence back. 

Penalties for High Range Drink Driving

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Drink Driving – High Range, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Possible Defences for High Range Drink Driving  

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are;

  • Necessity;
  • Mistake of Fact;
  • Public Safety;
  • Self Defence or defence of another person;
  • Intoxication;
  • Provocation;
  • Accident;
  • Duress;
  • Compulsion;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism

Which Court will your drink driving matter be heard in?

The charge Drink Driving – High Range will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.   You can possibly reduce your sentence by completing an online traffic safety course like the Rate Program.

careless driving australia

Careless Driving

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.

What is Careless Driving?

In Queensland it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle carelessly, also commonly known as driving without due care. 

The Police must prove that you were not driving carefully and in a way that showed reasonable consideration for other road users.   It is important to note that you can be charged with careless driving even if you are driving on private property, or if there are no other cars involved. 

You can be charged with the offence of careless driving regardless if you have caused an accident or not. If you have caused an accident as a result of your driving it will be found to be an aggravating factor, making the charge more serious. 

You can be charged with careless driving if you have caused an accident that has resulted in injury to another person or death, however more serious charges such as Dangerous Driving are more common when serious injury or death is caused. 

Maximum Penalty for Careless Driving

The charge of careless driving holds a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment or a fine of 40 penalty units. 

If death or grievous bodily harm is caused to another person AND it was an unlicensed driver at the time of committing the offence it holds a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment or 160 penalty units. 

If death or grievous bodily harm is caused to another person it holds a maximum penalty of 1 years imprisonment or 80 penalty units. 

The Court is not required to impose a period of disqualification, however has discretion to impose a period of disqualification if they believe it is warranted. Disqualification can range from 1 month to an absolute disqualification. 

Absolute disqualification means you are disqualified for a minimum of 2 years, after the period of 2 years you can apply to have your licence reinstated. 

Careless Driving Penalties 

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Careless Driving, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Possible Defences to Careless Driving 

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are;

  • Necessity;
  • Mistake of Fact;
  • Public Safety;
  • Self Defence or defence of another person;
  • Intoxication;
  • Provocation;
  • Accident;
  • Duress;
  • Compulsion;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism

Which Court will your Careless Driving matter be heard in?

The charge Careless Driving will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.   

You can possibly reduce your sentence by completing an online traffic safety course like the Rate Program. 

Going to court for a traffic offence

Going to court for a traffic offence

When you are charged with a traffic offence you will be required to go to court for the matter. 

The traffic offences you may be charged with can include but are not limited to:

  • Drink driving;
  • Drug driving;
  • Disqualified driving;
  • Dangerous driving;
  • Driving while suspended; and
  • Driving without a drivers licence.

If you have been charged with any of the above offences by the police, you will have been issued a Notice to Appear in court. When charged with a traffic offence you should consider contacting an experienced traffic lawyer to get some advice about your matter. If you engage a lawyer, they can represent you in court and assist you with the court proceedings. 

When you go to court for your traffic offence you are required to tell the court if you are pleading guilty or not guilty to the charge.

How to plead guilty in traffic court 

If you are pleading guilty to the traffic offence, this means you are accepting the allegations against you and the court will give you a lower penalty then if you were found guilty at trial. You can finalise your matter when you attend court and you will normally be sentenced on that same day. 

If you intend to plead guilty but require more time before you finalise the matter you can inform the court that you are seeking an adjournment. You will need to inform the court what the adjournment is for, which can include reasons such as seeking legal representation or legal advice. It may also be to allow you time to complete court preparations for example, a traffic education program (such as the RATE Program). The adjournment is a process which allows you to attend court on another day, which is when you could then finalise the matter.

If you are pleading not guilty you will need to list your matter for trial. Before a trial the police prosecutions will need to provide you with a brief of evidence. This brief will contain the evidence that the police will be relying upon for trial and the witnesses they will call to give evidence against you.

You are not generally required to provide the evidence you rely upon to police prosecutions, but there are some exceptions to this. 

If you are found guilty at the end of the trial you will then be sentenced by the Magistrate. The penalty you will receive will be more severe then if you had plead guilty to the offence.

If you are found not guilty then that will be the end of the matter.