The Queensland road rules are governed by the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009. More serious traffic offences in Queensland are governed by the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 and the Criminal Code. These offences include dangerous driving and dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.
While traffic offences are sometimes dealt with by way of an infringement notice, they can also require the accused to attend court and if found guilty, often result in convictions.
Penalties under Queensland traffic law
Traffic offences in Queensland can lead to fines, terms of imprisonment and periods of disqualification from driving. Some traffic offences can also result in the impoundment of the vehicle involved for 90 days. Repeat traffic offenders can even have their vehicle forfeited to the state.
The most serious traffic offences in Queensland is dangerous driving which can result in a three-year term of imprisonment. If a person dies as the result of a person’s dangerous driving they can also be charged with manslaughter, for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment, or dangerous driving causing death which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Driving after being suspended by a court is contempt of the court system, and this offence attracts a further licence suspension of at least two years. Repeat offences of driving while suspended can result in imprisonment.
Applying to have a licence disqualification lifted
If a person’s licence has been disqualified for a period of more than two years, they can apply to the court to have the suspension lifted. The court will decide whether to lift the suspension taking into account:
- the offence the disqualification was imposed for;
- the person’s behaviour since the offence occurred
- their character, and
- the hardship they face as a result of not being able to drive.
A person making this application needs to include an Affidavit outlining why the disqualification should be lifted, and a copy of their traffic history.
Special Hardship Orders
If the Department of Transport has suspended a person’s licence because they have been charged with driving more than 40 km over the speed limit, or they have received more than one demerit point while on a 12 month good behaviour licence, they can apply to the court for a Special Hardship Order.
This Order will allow a person to obtain a special licence to drive, but there are strict requirements, and the application must be made within 21 days of the date the suspension starts. To be eligible a person must:
- not have had their licence suspended or cancelled in the past five years
- not have held a provisional or open licence immediately before the licence was suspended
- show the court they are a fit and proper person, and
- show the court that if they don’t get a special hardship order, they or their family will suffer extreme hardship due to not being able to work.