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Drink Driver Education Programs (Qld)

Drink driver education programs are programs that are designed to inform the public about the risks of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs. These programs can be completed at a person’s own initiative or because a court or a lawyer has suggested that a person charged with traffic offences should complete such a program.

Drink driver education programs are often completed after a person has been charged with traffic offences and before they are sentenced, in order to show the court that they are taking positive steps to avoid reoffending. Completion of a drink driver education program may – though will not always – result in a more lenient sentence when drink driving charges are finalised.

Queensland Traffic Offenders Program

In Queensland, the main provider of drink driver education is Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (QTOP). QTOP provides both online and face to face traffic offenders programs that are run by safety experts, emergency service workers, substance abuse counsellors, grief and trauma counsellors, victims of traffic accidents and lawyers.

The presenters talk about their experience of traffic accidents and their possible consequences.

Participants in the program are also offered referrals to services that may help them to further educate themselves in a particular area.

Who can do drink driver education programs?

QTOP is open to the general community, including new drivers, experienced drivers and drivers who have been charged with traffic offences.

Proving participation in drink driver education programs

When a person attends the program, they have the presenter of the session sign off on their attendance so that they have proof they have attended all of the program.

The program costs $180.

The face to face program

The face to face program runs for three weeks and is delivered on Wednesday nights in Brisbane and on Tuesday nights in Nerang. The sessions begin at 7pm and run for one and a half hours.

It is possible to do the whole course in 1.5 weeks, by attending both the Queensland and Nerang sessions.

The online program

The online QTOP program can be done on a laptop or desktop computer with a reliable internet connection. It cannot be done on an iPad or iPhone.

A person wanting to participate must enrol in advance, arrive fifteen minutes before the start of the session, bring photo ID, sign an indemnity form and not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Traffic offences and drink driver education programs

If a person has been charged with drink driving offences and intends to plead guilty, it may be in their interests to have the matter adjourned for a month so that they can complete the QTOP  program prior to being sentenced. The successful completion of the QTOP program or another drink driver education program can be submitted to the court as evidence that the accused has taken steps to address their drink driving behaviour and to understand its potential consequences. This may persuade the court to impose a more lenient sentence than it would if the accused had taken no steps to address their offending.

However, drink driving is a serious offence and when a person has been found guilty of drink driving offences repeatedly, the court is likely to impose a significant penalty, regardless of the accused’s completion of drink driver education programs.  These can include large fines, lengthy license disqualification periods and term of imprisonment.

If you require legal advice or representation in relation to drink driving or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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