Traffic & Criminal Law

If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to understand your legal rights and the relevant court processes when dealing with the offence. We can provide expert guidance and representation in court. We regularly appear for clients and have experience in all criminal and traffic law matters including:

  • Drink driving / negligent driving / dangerous driving
  • Drug offences
  • Public nuisance
  • Assault
  • Domestic violence orders
  • Weapons offences
  • Theft/stealing
  • Fraud
  • Bail applications

Traffic Offences

Traffic offences in Queensland include breaches of the road rules, drink driving, drug driving, dangerous driving, and failure to comply with vehicle registration requirements.

Licence Suspension

In Queensland, your traffic history is reflected in the demerit point system. As driving is a privilege available to those who abide by traffic rules and the law, the demerit system allows the state to determine when it should revoke the privilege. You can lose your right to drive immediately for severe breaches of traffic law. For instance, if you are caught going 40km or more over the speed limit, your licence will be suspended immediately for six months.

Otherwise, you can commit several less serious offences and retain your licence if you do not exceed the maximum number of demerits allowed for your licence category. Even if you do exceed the maximum, the Department of Transport and Main Roads will usually give you the choice of a suspension for a few months or a good behaviour licence for a year. In that case, you need to avoid accumulating any more demerits or your licence will be suspended. Fortunately, even if your licence is suspended, you may be able to apply for a special hardship order. For instance, if you need to drive for your job, the court may allow you to retain your licence for limited purposes. You should seek legal advice to see if this is an option for you.

While losing your licence is extremely upsetting, some traffic offences incur even more severe penalties. You can be imprisoned if your breach of the road rules injures or kills someone. If you are charged with a serious traffic offence, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Domestic Violence Order (DVO)

A Queensland court can make an order called a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) to stop threats or acts of domestic violence. This is basically an official document that sets out rules for how the respondent must behave, such as staying away from the victim and their home.

A DVO is a civil, not a criminal, matter. As a result, it is not necessary to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there were threats or acts of domestic violence. As a result, someone who is at risk can take out a DVO with only limited evidence. Because the standard to obtain a DVO is relatively low, it is important to ensure that the respondent is not unfairly treated. To ensure this, a DVO does not create a criminal record. However, if the respondent does breach the DVO, it becomes a criminal matter, as the respondent has disobeyed a court order. This will usually result in the respondent being arrested and having a criminal record. The breach may also result in further penalties such as fines or imprisonment. 

When DVOs work, they can prevent tragedies from occurring. A DVO draws a line in the sand and puts the respondent on notice that breaking the rules of the order will be treated as a criminal act.

Criminal Law

To help make the criminal justice system in Queensland fairer, defendants have protections, particularly the presumption of innocence. Someone accused of a crime is assumed to be innocent, and the legal system places the onus on the prosecution to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Since someone awaiting trial is presumed to be innocent, it makes sense that an accused should not be imprisoned while awaiting a determination of their case.

Bail is the system that allows someone to remain in the community while awaiting trial. It is essentially a promise to return to court on a scheduled day. To back up this promise, a “surety” is often required, which is money held by the court that is forfeited if the defendant does not appear in court. If a surety is not required, the defendant may be required to report regularly to a police station.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 07 4063 5900 for expert legal advice.