In Queensland, the Transport Operations of Road Use Management Act 1995 prescribes the rules and penalties for varying degrees of infractions. Such violations may result in demerits, license suspension, fines, and in extreme cases, incarceration.
Queensland Authorities that regulate driving
Department of Transport and Main Road of the Queensland Government
A ministerial government body that handles the issuance of licenses or smart cards, this agency prescribes license fees; handles license suspensions and disqualifications; prescribes license demerit points; gives passengers transport authorisations; conducts driving tests; and details driving infractions and their corresponding fines or sanctions.
State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) of Queensland Government
This agency handles all matters involving the fines incurred from driving infractions. It enforces the collection of court-ordered fines, seizes properties, deducts funds from the bank accounts of non-cooperative individuals, and offers online payment options for settling fines.
These are a government institution that decides or hears cases about driving. They order or authorise law enforcement agencies and other government bodies to enforce the decision, which can be either a fine or penalty that is stated in the law. In Queensland, the Magistrates court handles cases of Unlicensed driving.
Here are the incidents that can lead to unlicensed driving charges:
Driving without a licence
If you’re driving despite not obtaining your own driver’s licence, then you may be charged with unlicensed driving. The fines and imprisonment may be light for first-time offenders and extreme for repeat violators.
To avoid this offence, be sure to get some driving lessons so you can pass the driving test that is required for obtaining a driver’s licence.
Driving with an expired license
In this situation, you have a driver’s licence, but it expired because you perhaps forgot to renew it on time.
This offence is penalised with fines and earnings of demerit points. To avoid committing it, be sure to renew your licence on time, either online or in person.
Driving with a suspended license
You might have a suspended licence because of a DUI offence; driving whilst using a phone; earning enough demerit points (usually four); or driving over the speed limit of 40 km/h. The demerit period can last from one to six months. In addition, fines or a one-year imprisonment may be imposed in extreme cases or repeat offences.
When you are in this situation, you don’t have any other recourse but to wait until your suspension expires. During your suspension period, it can help for you to learn more about driving, signages, or the Australian driving laws. Likewise, you can reduce the length of suspension or its severity by using a reliable legal service available in your area.
Incurring State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) debts
This happens when you incur debts for the nonpayment of the fines levied by SPER, and which a government agency is responsible for enforcing and collecting as per a court order. As a consequence, the penalties may include fines, the seizure of properties, or deductions from one’s bank accounts.
Depending on your circumstances, you can either dispute the fine, pay for an unpaid community work, or pay in cash or via installment.
Getting a disqualified licence
This offence results from dangerous driving, intoxicated driving, over speeding, and repeated violations of laws. It carries the most severe form of penalties. More specifically, fines may be imposed, or the individual may get their licence suspended from two to five years. In extreme cases, the offender may be sentenced to an imprisonment term of one year or more.
To handle this case, you will need the services of a competent and emphatic law firm. They can help you avoid emotionally wracking and financially damaging situations. They can overturn a court decision in your favor, reduce the penalty to a fine, or reduce the years of licence disqualification.
Driving vehicles not suitable for your license type
As an example, if you have a car licence, you can drive only vehicles that do not go beyond 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). This means you can’t legally drive a ten-wheeler truck or bus. To drive a heavy vehicle, you must pass tests or get a license for that type of vehicle. In other words, you must drive only the vehicles permitted by your license.
This offence can result in a suspended license, fines, and in extreme cases, imprisonment for up to a year or more.
To avoid this offence, drive only the vehicles that are suited to your license type. According to the Queensland Government, license types fall under the following categories:
|R – License||2 to 3 wheeled motorcycle||Motorcycles with or without a trailer|
|C-Car License||Car or light vehicles||Vehicles that are below 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass and a seating capacity of not more than 12 adults plus the driver|
|LR-Light Rigid license||Vans and Elf truck||Vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes up to 8 tonnes|
|HR Heavy Rigid license||Articulated buses with detachable or fixed trailer||Vehicles weighing more than 8 tonnes and with 3 or more axles|
|MR-medium rigid||Medium sized truck||Vehicles that weigh more than 8 tonnes and 2 axles|
|HC-Heavy combination licenses||Large sized trailer or flatbed truck||Vehicles that are more than 9 tonnes GVM and attached to 1 trailer.|
|MC – Multi-combination license||Road train or heavy-weight large truck||Truck that has two to three trailers connected.|
Driving without medical fitness
This offence involves driving with medical conditions such as fatigue, the effects of drugs or intoxicating beverages, eye problems, neurological disorders, and psychiatric disorders.
It is penalised with an infringement penalty fine of $504, the withdrawal of the individual’s driving license, and in extreme cases, imprisonment of up to a year.
You can avoid committing this offence by never attempting to drive when you are intoxicated; fatigued because of sleeplessness; under the influence of mind-altering drugs; under epilepsy or stroke attacks; and are visually impaired. For instance, if you are very sleepy, stop driving, park in a legal parking space, and take a rest.
In summary, unlicensed driving can lead to fines, penalties or even jail time. This can be emotionally and financially distressing, especially if you have a big SPER debt or a disqualified license. With good driving habits, awareness of the driving laws, and a reliable legal representation, you can overcome the legal hurdles or sanctions that may result from the offence.
Want help with your Unlicensed Driving?
We are always ready to help and guide you through your legal situations. Contact our legal team today to discuss your licensing options.