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When driving a car (or other motor vehicle), there are laws to make sure you drive safely and obey the road rules. If you disobey these traffic laws, this is a traffic offence.
Traffic offences are a complex area of law, and being charged with an offence can be very serious. Penalties can range from receiving a fine, incurring demerit points, a probation order or even going to jail. This depends on the type of offence, the circumstances, and your traffic history.
If you've been charged with a traffic offence you should get legal advice.
Here are some examples of common traffic offences:
If you’ve been charged with a traffic offence you should get legal advice.
For some traffic offences you may be given an on-the-spot fine or you may receive a fine in the mail—this is your infringement notice. This will tell you:
If you don’t pay on time pay, the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) can:
SPER may also charge you an enforcement fee on top of the original fine.
If you can’t afford to pay the fine by the due date you can make a payment plan with SPER to help pay off the fine.
If you’re concerned about the enforcement action SPER is taking against you, you should get legal advice.
If you disagree with an infringement notice you can go to court to dispute it.
To go to court to dispute an infringement notice, you must fill out and submit:
The form should be submitted to the Department of Transport and Main Roads. After the form has been submitted a complaint and summons or a Notice to appear will be mailed to you with your court date.
If you choose to go to court to dispute an infringement notice and you’re found guilty of the offence, you will be charged the offender levy, on top of any fine, summons cost and witness expenses (if any).
Get legal advice if you’re thinking about contesting an infringement notice before electing to go to court.
If you don’t elect court by the due date on your infringement notice, you may lose your right to have the matter heard in court.
For traffic offences detected by cameras, an infringement notice will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.
If you receive an infringement notice as the registered owner of the vehicle, but you weren’t driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, you must complete a statutory declaration.
If you know who was driving the vehicle, in the statutory declaration you must state the name and address of the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence.
If you don’t know who was driving the vehicle, in the statutory declaration you need to:
Before completing a statutory declaration you should get legal advice.
You should follow the directions on the infringement notice for information about where to return the statutory declaration, and by what date.
There are strict timeframes for transferring a fine or electing to have the matter heard in court. Check the infringement notice for details—if you’re still unsure, get legal advice.
How to transfer or dispute a fine (Queensland Government)
The Infringement Notice (Queensland Police—Traffic Camera Office)
If you’ve been charged with a speeding offence and you want to challenge the accuracy of the speed detection device or speedometer or the way it was used, you should legal advice before proceeding.
This is a complex area of law and there are strict rules to be followed when disputing a speeding fine and you may incur extra costs if your challenge is unsuccessful.
If you commit a traffic offence in Queensland, demerit points may be recorded on your traffic history. This is a record of any offences for which you’ve been found guilty relating to road rules, drink-driving, drug-driving, dangerous driving or vehicle registration.
If you accumulate too many demerit points, your licence may be suspended. Usually, (unless you are a learner) you will receive a letter from the Department of Transport and Main Roads giving you the choice of:
For a ‘high speed offence’—such as, going 40km or more over the speed limit your licence will be immediately suspended for 6 months with no choice of a good behaviour licence. This applies to all types of licences.
If your licence is suspended but you still need to drive for work or some other reason, in limited circumstances you may be able to apply for a special hardship order. Get legal advice if you think this applies to you.
You can check the demerit points schedule for a list of traffic offences incurring demerit points.
You can check your demerit points online.
Check your demerit points (Department of Transport and Main Roads)
Licence demerit points (Department of Transport and Main Roads)
Demerit points schedule (Queensland Government)
Speeding fines and demerit points (Department of Transport and Main Roads)
Are you going to lose your driver licence?
A special hardship order lets you drive under special conditions even though your normal driver’s licence has been suspended.
You can apply for a special hardship order if your licence has been suspended because:
To be eligible for a special hardship order:
You must apply to the Magistrates Court in the district or division in which you live after your licence has been suspended (you can apply on the day your licence is suspended, but not before that day). Contact the court to find out which court division or district you live in.
If you have a current charge of unlicensed driving (whilst demerit point suspended or high speed suspended) there may not be any benefit in applying for a special hardship order.
Get legal advice before applying for a special hardship order.
Are you going to lose your driver licence? – Applying for a special hardship order
You may need legal advice if you:
We may give legal advice about traffic offences. Contact us to find out if we can help with you matter.
The following services may also be able to give you legal advice.
Community legal centres may give legal advice on drink driving matters—contact them to find out if they can help.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.
These organisations may also be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.
State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) is responsible for the collection and enforcement of unpaid infringement notice fines, court ordered monetary fines and Offender Recovery orders issued in Queensland. You can make arrangements to pay SPER a set amount on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (QTOP) is an educational court diversion program for first and second time offenders who want to plead guilty to a traffic offence, including drink driving, unsafe driving, disqualified driving, suspended licence, appealing licence disqualifications (fees apply for this service).
Department of Transport and Main Roads deals with complaints and enquiries concerning drivers licence, registration, traffic fines, etc.
Last updated 10 November 2022