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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Serious and Major Traffic Offences Serious and Major Traffic Offences and penalties in Queensland (QLD)

    Serious and Major Traffic Offences and penalties in Queensland (QLD)

    In Queensland, certain major traffic offences are considered criminal. The Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) and the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) are the two major laws that provide for traffic offences and their penalties in Queensland. Thousands of traffic offences are recorded weekly in Queensland.

    As a Queenslander, it is pertinent that you become abreast with the different traffic offences and the penalties that come with them.

    Driving Dangerously

    It is a crime to operate a vehicle dangerously, exposing other road users and pedestrians to great danger. According to section 328A(1) of the Criminal Code, 1899 (Qld), any person who dangerously operates a motor vehicle is said to have committed a misdemeanour.

    Penalty

    Any person found guilty of the above offence will face a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units or imprisonment for 3 years.

    Section 328A(2) of the criminal code further provides for circumstances that will be considered aggravated and will attract severer punishments. Subsection 2 of the section states that if the at the time of committing the alleged offence, the offender;

    • Was adversely influenced by an intoxicating substance.
    • Was speeding excessively or participating in a prohibited race.
    • Had been formerly convicted, whether by indictment or summary of an offence against this section.

    Such offenders will face a maximum of 400 penalty units or imprisonment for 5 years.

    Section 328A(4) of the criminal code provides that a person commits a crime under this section when it causes grievous bodily damage or leads to the death of another person. The offender will be liable upon conviction.

    Penalty
    • 10 years imprisonment upon indictment
    • If the culprit was under the influence of an intoxicating substance, speeding excessively, or participating in illegal racing at the time of the offence, he or she faces 14 years in jail.
    • Imprisonment for 14 years if the culprit flees the scene of the occurrence and leaves the injured or possibly dead person there instead of getting medical help for such a person.

    Note that such offenders may be arrested without a warrant issued.

    Careless Driving

    This is another form of operating a vehicle dangerously in Queensland. It is provided for under section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld). Under this section, it is an offence to drive without proper care, vigilance, or consideration for the other road users.

    Penalty

    Any person who is found guilty under this section will be liable to a maximum sanction of:

    • 40 penal units, or six months in jail.
    • 80 penalty units or imprisonment for one year where it resulted in the death or severe bodily damage of another person.
    • 160 penalty units or imprisonment of two years if, at the time the offence was committed, the culprit was an unlicensed driver and the crime led to the death or caused bodily harm of another.

    A person who is found guilty of this offence while driving unlicensed and which results in the death or bodily harm of another will be disqualified from attaining or keeping a Queensland driver's licence for at least 6 months.

    Driving Unlicensed

    Under section 78(1) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) a person commits an offence if they drive on the Queensland roads without an authorised driver's licence.

    Penalty

    Such offender will face a maximum penalty of:

    • 40 penalty units or imprisonment for one year.
    • 60 penalty units or imprisonment for 18 months if the offender had been disqualified from holding a driver's licence by a court order at the time of the commission.

    Section 78(1A) of the Act further provides that a vehicle driver can obtain an infringement order if caught driving unlicensed or disqualified where the person drives without a valid licence.

    Note that it is an offence in Queensland to drive a vehicle while under suspension or disqualification.

    Driving Under the Influence

    Driving when inebriated is a severe offence. Under section 79(1) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), a person commits a crime if, while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, the person:

    • Drives a vehicle.
    • Attempts to put a vehicle in motion.
    • Is in charge of a vehicle or any other vessel.
    Penalty

    Anybody found guilty under this section will be subject to a penalty not surpassing 28 or imprisonment for some time, not above 9 months. The statute also stipulates that the offender shall serve a minimum of six months of disqualification.

    Speeding

    In Queensland, it is an offence to navigate a vehicle above the stipulated speed limit of 100km/h.

    Penalty

    The punishment meted out to a driver found guilty of speeding is usually determined by the percentage by which the speed limit was exceeded.

    From the 1st day of July 2022, the following penalties came into implementation:

    • 1 demerit point and a fine of $287 for exceeding 1-10km/h.
    • 3 demerit points and a fine of $431 for surpassing the limit by 11-20km/h
    • 4 demerit points and a fine of $646 for driving above 21-30km/h.
    • 6 demerit points and a penalty of $1078 for exceeding the limit by 31-40km/h.
    • 8 demerit points, 6 months of licence suspension and a fine of $1653 for driving 40km/h over the limit.

    Driving Without Putting on a Seatbelt

    Driving a vehicle with your seatbelt unbuckled is another severe and prevalent traffic offence in Queensland. Previously, any person who commits this offence would be liable to a fine of $413 and 3 demerit points. However, starting from the 1st of July, 2022, anyone found guilty of the offence will be liable to a fine of $1078 and 4 demerit points.

    Running a Red Light

    This is another offence in Queensland that will attract a penalty of 3 demerit points and a $575 fine.

    Will a serious or major traffic offence in Queensland show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a serious or major traffic offence in a Queensland court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of a police check.

    Individuals can obtain a background check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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