A work licence (also known as a restricted licence, section 87 licence or day licence) is a special type of licence that may be issued by the court to persons convicted of a low or mid-range range drink driving charge (a BAC reading under .15) or certain drug driving charges in Queensland. A work licence replaces your normal Queensland drivers licence for the period of the disqualification imposed by the court.
A work licence can only be used for work purposes; you cannot use a work licence to drive to the shops or dropping kids off at school. A work licence is designed to allow you to continue to earn a living where a driver’s licence is an essential component to you earning that living.
It is also critical to understand that the work licence must be applied for before the court imposes a disqualification period for the drink or drug driving offence. Once the court imposes the licence disqualification you cannot apply for a work licence.
Can I apply?
To be eligible to apply for a work licence you must:
- hold a current Queensland open driver's licence for the vehicle you were driving. The open licence must have been held at the time of committing the offence. Provisional and learner drivers cannot apply for a work licence
- have had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15% or the drug driving offence must be been driving with a relevant drug and not drug driving UIL
- not have been driving for your job at the time you were charged. There are some exceptions where driving is not the main component of your job e.g. labourers driving to a work site or fencing contractors picking up materials to use onsite
- not have been driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol level (BAC) to be zero e.g. if you are on a learner, provisional, probationary or restricted license.
In the last five years you must not have:
- been convicted anywhere of drink driving or a similar offence
- been disqualified by any court
- had a licence suspended or cancelled (except in some limited circumstances like certain SPER suspensions that did not go to court).
- Applied for a work licence
What do I need to provide in my application?
To apply for a work licence you must file in the court where your drink driving charge is being heard (and serve on the police prosecutor) at least the following;
- An affidavit of yourself setting out;
- Your personal circumstances like where you live, with who etc
- What work you do and a detailed explanation of what driving for work you need to do
- The days and hours you work including any overtime
- Why you can’t use taxi’s or public transport
- Your financial circumstances including your income and expenses and those of you partner (if applicable)
- How your employment or if self-employed your income would be affected by not being granted a work licence
- How the drink driving charge came about and if necessary you will need to address other offences on your traffic history (or criminal history)
- What conditions the court should impose on your work licence
- If you are employed then your employer must provide an affidavit confirming the need for a work licence and if it not granted that you will be deprived of the means of earning your income
- An application form for a section 87 (Work licence) available at any court registry for a full use this link www.courts.qld.gov.au/contacts/courthouses
How does the Court judge my application?
In order for the court to grant a work licence you must show the court that you are a 'fit and proper person' and that if you don't get a work licence this will cause you or your family extreme hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a living.
The court will generally judge whether you are a fit and proper person based on your traffic history. Character references can also help a court decide you are a fit and proper person; this is especially true where your reading was mid-range (between .1 and .149). References can be from anyone who knows you well and thus can speak to your character but generally characters references from work colleagues or employers carry the most weight. The other effective thing you can do to improve the courts view of whether you are a fit and proper person is to complete a driving court. There are a number of courses but our strong recommendation is the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). The QTOP course is well regarded by the courts and can be done in person or online. Details can be found at their website www.qtop.com.au
The court judges whether you will be derived of the means of earning your income based on yours and if applicable your employer’s affidavit. It is critical to your application to show that you will suffer this extreme hardship. This is usually easier to prove for an employed person as your application must be accompanied by an affidavit of your employer that confirms you will be deprived of the means of earning your income if a work licence is not granted. It is harder to prove for self employed people and may require you to provide financial records to the court or to provide an additional affidavit of your accountant or the person you contract to.
Conditions the Court might impose on a work licence
Generally the court will be looking to impose one or more of the following conditions;
- Restricting the days and hours you can drive to the bare minimum to complete you job or business requirements
- Restricting whether you can carry passengers
- Requiring you to complete a log book before driving
- Requiring you to wear your work uniform when driving
- Limiting what classes of vehicle you can drive
Before the Court Date
Your need to make sure that before your court date that;
- You and your employer need to take the Affidavits to a Justice of the Peace or Solicitor or commissioner of declarations and sign each and every page in their presence;
- ensure that the Justice of the Peace or Solicitor witnesses your signature by signing each and every page;
- Attend the Court Registry and collect an application form for a work licence (these are also available at Queensland Transport) file your original signed Affidavits with 2 photocopies. The Court will stamp them, keep the original and give you two copies back. It is also a good time to file any character references you may wish the court to read.
- Then attend the Police Prosecutions unit (which is generally in the police station near the court, you should ask the court registry where this is) file on of the copies of the affidavits and the pink copy of the application for a work licence. Also give them a copy of any character reference you filed at the registry.
- Keep your copies of the affidavits, application form and references and take them to court on the court date.
Things to consider
What should I wear to court?
You should wear the most business like clothes you feel comfortable wearing. Perhaps it best to describe the clothing as what you would wear to a job interview. Please don’t wear clothes you are uncomfortable wearing but don’t wear your work uniform or clothes with prominent logos or writing. Never wear flip flops or shorts to court.
What should I bring to court?
You should have already filed and served on the police prosecutor all your written material.
You should bring a copy of;
- Your signed and witnessed affidavit
- Your Employers signed affidavit (if not self-employed)
- Any character references you wish to present to the court
- The application form you filed
You should also bring your driver drivers licence and around $50 to pay for your new licence at Queensland Transport if a work licence is granted.
Will I get a Criminal Record?
No all traffic convictions are just that, traffic convictions, they are not considered to be criminal charges. The courts are unlikely not to record a traffic conviction unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way. It is very rare to have no conviction recorded.
Will my matter be in the Paper?
Possibly, the court is an open court. What this means is that any person is entitled to watch the court proceedings. This also means that a reporter is entitled to report on what occurred in the court. It is not possible to have the court ban the reporting.
How long will I lose my licence for?
This is almost an impossible question to answer. It depends on your circumstances, your traffic history and criminal history (if any), your reading, the circumstances of your arrest and the Magistrate on the day.
Generally the courts will impose a longer disqualification period where you are granted a work licence. This can be up to double the period you would get without a work licence.
A very general guide to penalties is listed below; please note this is not legal advice as to your potential penalty it is merely a rough general guide. Some Magistrates will increase your disqualification period with a work licence, others will not and this is why we cannot give you an accurate idea of your potential disqualification.
Generally any fine will be referred to SPER. You can arrange with SPER to make payments on the fine or to pay it in one lump sum. For more information on SPER visit www.qld.gov.au/law/fines-and-penalties/state-penalties-enforcement-registry. Alternatively you can pay the fine at the court but there may be a delay as the information from the sentence is entered into the database.
What will happen in the court?
Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your court time.
Find out which court you are in and wait outside that court. Turn off your phone.
Eventually a Police Prosecutor will arrive you should then go and speak to them and confirm who you are and that you are applying for a work licence. Please make sure they have all your affidavits.
At this point is a good idea to ask the police for a copy of your charge documents and traffic history. Do this by asking for your “QP9” (this is the document number and is what it is referred to in the courts). Check the QP9 while you wait for the court to start to ensure it is correct. If it isn’t go and talk to the Police Prosecutor.
The court will start when the Magistrate enters, please stand whenever the depositions clerk or Police Prosecutor calls ‘all rise’ and then wait for the Magistrate to sit down before sitting yourself.
Wait for your matter to be called and then approach the table where the Police Prosecutor is. You will stand to the far left of the table. Remain standing while the Magistrate asks what you are doing. Tell the Magistrate that you are pleading guilty to the charge and that you wish to apply for a work licence. Please address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”. The Magistrate will then ask you to sit.
The Police Prosecutor will read a brief statement of facts and give the Magistrate a copy of your traffic history and breath analyst certificate. All of these documents will be in the QP9 so you should have already seen them.
Once the Police Prosecutor finishes the Magistrate will read the affidavits and if they have any queries they will ask you. Generally we find the Magistrates will not ask many questions. If you have not already filed any character reference tell the Magistrate you have some, the Police Prosecutor take them from you and will give them to the Magistrate.
If a work licence is granted a Magistrate will first give you a disqualification period and then a fine and finally will read out the terms of the work licence being granted.
You will then be asked to sit outside the court or at the registry to wait for your work licence order. It is this document that you take to Queensland Transport. Please check the order is correct before leaving the registry.
For more information on how a Magistrate court works go to www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/courts-and-tribunals/going-to-court and select virtual tour from the menu to the left.
I was granted a work licence – now what?
If you are granted the work licence then before you can drive again then you need to go to Queensland Transport and have your licence re-issued as a work licence. You cannot drive to the Queensland Transport office. Also unless you are returning to work or driving for work purposes from Queensland Transport then you would need a lift home as your work licence would not cover for the trip between Queensland Transport and your home but it would cover you to drive from Queensland Transport back to work.
You must also comply with the requirements of any court order in relation to your licence, this may be the requirement to complete a logbook or similar. Also throughout the period of the work licence you must keep a copy of the court order in any motor vehicle you drive.
If you are caught driving outside the terms of your work licence then you will be disqualified for the balance of the disqualification period left to run plus an additional 3 months.
What if I am not granted a Work Licence?
If you are not granted a work licence then you have the right to appeal and this must be done within one calendar month of your court date. Those time limits are very strict. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide information on appealing the refusal to grant work licence, you would need to obtain urgent legal advice.
What happens after my disqualification period?
After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your proper licence. You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended. Please don’t drive to Queensland Transport as you are not entitled to drive until after you have been to Queensland Transport. Also remember to bring 100 points of ID.
After you have been disqualified you will be on a probationary licence for 1 year, this means that;
- You have only 4 demerit points available
- You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year. This 1 year started at the time your licence was disqualified by the court and the work licence granted so you may only have a few months to run at this point.
You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back.
Should I engage a lawyer to apply for a work Licence?
While we obviously have a vested interest in people using a lawyer for a work licence application we are of the strong opinion that if your licence is critical to continuing to earn your livelihood then you use an experienced traffic lawyer.
Some advantages to using a lawyer for a work licence includes;
- It will increase the change of getting the work licence and the hours you require significantly
- Lawyers know what the Magistrates wants to hear to grant a work licence
- They can help minimise your disqualification period
- They will make the whole process easier and less stressful
- You will have at court someone on your side fighting to get the work licence granted
If I’m going to engage a lawyer why should I engage Clarity Law?
At Clarity Law we are experts in Queensland traffic law. We are in the court every single day helping people with traffic charges. We have successfully argued the court grant over 1,000 work licence applications. You simply can’t find a lawyer with more experience in the courts. We also have upfront fixed fees with no hidden charges.
We cover every court in South East Queensland from Coolangatta all the way to Gympie and out to Toowoomba.
Our offices are located at.
Level 3, 14-18 Duporth Avenue
Bluedog Business Centre
Level 1, 16 McDougall Street
Corporate Centre One
Level 15, 2 Corporate Court
M1 Business Centre
Level 2, 3972 Pacific Highway
Ipswich Corporate Office
16 East Street
North Brisbane Serviced Offices
3/22-24 Strathwyn Street
How do I get more information?
Telephone: 1300 925 255
Contact Form: www.drivinglaw.com.au/contact.html
Disclaimer: This article is for general information and is not legal advice. The law or the practice of the court may have changed since this article was published. Always obtain legal advice if you need a work licence.