We are asked everyday by people whether they can get a work licence, day licence or special hardship licence if they are disqualified by the courts or about to be.
In Queensland there are only two licences to allow a person to drive during a period of licence disqualification or suspension, these are work licences and special hardship licences.
A work licence is only available to people who are charged with a drink or drug driving offence and need to drive for work purposes. The Government however only allows certain people to apply for a work licence. To apply for a work licence you must be on an open Queensland drivers licence and the alcohol reading must be no more than .149. You cannot apply if in the last five years you have had your licence suspended (unless it’s a SPER suspension), cancelled or disqualified. This applies regardless of your circumstances (eg. You will lose your job, you can’t get your children to school etc). A work licence must be applied for at the time of sentencing for the drink or drug driving charge, it cannot be applied for later. For full details on applying for a work licence see our work licence page.
A special hardship licence is only available to Queensland open or provisional licence holder who elect to go on a good driving period and lose 2 or more demerit points during that one year period. A special hardship can also be applied for people who drive more than 40 km/h over the speed limit (high speed offence). Like a work licence a person with a disqualification or suspension of the licence in the last 5 years cannot apply (a SPER suspension is an exception). Unlike a work licence a Court can allow a person to drive for things other than for work purposes. These need to be extreme circumstances such as on-going specialist, medical or counselling appointments.
The rules for a special hardship licence application are very complex, more details can be found on our special hardship licence page.
There are no licences available if you have already been disqualified by a Court and subsequently find you need a licence nor are there licences available if you have been charged with offences such as demerit point unlicensed driving. If you do not qualify for a work licence or special hardship licence and are facing a disqualification by the courts then you will not be allowed to drive during that disqualification.
This area of law is changing constantly and you should get good legal help if you need to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence.
This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice. For more information on work licences and special hardship orders visit the driving law website or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.
This article is for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
We often get calls from people needing a special hardship licence for work purposes who also desire to be able to drive their children to school or other activities under that hardship licence.
First a bit of background, a special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence that may be available to people who exceed their demerit points, elect to go on a 12 month good driving behaviour period and then during that period incur further demerit points. In those circumstances unless a person applies for a special hardship licence then they will have their licence suspended for a minimum of 6 months and be unable to drive. A person who has their licence suspended for exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (a high speed suspension) may also be eligible to apply for a special hardship licence. For more information about special hardship licences see our webpage - www.drivinglaw.com.au/hardship-licences.html
The special hardship licence is only available to people who are on a Queensland open or provisional licence and who have in the previous 5 years not had a licence suspension or disqualification (excluding SPER suspensions).
The special hardship licence is available where if the court were not to grant the order the applicant or their family would;
1. suffer extreme hardship by depriving them of the means of earning a living; or
2. suffer severe and unusual hardship for some other reason
To apply for a special hardship licence a person must lodge affidavits for themselves and their employer (if they are not self-employed) and must appear in their local court before a Magistrate to argue for the special hardship licence to be granted. For information on the timeline of a special hardship application see our previous article www.drivinglaw.com.au/blog/item/6-special-hardship-application-time-frames.html
In most cases it is relatively easy to establish that a person would suffer financial hardship if they lost their licence and as a result could not work. What is much tougher is being able to establish that a person would suffer severe and unusual hardship if they could not drive their children to school or other activities.
It is important to note that a special hardship licence is not a licence to be able to drive whenever a person desires, the order for the special hardship licence, if granted by the Magistrate, will restrict the hours, days, reasons and places a person can drive. The order will also restrict who a person can have in the car with them. Therefore to be able to drive children a person would need to first convince the court that they or their family would suffer severe and unusual hardship if not able to drive the children and if that is established then the court will need to specify exactly where and when the children could be driven.
The general attitude of most Queensland Magistrates is that they will not grant a person the ability to drive their children to school or other activities. To be able to convince the Magistrate to grant the right to drive children to school generally a person would have to prove that;
1. There is no public transport available to transport the children to school;
2. There is no one else who could drive the children i.e a partner or family member (further Affidavits on behalf of these people may be required in some circumstances);
3. The hours the parents work is such that driving the children to school is the only viable option to get them to school; or
4. The children have special needs that means driving them to school is the only option.
When it comes to being able to drive the children to sporting or other activates the courts are even more reluctant to allow this. Generally a person would only be able to drive their children to these activities if they could prove that
1. The children have special needs such that the sporting or other activities help with or
2. The children are competing at such a high level that if the parents cannot drive them they are likely to suffer severe and unusual hardship
The court would be looking for affidavit evidence from a doctor or a coach confirming the need to drive the children.
Due to the complexity of special hardship licence application, especially when requesting the licence to cover children’s needs it is important to engage a professional to represent you.
Clarity Law is Queensland’s leading traffic law firm covering every court is South East Queensland.
We undertake special hardship applications in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients. Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do. We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week
The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.
Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.