Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 14 May 2024 17:26

Special Hardship Licences for Tradies

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In the bustling world of trades, mobility is not just a convenience; it's a necessity. Tradespeople rely on their ability to travel from site to site, carry essential tools and sometimes even transport team members. However, facing a licence suspension can bring this vital mobility to a grinding halt, potentially jeopardizing livelihoods and ongoing projects. This is where the special hardship licence may become an essential option for Queensland tradies.


What is Special Hardship Licence?

A special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence issued when you exceed 2 demerit points on a good driving behaviour period or have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension).  It is also known as a hardship licence, SHO, demerit point licence, good driving behaviour licence or special hardship order.

If you accumulate too many demerit points, Queensland Transport will write to you giving you the choice of a licence suspension (usually 3 months) or a 12 month good behaviour driving period where you have 1 demerit point for 12 months (a notice to choose).  If you choose the suspension or do not reply to this letter, then you have no appeal and cannot get a hardship licence.

If you opt for a good behaviour driving period and lose two or more demerit points during that period, in certain circumstances you can apply to a Magistrates Court for a special hardship order to enable you to drive for particular purposes only.  The grounds for applying are:

  • that losing your licence will result in extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of the means of earning a living; or

  • that losing your licence will cause you or your family severe or unusual hardship

Where you have exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (high speed suspension) then once that offence is finalised (generally when the speeding ticket is paid) Queensland Transport will send a letter with a date your licence will be suspended for 6 months and it is at this point you may be apply for a special hardship licence.



Eligibility Criteria

The path to securing a special hardship licence comes with strict eligibility criteria. Understanding these requirements is the first step towards preparing a strong application:

  • Licence Status: Applicants must hold an open or provisional Queensland driver's licence. Importantly, if your licence has been disqualified by a court or suspended by Queensland Transport (excluding suspensions related to unpaid SPER debts) in the last five years, you may not be eligible.
  • Reason for Suspension: A special hardship licence is available to those who have exceeded the demerit points on a good behaviour period or have been caught driving over 40 km/h above the speed limit. It is not available for court-ordered disqualifications, drink driving offences (where a work licence is required), learners licence holders, or those without a licence.
  • Driving Conditions: If granted, the licence will specify conditions, generally allowing you to drive for work purposes and/or certain defined occasions, such as taking someone to regular medical treatments or driving children to school when no public transport options exist.


Applying for a Special Hardship Licence

The application process for a special hardship licence requires careful preparation and an understanding of the legal framework. From gathering the necessary documentation to presenting a compelling case in court, the guidance of experienced traffic law professionals can be invaluable.

The application must have detailed affidavits filed before the court date addressing all the things the court must consider when deciding whether to grant a special hardship licence or not.

Clarity Law Queensland, with its extensive experience in traffic law, offers expert assistance in navigating the complexities of applying for a special hardship licence. Our team is dedicated to helping tradespeople maintain their livelihoods and continue contributing to their communities without interruption.

If you're a tradie facing a licence suspension and believe you meet the eligibility criteria for a special hardship licence, don't hesitate to reach out for professional advice and support. The road ahead might seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you can secure the outcome you need to keep your business moving forward.


Key Benefits of Hiring Clarity Law to Represent you

Obtaining a special hardship licence can significantly mitigate the impact of a licence suspension. Here are the key benefits for tradespeople:

  • Increased Success Rate: With the right legal guidance and a compelling application, tradespeople have a strong chance of being granted a special hardship licence. This ensures minimal disruption to their business operations.

  • All Necessary Driving Permissions: A special hardship licence can be tailored to meet the specific needs of tradespeople. This means getting the approval to drive for work purposes during the days and hours necessary to fulfil job obligations.

  • Passenger Carrying Capability: Unlike standard licence restrictions, a special hardship licence can allow the holder to transport passengers. This is particularly beneficial for tradespeople who need to carry team members to various job sites.

Remember you get one change at this, if the application for a  special hardship order is denied you wont be able to drive for 6 moths at least.


FAQs about Hardship Licences

What happens if the hardship licence is granted?

  • If your hardship licence is granted, you need to visit Queensland Transport to have your licence re-issued as a special hardship licence. However, unless you are driving for work purposes or returning to work from Queensland Transport, you would need alternative transportation as your licence won't cover the trip between Queensland Transport and your home. During the validity of the hardship licence, you must comply with any court order requirements, such as completing a logbook, and keep a copy of the court order in any vehicle you drive.

What if the court doesn’t grant the hardship licence?

  • If the court decides not to grant a special hardship licence, there's currently no option to appeal this decision. It's crucial to ensure your application is accurate to avoid refusal by the Magistrate. Legal advice might be necessary to stay updated on any changes regarding appeals.

How many demerit points do I have on a hardship licence?

  • On a hardship licence, you have no demerit points. If you accumulate demerit points during this period, you risk losing your driver’s licence for double the initial suspension period.

Can I vary the hardship licence after it is granted?

  • Yes, if your circumstances change, you can apply to the court to vary your current hardship licence order. Refer to our article on varying a special hardship order for more information.

What happens if I’m caught driving outside the terms of the hardship licence?

  • Driving outside the terms of the hardship licence results in its cancellation, along with an additional three-month disqualification period. You may also face fines and be required to appear in court.

What happens when the hardship licence ends?

  • At the end of the special hardship order (SHO) period, you can return to Queensland Transport to have your licence reissued without the 'X3' condition code at no charge. Regarding demerit points incurred before the SHO and still on your record, it's advised to clarify with Queensland Transport upon reissuance of your licence. Note that demerit points from high-speed offences remain for three years.


What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  The money goes into a trust account and cannot be taken by us until the matter is completed.

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure that although we are not the cheapest our prices, given our experience, is very competitive

We charge $2,200 for drafting the affidavits and appearing in Court to argue the special hardship licence should be granted.


Which areas do you service

We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, in Strathpine, Loganholme, Ipswich and Hervey Bay but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office.  We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.

Most of the information we require you can complete with an online form from your phone or tablet.

You will also have the direct email address and mobile phone number of your lawyer so you can ask any question you may have.  We believe in given client the very best experience possible and that starts with great communication and fast responses to your queries.  Our client services manager Belinda is also just a phone call or email away to answer any questions you have.

We cover the following court in Queensland.



Beenleigh            Brisbane              Cleveland           

Holland Park       Pine Rivers          Richlands            

Sandgate             Wynnum


Sunshine Coast

Caboolture         Caloundra           Gympie

Maroochydore   Nambour             Noosa



Gold Coast

Beaudesert        Coolangatta        Southport


Darling Downs

Gatton   Toowoomba   Ipswich   Dalby   Kingaroy


Fraser Coast

Maryborough    Hervey Bay  Bundaberg



How do I get more help or engage you to act for me? 

We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken over 1,000 successful special hardship licence applications throughout Queensland.

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about special hardships. You will not be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, failing to get a special hardship licence or one that is too restrictive will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on Special Hardship Orders on our blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

www.drivinglaw.com.au/about-us/our-team/121-steven-brough.html | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.