Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Monday, 07 September 2015 19:09

All you need to know about section 79E applications

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When a person has committed a drink driving offence over the middle alcohol limit or over the high alcohol limit (or UIL), or committed a Drive under the Influence of Drugs, then their licence is going to be immediately suspended under section 79B of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act, see our article on driving under a police suspension.

This means that you are no longer able to drive until your matter has been finalised in court. This could be a few weeks, or in some cases, a few months.

During this time off the road, life must go on. While many are familiar with a work licence, that is only applicable when a person has committed a drink driving offence up to the midrange (BAC between .050 and .149%BAC), they often have to wait until their matter can be listed for a work licence date after their first appearance date. Example, in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court work licence applications are heard once a month.

There exists an option for a person who is eligible to apply for an Emergency Licence to continue to drive for a purpose under section 79E of TORUM.


What is a 79E Emergency License?

An Emergency Licence is an application that is made to the court when a person’s licence has been suspended due to the commission of a relevant traffic offence, in most cases a midrange or UIL offence. 

A section 79E application can be made to allow a person to continue to drive for work or to drive for other non-work specified purposes – where not being able to drive would cause them severe and unusual hardship.


Who is eligible?

A person is eligible to apply provided:

  • at the time of the offence, you held a current Queensland open driver licence

  • at the time of the offence, you were not driving for your job

  • at the time of the offence you were not already driving under a work licence

  • at the time of the offence you did not have any outstanding drink/drug driving matters or unlicensed driving matters before the court

  • at the time you were not driving whilst s79B suspended

  • at the time you were not on a good driver behaviour period

  • in the last five years, you have not been convicted anywhere of a drink driving offence or failing to provide a specimen of breath or blood

  • in the last five years, you have not been disqualified from holding a licence or had your licence suspended or cancelled in Queensland (this does not include a SPER suspension that did not go to court


When to Apply?

There is a statutory timeframe on applying for an Emergency Licence of 21 days after their licence was suspended by police.


What information must you provide to the court?

To make an application for an Emergency Licence you must provide the court with an affidavit of yourself and, if not self-employed, an affidavit of your employer.  Your affidavit will need to address your personal, work, financial and driving circumstances.

Your employer’s affidavit must also address why you need a licence for your job and an explicit statement that you will lose your job unless you are issued with an Emergency Licence.

If you are seeking to drive for non-work related reasons, your affidavit will need to contain sufficient information to show how not being able to drive will cause you and your family severe and unusual hardship.

The affidavit must be in the correct format, contain all the necessary information to satisfy the Magistrate and properly witnessed.  The affidavits must also be accompanied by an application form.

If required by the court, yourself and your employer may be required to give evidence in the witness box in front of the Magistrate.

You will also need to file an application you obtain from either the Department of Transport and Main Roads or the Court registry called a Section 79E Application Form. The Court will give you a hearing date for your application, often prior to your Notice to Appear date.

The application and affidavits need to be filed with the court and then served on the local police prosecution unit well before your court date. This needs to be done at least 3 days prior to the hearing date.

One of the main reasons Emergency Licence applications are refused by Magistrates is that the affidavits are not correct or inadequate.


How does the Court decide my application?

The first thing to note with this application, you are not entering a plea of guilty to the charge at this stage. This application is to allow you to continue to drive in the interim period.

The Court needs to be satisfied of the following:

  1. Whether you are a fit and proper person to be allowed to continue to drive;

  2. If there is an unacceptable risk of your committing further offences if given the opportunity to continue to drive;

  3. Whether you or your family will suffer sever financial hardship by depriving you of the means of earning of your living; and/or

  4. Whether you or your family will suffer severe and unusual hardship other than by depriving you of the means of earning your living.

The Court will make these decision on the basis of the information provided in the affidavit material and by looking at your criminal and traffic history.


Restrictions on an Emergency Licence

The Court will restrict how the Emergency Licence may be used by you, for example the court may;

  • restrict the times when you may drive

  • restrict the purposes for which you may be able to drive

  • restrict the class of vehicle you may drive;

  • require you to complete a logbook

  • require you to wear a work uniform

  • restrict who you may carrying as a passenger in the vehicle


What can I do to improve my chances of getting a Emergency Licence?

You need to have a properly drafted affidavit that covers everything the court needs to know.  This is the best way to get an Emergency Licence. 

In addition the court will often take into account any character references you have obtained.

You should also complete a driving course such at Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). This course is often the factor that sways a Magistrate into granting the application.  We are proud to be a sponsor of QTOP.


Will my Disqualification start from this date?

No. A disqualification will only commence from the time and date you plea guilty.


Do I have to apply for a work licence if I apply for an Emergency Licence?

No. There is no requirement for you to intend to apply for a work licence if you are issued an Emergency Licence. It might be the case that you are not eligible to apply for a work licence, such as a UIL offence or you may be able to make something work once you have been disqualified e.g you cannot afford to be off the road today but you could make it work in a month or two.


Can I vary the work licence after it is granted?

Yes if your circumstances change you can apply to the court to vary your current order.


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

You will lose your work licence for whatever time is left on it and in addition you will be disqualified for a minimum of 3 months up to 9 months.


Should I get a lawyer to represent me?

In a word, yes.  Although you are free to represent yourself we have found that unrepresented people generally are less likely to be granted the application because their paperwork is defective or does not adequately cover all the requirements of the Act and Regulation.  Remember you get one shot at this, you cannot reapply if you are refused. 

Common problems we have seen with unrepresented applications include;

  • failing to have the Court grant the licence for all hours you work

  • failing to have the Court grant the licence for all days you work

  • failing to take into account the time you have to leave for work in the morning or return after work

  • failing to have the additional necessary non-work related conditions granted

  • failing to have the licence issued for all the vehicle types you need to drive

  • failing to have the order allow you to carry passengers

  • not providing the correct information to the court


Why should I engage Clarity Law?

Quite frankly we care about getting the right outcome for our clients and helping them through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

In the face of a traffic charge, selecting the right legal representation is paramount, and Clarity Law offers a unique blend of proficiency and empathy that sets us apart. Our firm is dedicated to providing clarity in the often complex world of traffic law. We believe that every client deserves a clear understanding of their rights and the legal process they're navigating.

Our experienced team of lawyers approaches each case with a commitment to open communication, ensuring you're informed every step of the way. With a proven track record of securing favourable outcomes, we have the expertise to navigate even the most intricate legal challenges.

At Clarity Law, we strive not only to be your staunch advocates but also to provide a supportive, understanding environment during this trying time. Choosing Clarity Law means choosing a team that will tirelessly work to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

You can read more about our founder, Steven Brough’s, journey to starting Clarity Law by clicking here


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

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 at the bottom right and leave us a message


We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on our traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:


Last modified on Wednesday, 18 October 2023 16:13
Jack Marshall

Jack is a former soldier and now a traffic lawyer with Clarity Law.  Jack appears in courts throughout South East Queensland.

https://www.drivinglaw.com.au/about-us/our-team/281-jack-marshall.html | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.