Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Wednesday, 26 April 2023 14:14

Work Licence's and Drug Driving Charges

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We often have clients charged with drug driving ask if you are charged with drug driving can you get a work licence?


What is a work licence?

A work licence is a special type of authority issued by the court that allows you to keep driving for work purposes even though your licence becomes disqualified by the court for drug driving.


What are the drug driving laws in Queensland?

In Queensland we have 2 types of driving charges relating to the presence of drugs in your system, these are;

  1. Driving with a relevant drug present
  2. Driving under the influence of a drug


What is a relevant drug?

In Queensland a relevant drug is one of 3 drugs:

  1. Methylamphetamine – also known as speed or ice
  2. MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy
  3. THC – the active ingredient in cannabis


What other drugs can cause a drug driving charge?

For a charge of driving with the relevant drug in your system then the drug must only be one of the relevant drugs listed above.

However any drugs you take whether they are legal, illegal, prescribed or not if the police believe those drugs have so negatively affected your ability to drive then they can charge you with being under the influence of that drug. 

Now that we understand the types of drug driving charges in Queensland its important to then understand how those charge affect the ability to make an application for a work licence.

If you want a further summary visit our guide to drug driving laws in Queensland.


Am I eligible to get a work licence?

To be eligible to apply for a work licence you must:

  1. 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. 
  2. The drug driving offence must be been driving with a relevant drug and not drug driving under the influence.
  3. 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
  4. Not have been driving under a licence a learner, provisional, probationary or restricted license.


In addition in the last five years you must not have:

  • been convicted anywhere of drink driving or drug 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


Why is a work licence important for drug driving charges?

In Queensland we have mandatory periods of disqualification.  This means that if you plead guilty to drug driving then you are going to be disqualified for a period of time.  A work licence would be important to enable a person to keep driving, for work, during that disqualification.


Can I get a work licence?

If you are charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle with cannabis, ecstasy or ICE in your saliva or blood, in other words a relevant drug charge, then you may be able to get a work licence but this must be done at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of a drug you cannot apply for a work licence or indeed any type of licence to keep driving during your disqualification. 

In summary people charged with driving with a relevant drug in the system may be able to apply for a work licence, those charged with driving under the influence of a drug definitely cannot.


If the work licence is granted how does it work?

A work licence if granted allows a person to drive for purposes directly connected with the means of earning an income.  A work licence is available to employed and self-employed people.  A work licence will allow you to drive to and from your place of work using the shortest route possible as well as drive for any required work duties.

To make an application for a work 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 a work licence.

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.


For more information on applying for a work licence if charged with drug driving or go to our work licence webpage for more information or to our main drug driving page.


Last modified on Tuesday, 23 May 2023 16:46
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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.