Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Monday, 11 September 2023 11:19

Should I bother applying for a work licence or just take the disqualification?

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Deciding whether or not to pursue a work licence is a question that a person charged with drink or drug driving needs to ponder when they commence their matter.

This article is not going to comprehensively cover work licences, we have a detailed article on that topic here. In short, a work licence is a type of restricted licence that a person applies for to allow them to continue to drive for a specified purpose whilst their licence is disqualified for certain drink or drug driving offences.


What does the court look at when deciding if to grant a work licence?

When making an application for a work licence, the court must be satisfied of 2 things: The applicant is a fit and proper person to be allowed a restricted licence, and that refusal to grant a restricted licence will cause the applicant severe financial hardship by depriving them of their means of earning their living. The court will only grant a restricted licence if both criteria are met.

It seems, on the face of it a pretty obvious choice doesn’t it? If I can keep driving when I have lost my licence for my offence, of course I would want that….wouldn’t I?

While it is true that a work licence allows you to continue to drive during your disqualification period, it is as the name suggests only for work purposes. There are significant restrictions placed on you and serious consequences of breaching those restrictions, even once.


Why wouldn’t I apply for work licence?

There are other important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to apply for a work licence, chiefly – am I content with the court giving me a lengthier period of disqualification than I otherwise would have gotten if I had not applied for a work licence? The court is empowered under the Transport Operations (Road-use Management) Act to impose a longer period of disqualification because of being granted a work licence. This by law is up to double. This could mean that by way of example, if the court considers 3 months an appropriate disqualification, they may decide to double that to 6 months. It is important to note that it is not a mandatory doubling, however most magistrates do exercise this discretion. 

Making the decision on whether or not you want to apply for a work licence will depend entirely on your personal circumstances. For example,

  1. Tom – Tom is a truck driver, he is required to drive a his C class vehicle to his employers depot, then make long haul deliveries in his HR truck. Tom is the only person working in his family and will lose his employment if he doesn’t have a licence. Tom does not really have a choice and will need to pursue a work licence.
  2. Rebecca – Rebecca is a warehouse assistant who works some distance from her home. The route is service by some public transport and part of Rebeccas role is to operate a forklift on public roads. Rebecca could maybe make it work to not have a licence for a shorter period of time. Rebecca has more flexibility in making her decision.

It will ultimately come down to need and personal circumstances. If it is likely that you will receive a shorter period of disqualification, such as the minimum (or close to) then it will be on the applicant to decide whether or not to make such an application. NOTE There is no way to guarantee that a person will get the minimum disqualification, however a skilled traffic lawyer will be able to give quite accurate estimate on anticipated disqualifications based on the QP9, history and any material that a person obtains.


Another issue that could stop someone applying for a work licence is if they are mid range and must install an interlock device.  Our main article on drink driving has information on interlocks but in general if you are a mid range drink driver applying for a work licence then you will need to install a interlock device on every vehicle you intend to use during your work licence (and even after your work licence as the requirement to install a interlock is for 1 year).  For many people this would be impractical and make them question whether they should apply for a work licence.

These issues are complicated so always seek legal advice before deciding whether or not to apply for a work licence.



Returning to the question, should I apply for a work licence or just take the disqualification? The answer depends entirely on your circumstances. If you need to drive for work and will lose your job or business, then yes more than likely you would want to apply; however, if you could arrange alternate transport or work something out then angling for a lower disqualification might suit your circumstances best.

The only one who can make that balance, is you. Your traffic lawyer will empower you will all the information you need to make that informed decision – but it is ultimately a decision of your own.

If you require more information on work licences, including what courts look for with specific occupations (such as disability support workers and carers), we invite you to read our extensive articles on work licences, or contact our fantastic team who can give you as much information as you need to make an informed and measured decision. 


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
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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.


Need more information?

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


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Last modified on Monday, 11 September 2023 14:11
Jack Marshall

Jack is a former soldier and now a traffic lawyer with Clarity Law.  Jack appears in courts throughout South East Queensland. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.