Clarity Law - drivinglaw.com.au

South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

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  • Driving children under a Special Hardship Licence

    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 hardshipif 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

    Disclaimer:

    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.

  • Hardship Licences

     

    Special hardship licences or hardship licences are an option the Queensland Magistrates courts have to allow a person to continue to drive even though their licence will be suspended by Queensland Transport. Though it is similar to a work licence it is actually a separate type of application.

     

    The basics

    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.  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.

     

    Can I apply?

    If you have had your licence disqualified by a court in the last five years you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship licence. In most cases, if your licence has been suspended by Queensland Transport in the last five years you will also not be able to apply for a special hardship licence unless that suspension related to an unpaid SPER debt.   You must also hold an open or provisional Queensland drivers’ licence to apply for a hardship licence.

    If you are granted a special hardship order you can only drive in accordance with the conditions in the special hardship order. Generally, the licence conditions will specify you may drive for work purposes and/or certain defined occasion’s e.g.  taking someone to hospital on a regular basis to receive treatment or taking children to school where there is no public transport options at all.

    A special hardship licence is only available where you have exceeded the demerit points on a good driver behaviour period or have exceeded 40 km/h.  You cannot get a special hardship licence because;

    • the court has already disqualified you but you need to drive
    • you have been convicted of a drink driving offence and need a licence (see work licence application)
    • you are on a learners licence but need to drive to work without someone else in the car to supervise
    • you don’t have a licence or are on a learners licence but need to drive

     Queensland Transport also lists the requirements for a special hardship licence on their website.

     

    Where and when can I apply?

    There is no time limit for applying for a special hardship licence.  The application for the special hardship licence however must be undertaken in the Magistrate’s court nearest to where you live. Once you have filed your application and supporting documents you will be given a court date and you can drive as you like up until midnight before that Court date. You will need to contact your local court to check that it has jurisdiction to hear your application, just because the court is close to you doesn’t mean it necessarily is the correct court. The Government has a list of courthouses and their contact details.

     

    What’s the difference between a special hardship order, restricted licence, demerit point licence or hardship licence?

    Nothing, they are all terms used by people to describe the same thing.  The terms restricted licence, demerit point licence, high speed licence or day lcicence are quite commonly used by the general public.  In the court lawyers, the Queensland Transport prosecutor and the Magistrates generally use the terms special hardship order or “SHO”.  People also quite often refer to the process as a "work licence application" however this is not correct as a work licence is only for drink or drug drivers.

     

    Will I get a special hardship licence?

    Special hardship licences have become more common as the amount of speed cameras and other police enforcement on Queensland roads have increased.  The courts have recently begun cracking down on the issue of special hardship licences; it is no longer as easy to get a special hardship licence as it once was however with the use of proper material and submissions to the Court we can maximise your chance of getting a hardship licence and indeed our success rate is over 99%.

    Any application for a special hardship licence will require detailed affidavits from yourself and if applicable, your employer, you cannot simply lodge letters from yourself or your employer.  The court must be satisfied that you will lose your means of earning your income or there is some other issue that without a licence will cause you to suffer a severe or unusual hardship  The hardship cannot be a mere inconvenience or difficulty, it must be a extreme, severe or unusual hardship.  The court will need to be convinced no public or alternative transport is available to you.

    The application is heard before a Magistrate who will decide whether you get the special hardship licence based on your affidavit material and what you say in the court.

     

    What needs to be filed with the court?

    You must file in court and serve on Queensland Transport the following;

    1. Your affidavit
    2. Your employer’s affidavit (if you are an employee)
    3. A special hardship application form

     

    What needs to be in my affidavit?

    Your affidavit is the key document the court will look at, if its wrong, if it doesn’t contain all the information necessary or if its poorly written then the court will not grant the application for a special hardship order.

    The affidavit must contain enough information to convince the court you are a fit and proper person to be granted a hardship licence and the reasons if the application is not granted that you will suffer extreme hardship.

    It is almost impossible for a non lawyer to get the affidavits right but your affidavit would have to contain at least the following:

    Name, age, address, who you live with

    Family details

    Details of your employment or business like

                    How long you have work with your employer/business

                    What your work consists of

                    What driving you do for work

                    What days/hours you work

                    Why you need a hardship licence

                    What will happen without the licence

                    Why no other options such as taxis are appropriate

    You and your family’s finances including:

                    Income earned

                    Expenses

                    Liabilities

    If you are wanting to drive for non-work reasons full details of this and why the court should grant it

    Remember it needs to be an affidavit, a statutory declaration or letter are not good enough. The affidavit must be signed by you before a lawyers or Justice of the Peace.

    The biggest reason people fail in being granted a special hardship licence is their affidavit isn’t good enough.

     

    What factors does the court look in deciding whether to grant the hardship licence?

    In order to be granted a special hardship license the court must consider;

    • If you are a fit and proper person to continue to drive, having regard to your traffic history and the safety of other road users and the public generally; and
    • If the application is refused it would cause you;
    • extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living; or
    • severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than by depriving you of your means of earning a living

    In essence the court looks at you, your traffic history and your reasons for needing the hardship order. Remember the test is extreme hardship or severe and unusual hardship so things like dropping children at school or driving elderly relatives to medical appointments or shopping can be very hard to convince a Magistrate to grant.

     

    What can I do to improve my chances of getting a hardship licence?

    You need to have a properly drafted affidavit that covers everything the court needs to know. If this is done right you have a good chance of being granted the licence. Its impossible to stress how important the affidavit is this is why engaging an experienced traffic law firm is so important.

    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.

     

    Does my employer have to know about my application?

    If you are not a contractor or self employed but are employed then your employer must sign an affidavit confirming you will be deprived of your income if the application isn’t granted, So yes if employed you employer will need to know about the application.

     

    Will the court allow me to just drive as normal during a special hardship order

    No, the court will specify when you can drive and for what purposes. The legislation does allow the court to allow you to drive for both work and certain personal reasons. It is generally hard to convince the court to allow you any personal driving under the order.

     

    I’m self employed or own the business can I apply for a hardship licence?

    Yes, you can.

     

    What will happen in court?

    You should arrive at court no less than 30 minutes before your court time. You should have filed and served all your material well prior to your court date.

    Find out which court you are in and wait outside that court.

    Eventually a Queensland Transport Prosecutor should arrive you should then go and speak to them and confirm who you are and that you are applying for a special hardship licence. Please make sure they have all your affidavits.

    They will indicate whether or not they oppose the application and if they do why. If they do oppose the application you should ask if there is any course or other things you can do so they will not object.

    The court will start when the Magistrate enters, please stand whenever the depositions clerk calls ‘all rise’ and then wait for the Magistrate to sit down before sitting yourself.

    Wait for your matter to be called and then approach the table where the Prosecutor is. You will stand to the far left of the table. Remain standing while the Magistrate asks what you are doing. Tell the Magistrate that you are applying for a special hardship licence.Please address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”. The Magistrate will then ask you to sit.

    The Prosecutor will tell the court their position on the application

    Once the Prosecutor finishes the Magistrate will read the affidavits and then ask you questions and give you a chance to explain why the application should be granted.

    The court may restrict the hours and circumstances in which you can drive. Generally unless there is a very good reason the court will not grant you a 24 hr / 7 day licence. The court can only grant you a special hardship licence for the licence classes you already hold.

    The court will be looking to impose one or more of the following conditions;

    • Restricting the days and hours you can drive
    • Restricting whether you can carry passengers
    • Requiring you to complete a logbook
    • Requiring you to wear your work uniform when driving

     

    If the hardship licence is granted what happens next?

    If you are granted the licence then before you can drive again then you need to go to Queensland Transport and have your licence re-issued as a special hardship Licence. Also unless you are returning to work or driving for work purposes from Queensland Transport then you would need a lift home as your Licence would not cover for the trip between Queensland Transport and your home but it would cover you to drive from Queensland Transport back to work.

    You must also comply with the requirements of any court order in relation to your licence, this may be the requirement to complete a logbook or similar. Also throughout the period of the special hardship Licence you must keep a copy of the court order in any motor vehicle you drive.

     

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

    The courts have recently decided that you cannot appeal against a decision not to grant a special hardship licence. This may change as the appeal courts look at other cases and therefore you will need to get legal advice on this. Its just better to do the application correctly so the Magistrate doesn’t refuse it.

     

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

    None. If you incur demerit points on a special hardship licence then you will lose your driver’s licence for double the period of the initial suspension.

     

    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 order.

     

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

    You will lose your special hardship licence for what ever time is left on it plus you will be disqualified for another 3 months. You will also need to attend the court and likely be fined as well.

     

    What happens when the hardship licence ends?

    When the SHO period has ended, you may return to Queensland Transport to have your licence reissued (at no charge) without the ‘X3’ condition code. We have received conflicting advice from Queensland Transport in regards to what happens to your demerit points incurred before the SHO was granted and that are still “on your record”, our understanding is that you will have no demerit points after the SHO finishes but you should check this when getting your licence back after the SHO finishes. If there is a high speed offence then the 8 demerit points remain for 3 years,

     

    Do I really need a lawyer?

    Should you engage a traffic lawyer to represent you? In a word yes.  Although you are free to represent yourself we have found that unrepresented people are often not granted the application because their paperwork is defective or does not adequately cover all the requirements of the legislation.  Remember you get one shot at this, you cannot reapply if you are refused.  Our experience is that less than 50% of unrepresented people are granted a special hardship licence.  

    Common problems we have seen with people acting for themselves in seeking a special hardship order 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 licence issued for all the vehicle types you need to drive
    • Failing to have the order allow you to carry passengers
    • Failing to specify other occasions when you may be able to drive
    • Failing to address before the court a bad traffic history
    • Lodging a letter from an employer rather than an affidavit

    Remember if you are unsuccessful with your special hardship licence then you will not be able to drive at all for a minimum of 6 months.

     

    Why engage Clarity Law and not another law firm?

    We are Queensland’s leading traffic and driving law firm.  We undertake special hardship applications every week throughout South East Queensland. We know the Magistrates and what it takes to be successful in an application.  No other law firm in Queensland would have likely undertaken more special hardship applications than Clarity Law.  We have made over 1,000 successful special hardship licence applications and no firm can match our experience level.  We know what driving courses or workshops the Magistrate will want to see you attend and know how to put a person’s traffic history in the best light.  We have acted for doctors, lawyers, tradies, students, business owners, professionals, nurses, school teachers in fact we have probably acted for every profession or trade in Queensland.

     

    What courts do you appear in?

    We appear in every Court in South East Queensland.  Just some of the Court we appear in are;

    1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
    2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
    3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
    4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
    5. Gympie Magistrates Court
    6. Holland park Magistrates Court
    7. Ipswich Magistrates Court 
    8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
    9. Noosa Magistrates Court
    10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
    11. Southport Magistrates Court
    12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
    13. Wynnum Magistrates Court

    For a full list of courts we appear in click here.

     

    What do you charge?

    We charge a fixed fee of $1,800 for all the work to get a special hardship including;

    • Drafting all the necessary affidavits
    • Advising you of any courses or workshops that will help your application
    • Addressing any concerns that Queensland Transport may have with your application
    • Keeping you informed as to what will happen with the application process
    • Appearing with you at the court to argue for the special hardship licence to be granted

     

    Will I need to come into the office to see you?

    We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Strathpine, Loganholme and Ipswich 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.

     

    If I contacted you what would occur?

    If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 40 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your charge, all at no cost.

    If you want to engage us then it’s easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don’t want to engage us or want to engage another firm that’s fine, you won’t be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your special hardship licence application. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

     

    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 South East 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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    4. Visit our main website page

    We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba.  We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people. 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:

     

    This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

  • Work Licences

     If you have been charged with a drink or drug driving offence in Queensland you may be entitled to apply for a work licence.  A work licence (also sometimes spelt work license) is also known as a restricted licence, workers licence, section 87 licence or day licence.

    It is also critical to understand that the work licence must be applied for before the court imposes a disqualification period for the drink or drug driving offence. Once the court imposes the licence disqualification you cannot apply for a work licence.

     

    The Basics

     

    Who can apply for a work licence?

    To apply for a work licence you must satisfy the following conditions:

    • 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
    • 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) and
    • your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was below 0.15% or if it is a drug driving offence the charge must be one of driving with relevant drug in the system not driving under the influence of a drug.

     

    Who cannot apply?

    You cannot apply for a work licence if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

    • at the time of the offence, you were driving a motor vehicle that you were not authorised to drive under an open or provisional licence
    • you held a provisional licence or learners permit
    • your blood alcohol level exceeded 0% while driving a truck or taxi or
    • your BAC reading was above .15 (high range drink driving) or you were charged with driving under the influence of a drug.

    If you have a drink or drug driving matter and are not eligible to apply for a work licence then we can help minimise your period of licence disqualification just visit our drink driving or drug driving webpage for more information.

     

    What is a work licence?

    A work licence allows a person convicted of certain drink or drug driving offences 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.

    A work licence cannot under any circumstances allow you to drive for personal reasons such as shopping, picking up your children, going to the doctor etc.

     

    What’s the difference between a day licence, restricted licence and a work licence?

    Nothing, they are all terms used by people to describe the same thing.  The terms restricted licence or day licence are quite commonly used by the public.  In the court lawyers, the police and the Magistrates generally use the terms work licence or section 87 licence.  Queensland Transport tends to use the term restricted licence.

     

    Getting a Work Licence

     

    When to apply

    You must make your application for a work licence in the same court that you required to attend for your drink or drug driving charge.  You must also make the application BEFORE you are found guilty of the drink or drug driving offence.  If you are disqualified by the court but later on find you need a work licence then it is too late.

     

    When will the application be heard?

    Generally your application for a work licence will not be heard on the first time that you appear in the court for the drug or drink driving offence.  For instance, courts, such as the Brisbane Magistrates Court, Caboolture, Southport or Maroochydore Magistrates Court will adjourn the hearing of the application for a work licence to another date a few weeks into the future.  Other courts such as Wynnum, Pine Rivers, Holland Park might hear a work licence application on the first court date.

     

    What information must you provide to the court?

    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.

    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 called Application for an Order directing the issue of a Restricted Licence (s87) (Form F3181).

    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.

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

     

    Things to consider

     

    What should I wear to court?

    You should wear the most business like clothes you feel comfortable wearing. Perhaps it best to describe the clothing as what you would wear to a job interview.  Don’t wear your work uniform or clothes with prominent logos or writing. Never wear flip flops or shorts to court.

     

    What should I bring to court?

    You should have already filed in the court and served on the police prosecutor all your written material.

    You should bring a copy of;

    1. Your signed and witnessed affidavit
    2. Your employers signed affidavit (if not self-employed)
    3. Any character references you wish to present to the court
    4. The application form you filed
    5. If you completed QTOP then a copy of the completion documents

    You should also bring your driver’s licence and cash to pay for your new licence at Queensland Transport if a work licence is granted.

     

    Will I get a criminal record?

    Traffic convictions are just that, traffic convictions, they are not considered to be criminal convictions in practice. The courts are unlikely not to record a traffic conviction unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way. It is very rare to have no conviction recorded.

     

    Will my matter be in the press?

    Possibly, the court is an open court. What this means is that any person is entitled to watch and report on the court proceedings.

     

    How long will I lose my licence for?

    This is almost an impossible question to answer. It depends on your circumstances, your traffic history and criminal history (if any), your reading, the circumstances of your arrest and the Magistrate on the day.  Only a traffic lawyer will be able to give you a proper estimate.

    Generally the courts will impose a longer disqualification period where you are granted a work licence. This can be up to double the period you would get without a work licence.

    A very general rough guide to penalties for a first time offender is listed below; please note this is not legal advice as to your potential penalty it is merely a rough general guide. Some Magistrates will increase your disqualification period with a work licence, others will not and this is why we cannot give you an accurate idea of your potential disqualification.  Employing a lawyer will almost always reduce your disqualification period.

     

    BAC reading

    Disqualification period

    Fine

    .05-.07

    1-2 months

    $300-400

    .07-.08

    2-3 months

    $400-500

    .08-.1

    3-5 months

    $500-600

    .1-.12

    5-6 months

    $600-700

    .12-.13

    6-8 months

    $700-800

    .13-.15

    8-11 months

    $800-900

     

    Drug driving is harder to estimate as the court is not provided with the exact amount of drugs in the system at the time of the arrest.

    The court will generally allow you to refer any fine to SPER so you can pay it off.

     

    What happens in court?

    In the court the Magistrate will access your application and judge whether it meets the requirements of section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act.  Generally, the court must consider;

    • whether you are a fit and proper person to be granted a work licence; and
    • whether losing your licence will deprive you of the means of earning your income

    The Court will also need to sentence you for your drug or drink driving offence.   The police prosecutor will provide to the court the details of your offence and your traffic history.  The prosecutor also has the power to object to you being granted a work licence.

    At the end of the hearing you will receive a disqualification period, a fine and the Court may or may not grant you a work licence. We have an article on how drink driving charge are heard, on our blog.

     

    How does the court judge my application?

    In order for the court to grant a work licence you must show the court that you are a 'fit and proper person' and that if you don't get a work licence this will cause you or your family extreme hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

    The court will generally judge whether you are a fit and proper person based on your traffic history. Character references can also help a court decide you are a fit and proper person; this is especially true where your reading was mid-range (between .1 and .149

    The court decides whether you will be derived of the means of earning your income based on your and if applicable your employer’s affidavit. It is critical to your application to show that you will suffer this extreme hardship. This is usually easier to prove for an employed person as your application must be accompanied by an affidavit of your employer that confirms you will be deprived of the means of earning your income if a work licence is not granted. It is harder to prove for self employed people and may require you to provide financial records to the court or to provide an additional affidavit of your accountant or the person you contract to.

     

    Restrictions on a work licence

    The court will restrict how the work 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 work licence?

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

     

    Does my employer have to know about my application?

    If you are not a contractor or self-employed but are employed then your employer must sign an affidavit confirming you will be deprived of your income if the work licence isn’t granted.  Therefore if you are employed your employer will need to know about your application.

     

    I’m self-employed or own the business can I apply for a work licence?

    Yes.

     

    Disqualification period

    If a work licence is granted, you may be disqualified from driving for up to double the amount of time than if you had not applied for the licence.  This is completely up to the Magistrate, some Magistrates will double, some will not.

    The work licence will be issued for the entire period of your disqualification meaning that throughout the period of disqualification you would be able to drive for work purposes.

     

    I was granted a work licence – now what?

    If you are granted the work licence then before you can drive again then you need to go to Queensland Transport and have your licence re-issued as a work licence. You cannot drive to the Queensland Transport office. Also unless you are returning to work or driving for work purposes from Queensland Transport then you would need a lift home as your work licence would not cover for the trip between Queensland Transport and your home but it would cover you to drive from Queensland Transport back to work.

    You must also comply with the requirements of any court order in relation to your licence, this may be the requirement to complete a logbook or similar. Also, throughout the period of the work licence you must keep a copy of the court order in any motor vehicle you drive.

     

    What if I am not granted a work licence?

    If you are not granted a work licence then you might have the right to appeal and this must be done within one calendar month of your court date. Those time limits are very strict. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide information on appealing the refusal to grant work licence, you would need to obtain urgent legal advice.

     It’s just much easier to simply do the application correctly the first time.

     

    What happens after my disqualification period?

    After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your normal licence. You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended.

    After you have been disqualified you will be on a probationary licence for 1 year, this means that;

    1. You have only 4 demerit points available
    2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year. This 1 year started at the time your licence was disqualified by the court and the work licence granted so you may only have a few months to run at this point.

    You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back.

     

    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 further 3 months. 

     

    Frequently asked questions

    Q. It says I cant apply for a work licence if I was driving for work at the time of the offence, when I was caught I was driving home from work, can I still apply?

    A. Yes you may be able to apply, the court allows people to apply if generally driving is not the main function of their employment. This is a really complicated area of law and if you were driving for work or to or from work at the time of the offence you definitely need legal advice.

     

    Q. I have previously been on a good driving behaviour period in the last 5 years, will this stop my from getting a work licence

    A. No

     

    Q. I have a mid range drink driving charge, the police gave me a notice saying I cannot drive until my court date but that’s not for 3 weeks and I need to drive or I will lose my job.

    A. The court does allow person who is mid range and thus immediately suspended to apply for what is essentially an emergency work licence pending the court hearing their full work licence application.  It is known as a section 79E application and is something that even many courts don’t know about. 

     

    Q. I am a plumber and get called out to emergency work, can I do this under a work licence?

    A. If this information was put before the court then the Magistrate can allow this in the terms of the work licence. If it is not added to the work licence terms then you can only drive in accordance with the exact working of the work licence order.

     

    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 end up with a longer disqualification period and more importantly, are less likely to be granted the application because their paperwork is defective or does not adequately cover all the requirements of the Act.  Remember you get one shot at this, you cannot reapply if you are refused.  On one particular Court day recently, of the 5 people making an application for a work licence only our client was granted one.

    It is also important to remember that during your period of disqualification you cannot drive to the shops, to pick up the kids etc so minimising the period of disqualification is critical.  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 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

     

    If I’m going to engage a lawyer why should I engage Clarity Law?

    At Clarity Law we are experts in Queensland traffic law. We are in the court every single day helping people with traffic charges. We have successfully argued the court grant almost 1,000 work licence applications. You simply can’t find a traffic law firm with more experience in the courts. We also have upfront fixed fees with no hidden charges.

     

    Engaging Clarity Law to act for you

    Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the absolute lowest disqualification period and fine possible as well as having the work licence granted.   We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland, everyday our lawyers are in court getting the best outcome for clients.  Just some of the benefits of us handling your work licence application include;

    • we know the Magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the work licence and impose the lowest disqualification period
    • we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not object to the court granting the work licence application
    • we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court
    • engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
    • we will draft all the material including if needed your employer’s affidavit
    • your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
    • you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
    • unlike the police or the Magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

    Here at Clarity Law we have never failed in an application for a work licence.  At best we have found from our experience that unrepresented people have only a 60-70% chance of getting a work licence.

     

    What courts do you appear in?

    We appear in every Court in South East Queensland.  Just some of the Court we appear in are;

    1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
    2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
    3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
    4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
    5. Gympie Magistrates Court
    6. Holland park Magistrates Court
    7. Ipswich Magistrates Court
    8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
    9. Noosa Magistrates Court
    10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
    11. Southport Magistrates Court
    12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
    13. Wynnum Magistrates Court

    For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.

     

    Will I need to come into the office to see you?

    We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts as well as Brendale, Ipswich and Loganholme 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.

     

    What do you charge?

    We charge a flat fee of $1,800 for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills.  

    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 no other South East Queensland law firm can match our prices and experience. Our price includes;

    • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
    • negotiations with the police prosecution unit including obtaining traffic history and charge documents
    • drafting all affidavit material
    • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)
    • all telephone calls, emails and meetings with you
    • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards
    • appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drink or drug driving charge and for the work licence application

     

    If I contacted you what would occur?

    If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 40 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your charge, all at no cost.

    If you want to engage us then it’s easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don’t want to engage us or want to engage another firm that’s fine, you won’t be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your charge and work licences. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.

     

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

    We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken almost 1,000 successful work licence applications throughout South East 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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    4. Visit our drink driving page
    5. Visit our drug driving page

    We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba.  We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people.  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 work licences and the court process. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink or drug driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

     

    Need more information?

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

    This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here