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Work licence

A work licence, also properly called a restricted licence, is an order that can be made by a Magistrate which gives a person permission to drive, for purposes connected with earning an income, during the period of what would otherwise be a court ordered disqualification from driving.  

There are some important rules relating to how, and when, an application for a work licence must be made and it is important that, if you are about to be sentenced for a drink driving offence you understand how the system works.

If you, or a family member, have been charged with drink or drug driving and you need a work licence you should contact us for a confidential, cost and obligation free, discussion about the situation and how Townes & Associates can help.

Need a work licence?

    Application for a work licence

    Section 87

    Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995

    The law in Queensland requires that a court disqualify a person who is guilty of drink, or drug, driving from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver’s licence for different amounts of time depending on the offence they are guilty of.  This mandatory disqualification requirement is just that, mandatory, meaning a court must impose a disqualification no matter what the circumstances.

    The implications of a court ordered disqualification can be severe.  First and foremost it means that a person cannot drive a motor vehicle but it also means that, if they do, they commit a far more serious offence of disqualified driving and put themselves at risk of a jail sentence.  

    Fortunately for Queenslanders, our law offers eligible people the opportunity to apply for permission to drive ‘for work purposes’ (that is not the test used in the legislation but it is a fairly accurate facsimile) during the period of some drink or drug driving disqualifications.  This permission is commonly referred to as a work licence, through it is properly called a restricted licence.

    If you would like to know more about the eligibility requirements and application process for a work licence in Queensland, use the drop-downs below to assist you.

    If it all seems a bit too complicated, or if you have any concerns about your upcoming driving charge and your need for a work licence, use the form at the bottom of this page to contact Townes & Associates for a cost and obligation free discussion about your situation.

    A person is eligible to apply for a work licence if:

    • They hold an open Queensland driver’s licence, and,
    • Their licence has not been suspended or cancelled in the 5 years before their application, and,
    • They are guilty of drink driving with a blood alcohol content of less than .15 or of driving with a relevant drug present in their blood or saliva but have not yet been sentenced.

    Simply being eligible to apply, does not guarantee that a work licence will be granted – a work licence is not an entitlement at law and, in order to successfully apply, an eligible applicant must prove to the court that:

    • They are a fit and proper person to be granted a restricted licence, and
    • They will suffer extreme hardship because they will be deprived of their means of earning their livelihood if they are not granted a restricted licence. 

    This legal test is fairly strict and how it will be applied to a given person’s circumstances varies case by case depending on their family and financial circumstances, the nature of their employment and their history (both their driving history and their criminal history).

    A person is not eligible to apply for a work licence if:

    • They hold a Provisional or Learner licence, and/or 
    • They committed their offence while driving for work purposes (including driving to or from work), and/or
    • They committed their offence while driving a class of vehicle which they were not licenced to drive, and/or
    • They were in a special position requiring a ‘0’ blood alcohol content (for example because they were driving a taxi, a bus or a train).

    Applying for a work licence must be done either before, or on the day, that a person is disqualified by the court.  Courts almost always impose the mandatory disqualification for drink and drug driving offences on the day that they pass sentence, this means that an application has to be prepared and made on the day a person goes to court to plead guilty.

    An application for a work licence requires 3 things:

    1. A designated application form,
    2. An affidavit from the applicant which sets out why they should be granted a restricted licence, and
    3. An affidavit from the applicant’s employer setting out the implications that a licence disqualification will have for their employment.

    Self-employed individuals will prepare a single affidavit setting out their need for a restricted licence and the implications for their business if they are not able to drive.

    The format of the application is set out by law (it must be made ‘in the approved form’) so it is very important that the correct form is used.  Furthermore, the format and content of an affidavit for a work licence is quite particular and we strongly advise that, if you wish to apply for a work licence, you prepare your application and supporting material correctly to avoid delay and, at worst, a refusal.

    Once the material is prepared, the process for making the application requires the applicant to ‘file and serve’ their application and affidavits.  This means filing a copy of the application with the registry of the court which will sentence them and serving a copy of those same documents on the relevant prosecuting authority (almost always the Police Prosecution service).

    Assuming this is all done prior to the court date, it is very important that a person confirms with the Magistrate who is sentencing them that their application is on the court file – DO NOT assume that the Magistrate has your application in front of them just because you have filed it.

    Need a work licence?

    If you are facing a drink or drug driving charge and think you might need a work licence, use the form below to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to talk through your situation.  Leave your best contact telephone number and we’ll give you a call back at no cost or obligation to you.

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