Restricted Work Licence
What is a work licence?
A work licence (also called a restricted licence) allows a person convicted of drink driving or drug driving to drive for work purposes only during their period of licence disqualification. The process to apply for a work licence is quite involved. Unfortunately, it is not just a matter of filling out a form but rather is a hearing before a Magistrate who ultimately decides whether or not to grant you a work licence. You must ensure that you meet a large number of conditions and properly prepare the supporting documentation.
You cannot appeal the decision if a Magistrate refuses your application. It is therefore important that you get legal advice from an expert traffic lawyer on whether you meet the eligibility criteria and on your prospects of making a successful application.
Am I eligible for a work licence?
You must meet a number of strict criteria to apply for a work licence, including:-
- you must have held a current Queensland driver licence at the time of the offence
- your blood alcohol concentration must be less than 0.15%
- you can satisfy the court that you are a "fit and proper" person to continue to drive, having regard to the safety of other road users
- without your licence you will lose your job resulting in extreme hardship to you or your family
In the last 5 year period, you must not have been:-
- convicted for drink driving either in Queensland or outside Queensland
- convicted for dangerous driving
- had your provisional or open licence suspended, cancelled or disqualified (apart from a few exceptions, for example, a SPER suspension)
You are not eligible to apply if at the time of the offence you:-
- were driving in connection with your employment
- were under 25 years of age and driving under a learner, provisional or probationary licence
- were not licensed to drive the motor vehicle that you were driving when the offence was committed
- were driving on a licence that required you to have a nil alcohol reading
You cannot get a work licence if:-
- you are unemployed and looking for work
- to get children to and from school, attend to household errands or take a relative to medical appointments
- your employer has another position for you in the business that does not require you to have a driver licence
You may be eligible to apply if you need your driver lience to travel to and from work. However, you would need to demonstrate that there is no public transport available and you have no-one who could drive you.
You should get legal advice if you are not sure whether you meet all the eligibility criteria.
Court process and procedure
The application is made to a Court under section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.
You can read about the legislation here: www.legislation.qld.gov.au.
You must apply immediately after you have pleaded guilty or been found guilty and before the Magistrate orders the disqualification period. The application is usually adjourned for hearing to a date a few weeks after your first Court date. The timing will vary depending upon which Court you are appearing in.
The following documents must be prepared in support of your application:-
- Application for an Order directing the issue of a Restricted Licence (s87);
- an affidavit from you that sets out details of the circumstances of the offence, your family details, your employment and your need for a driver licence, income & expenditure and details to support that you are a "fit and proper" person; and
- an affidavit from your employer that confirms your position, details of your employment and how your job will be affected if you lose your licence.
The affidavits must be sworn or affirmed before a Commissioner of Declarations, Justice of the Peace or Solicitor. They must then be filed with the Court and served upon the police prosecutor prior to your hearing date.
At the hearing, your matter will commence with your guilty plea to the relevant charge and the Magistrate will then consider your application for a work licence.
The Magistrate will read your supporting documentation and may require you or your employer to give evidence if further information is needed (This is not ordinarily required if your affidavits are properly prepared). The Magistrate will hear oral submissions from the prosecutor and you/your lawyer on the issues of penalty and whether you should be granted a work licence.
Upon completion of the hearing, the Magistrate will make orders in respect of penalty and will decide whether or not to give you a work licence. If you are granted a work licence, the disqualification period may be double what you would have received if you did not apply for a work licence.
What conditions can be ordered?
If you are granted a work licence, the Magistrate can order that it be subject to special conditions, for example:-
- the class of vehicle which may be driven
- the purpose for which a vehicle may be driven
- the days and times a vehicle may be driven
- that you keep a log book
- that you wear a uniform, if applicable
- that you have no passengers
It is an offence to drive in breach of the conditions. If you were caught doing so, then you would lose your work licence and a further penalty and disqualification period would be imposed.
You can make an application to the Court to vary the conditions should your circumstances change during your disqualification period.
What happens after court?
If you are granted a work licence , you will be given an Order that you will need to take to your nearest Queensland Transport department to be issued with the work licence prior to driving. You CANNOT drive from the court to Queensland Transport, to do so would be breaking the law. You CANNOT drive until a new licence is issued to you.
Do I need legal representation?
These applications are not always straightforward and Magistrates consider whether or not to grant a work licence very seriously. Our traffic lawyers will ensure your application is comprehensively and professionally presented to the Magistrate. We are experienced advocates who will speak for you in a persuasive manner and aim to get the result you are after.
Other benefits of legal representation include:-
- we will save you time and stress by doing all of the preparatory work
- we will deal with your employer directly and prepare their affidavit to minimise any inconvenience to them
- we will deal with the police prosecutor on your behalf
- you will get priority in Court when your matter is heard
- we know what information the Magistrates need and will speak for you in Court
- you have better prospects of achieving the desired outcome
We often get enquiries from people seeking help after a failed attempt at applying for a work licence simply because they did not properly prepare and did not understand the process. Don't let this be you. We strongly recommend that you get expert advice and assistance as you only get one chance.