Work Licence Applications

It seems to be universally accepted that a driver’s licence is an essential piece of equipment in our society. If in Queensland you are convicted of a drink driving offence where your blood alcohol content is less than the high range level, and you hold a valid Queensland driver’s licence at the time of committing that offence, you can potentially apply for a Work Licence. 

A work licence will allow you to drive to, from and around whilst you are working. In my experience, the two most common issues a court will be required to determine when hearing such an application is if you are “fit and proper” to hold such a licence, and if you lose your driver’s licence will you be “deprived of the means of earning your livelihood”.

When considering this, real care must be taken not to dwell simply on the traffic history of the person seeking the driver’s licence, the criteria of what makes a person “fit and proper” is much wider than that.

The case of White v QPS [2017] QMC 2, shows that it also includes matters such as:

(a). a person’s honesty;

(b). their knowledge and demonstration of what is required to lawfully drive;

(c). their likelihood of reoffending; and

(b). general adherence to and respect for the law.

If more open thought is not given to addressing matters like this in a work licence application, then there is a real prospect that it will not be successful.

The other regularly posed question relates to what “livelihood” means in relation to a work licence. In my experience, all too often a lawyer will take a narrow traditional view of things and dismiss a client’s entitlement to make a work licence application if they are not working for a salary or a wage. But, that is not how the law works.

The case of Police v Hand [2009] QMC 17 is a perfect example illustrating this point. In that case, the person applying for a work licence was not a wage earner, nor self-employed. He received a Disability Support Pension supplemented by a Carer Allowance. The court considered that form of income fell within the definition of “livelihood”.  As you can see, a creative approach to this phrase can quite often open an otherwise closed option for a client.

Over the years I have appeared and advised on many hundreds of Work Licence Applications. The above matters are just some of the issues that I’ve had to consider. If you want to know more about Work Licence Applications or require assistance in obtaining one, I’d be delighted to offer our services to you.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about Work Licence Applications. 

When can a restricted work licence be issued in Queensland?

In Queensland, the issuance of a restricted work license falls under the jurisdiction of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) (referred to as ‘the act’). The particulars of granting a restricted license to an individual disqualified due to drink or drug driving offences are outlined in Section 87 of the act.

It’s important to note that a restricted work license isn’t granted automatically; it involves a comprehensive procedure that the court must undergo before considering its approval. Initially, you must fulfil specific stringent criteria that determine your eligibility for applying for a restricted license.

What are the criteria requirements in QLD?
  • You should have possessed a valid open license at the time of your offence or conviction.
  • Your blood or breath alcohol concentration when tested must not exceed 0.15.
  • In the previous 5 years, your provisional or open license must not have been suspended, cancelled, or disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver’s license (as per Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) s 5 (b)).
  • In the previous 5 years, you must not have been convicted of drink or drug driving or dangerous driving (as per Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) s 5 (c)).
  • The offence must not have occurred while you were driving for work purposes (as per Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) s 5 (i)).
  • At the time of the offence, you must not have been in the process of learning to drive the next higher class under the authority of your Queensland Open License.
How do I apply for a work licence?

Applying for a work license (also known as a restricted work license) in Queensland involves a specific legal process.

  1. Check Eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for a work license.
  2. Get Application Forms: Obtain the relevant application forms from the Queensland Courts.
  3. Complete Form: Fill out the application form accurately and provide necessary details.
  4. Attach Documents: Include any required supporting documents, like employer affidavits and references.
  5. File Application: Submit the completed form and documents to the appropriate Magistrates Court.
  6. Pay Fee: Pay the application fee as required by the court.
  7. Attend Hearing: Attend the scheduled court hearing to present your case.
  8. Magistrate’s Decision: The magistrate will decide whether to grant the work license.
  9. Follow Conditions: If approved, adhere to the license’s conditions.
  10. Completion: After your suspension ends and conditions are met, you can apply to fully reinstate your license.

Over the years I have advised on hundreds of applications of work licence applications. Please contact my office if you need assistance with your application.

What is a special hardship order?

A special hardship order allows you to drive with specific conditions despite having a suspended driver’s license. To get this order, you must apply in writing to the court. The magistrate may grant the order with conditions, such as when and why you can drive. The order remains valid until your suspension ends.

However, you can’t simply request the order based on work or study needs. Stringent criteria apply, and even if you qualify, the magistrate can decline the order if they deem you unfit to hold a license.