Can I get a work licence?
Work licences, otherwise known as restricted licences or day licences, are an area of traffic law that our lawyers give advice on daily. If you are charged with certain drink driving or drug driving offences, you may be eligible for a work licence.
When you are sentenced for the drink or drug driving offence, your driver’s licence will be disqualified for a period of time. There is no way to keep your licence – the court has no choice but to disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence.
If you are granted a work licence, it allows you to drive for purposes directly connected with your means of earning your livelihood. What this means will be discussed further below.
Section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management Act) 1995 (Qld) allows for the court to issue work licences to eligible individuals. In order for the court to grant you a work licence, you need to prepare the correct application and meet strict eligibility criteria.
Am I Eligible for a Work Licence?
The legislation includes strict eligibility criteria for work licences. In order to be eligible to make the application, you must have:
- Been charged with low-range drink driving, mid-range drink driving or driving whilst a relevant drug is present in your blood or saliva;
- No licence suspensions, cancellations or disqualifications within the past 5 years (however exceptions apply);
- No drink driving, drug driving or fail to provide a specimen convictions in the past 5 years;
- Not been engaged in an activity directly connected with your means of earning a livelihood at the time of being charged;
- Not been driving a vehicle you are not authorised to drive at the time of being charged; and
- Not been the holder of a work licence at the time of being charged.
If you meet the above eligibility criteria, the court must be satisfied of the following to grant you a work licence:
- That you are a fit and proper person to hold a restricted licence; and
- A refusal would cause extreme financial hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning your livelihood.
These can be very complex issues. After meeting with you, our lawyers can provide advice as to whether you are likely to satisfy the above criteria. We can also recommend programs and other supporting material to give your application the best chance of success in court.
What is Involved in the Application?
An application for a work licence can be a lengthy process. For this reason, it is a good idea to engage a qualified and experienced lawyer.
The elements of the application are:
- The application form
- An affidavit from the applicant; and
- An affidavit from the applicant’s employer.
The affidavits drafted by Potts Lawyers are lengthy documents, often with several supporting documents attached. Both affidavits need to be properly executed and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or Solicitor.
What Happens on the Day of Court?
Work licence applications often involve at least 2 court dates. We firstly appear on your behalf and seek that your matter be listed for a work licence hearing. The court will then list your matter for a plea of guilty (to the drink driving or drug driving charge) and a work licence application.
At the hearing, the magistrate will read the material we have filed in support of your application (ie the affidavits and application form). The prosecutor then reads out the facts of the charge. Your lawyer then makes oral submissions to the court regarding the offence, your background, penalty and reasons for the court to grant you a work licence.
The magistrate makes 3 decisions – which penalty to impose for the charge, the length of the disqualification period (which is often increased if you are granted a work licence) and whether to grant you a work licence.
When Can I Apply for a Work Licence?
The court must hear the application for a work licence at the same time as it hears the sentence for your charge. You cannot plead guilty to the charge and later apply for a work licence whilst serving your disqualification period.
What Does a Work Licence Allow Me to Do?
If successful in your application, a work licence allows you to drive for purposes directly connected with your means of earning a livelihood for the period of the disqualification.
For example, if you are disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for 6 months and hold a work licence, the work licence will be in effect for that 6 month period.
Work licences allow you to drive to and from work via the most direct route and throughout the day as required by your employer.
Work licences often include conditions including the days and times that you are permitted to drive, whether you can carry passengers and whether you have to wear a uniform.
If you drive outside the conditions of your work licence, you can be charged with a further offence.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have been charged with unlicensed driving. Can I apply for a work licence?
No. Work licences applications can only be made if you have been charged with certain drink driving or drug driving offences.
I pleaded guilty to drink driving a month ago – can I apply for a work licence now?
No. The application must be made on the day of your sentence.
Can I pick my kids up on the way home from work while I have a work licence?
No. Work licences only allow you to drive for purposes directly connected with your means of earning your livelihood. This means that you cannot stop to collect children, grocery shop or go to the gym (even if it is on the way).
Will police know that I have a work licence?
After the courts grant you a work licence, you are required to take a copy of the order to the Department of Transport. They will then issue you with a new licence and update your details.
Can I have passengers in the car whilst on a work licence?
The court can impose a condition that you do not carry passengers in the car whilst on a work licence. If you need to have passengers, we can incorporate this into your application.
What should I do after the disqualification ends?
After serving your disqualification period, you must attend the Department of Transport to re-apply for a new driver’s licence. If you fail to do so, you can be charged with unlicensed driving.
Benefits of Engaging Potts Lawyers for Your Work Licence Application
Whilst you can appear self-represented at your work licence application hearing, there are many benefits of engaging an expert traffic lawyer.
Firstly, we have prepared countless work licence applications and know exactly what needs to be included. We are able to draft detailed affidavits that address questions the court will have regarding your application.
Secondly, we appear in court every day and are experienced advocates. We will put your best case forward and argue for why you should be granted a work licence. For a lot of clients, knowing that they will not have to speak in court is very comforting.
Thirdly, we will guide you through this process with professionalism and care. We understand that being charged with an offence and potentially losing your job as a result is incredibly stressful. We are here to help and will make the process as simple as possible for you.
Seek Legal Advice
While this article is intended to provide you with a guide of the general principles that operate in Queensland, it is not to be considered legal advice and may not cover important aspects that apply to your individual circumstances. If you want to apply for a work licence or are unsure if you are eligible, you should seek our advice.