What is a special hardship licence?
A special hardship licence is a court order that will enable you to continue to drive on your Queensland driver’s licence under certain restrictions.
You may be eligible to apply if you have been convicted of driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit or accumulated two or more demerit points while you were subject to a good driving behaviour period.
In order to obtain this licence you must file an application together with supporting affidavit material with the local Magistrates Court (Southport or Coolangatta branches on the Gold Coast). Supporting material includes an affidavit from your employer or doctor, a statutory declaration or other document detailing why you need this order, your traffic history, Notice of Driver Licence Suspension and criminal history (if applicable). You will need to show the court that by losing your licence you would suffer extreme financial hardship, for example, depriving your means of earning a living. Most special hardship applications involve someone losing their job if they don’t have a licence and this must be confirmed by sworn affidavit by your employer.
You may also apply where the loss of licence would cause severe and unusual hardship to you or your family even though it does not relate to your work (e.g. where you are the carer for someone with a disability who is reliant upon you to regularly drive them to places where there is no alternative).
People who are self employed can also apply for the special hardship licence but this can be problematical if they have the capacity to have someone else drive them around at work.
Another important point is that the person applying must be a fit and proper person to continue to drive having regard to the safety of other road users. This can be difficult to prove if you have a very bad traffic history!
You will not be eligible to apply for the licence if any of the following occurred to you in the past five years:-
- your QLD driver licence was cancelled or suspended, including if you were granted a Special Hardship Licence
- you have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a QLD driver licence
- your authority to drive in QLD on a non QLD driver licence was suspended
- you were made ineligible to apply for a QLD driver licence as a result of accumulating excessive demerit points or being convicted of driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit, at a time when you were unlicensed
- you have been convicted of operating a vehicle dangerously.
IMPORTANT: You must file your application within 21 days of your driver licence being suspended.
Please note that there are no equivalent provisions in New South Wales.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers are experienced in preparing such applications and representing you in court to give you the best chance of obtaining a special hardship licence.
Please contact our Criminal Law Department Manager, Amanda Heather on 07 5506 8245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Freecall 1800 621 071 to discuss whether you are eligible to apply and what supporting documentation is appropriate in your circumstances.