If you have been charged with a DUI or drink driving offence, you face a mandatory licence disqualification of at least one month. This could have devastating consequences for you (and your family) if you rely on your licence to be able to do your job because without your licence, you can’t earn an income.
It is important to keep in mind that you might not need your licence to drive for work purposes. You might also need your licence just to get to and from work if, for example, public transport is not available or if you can be called out for emergencies.
If you find yourself in the situation where you need your licence for work but you face a licence disqualification due to a DUI or drink driving offence, you may be relieved to know that you might be able to apply for a “work licence“. If your application is successful, a magistrate will grant you the ability to get a special restricted licence which allows you to continue driving for work purposes. This means that you cannot drive for any other purpose other than for work.
If you do apply for a work licence, it is not automatically granted – you need to meet certain criteria and you also need to be able to convince the magistrate that you deserve the work licence.
Before you make the application, take some time to determine whether you even have a chance of making a successful application. Here are some of the most important points to consider:
You Must Hold The Correct Licence Type
You are only eligible to apply for a work licence if you held an Open Queensland driver’s licence at the time of the offence. This means that Provisional, Probationary and Learner licence holders are not eligible to apply for a work licence if that is the type of licence that they held at the time of the offence.
No Prior Suspensions or Disqualifications in Prior 5 Years
As a general rule, you are unable to apply for a work licence if your driver’s licence has been suspended or disqualified in the past five years. There are, however, a number of exceptions which may apply:
- If your licence was suspended by SPER;
- If you were suspended for demerit points but granted a special hardship licence; and
- If your suspension or disqualification was set aside on appeal.
If your licence has been suspended or disqualified but you need to apply for a work licence, don’t automatically assume that you cannot apply. Speak to one of our expert work licence lawyers for advice.
Not Driving for Work At Time of the Offence
You are not eligible for a work licence if you were driving for work purposes at the time of the DUI or drink driving offence. For example, you might have gone out for lunch with some work colleagues, had a beer or two and then driven to a supplier that afternoon to pick up some equipment. Since you were driving for work, you would not be eligible to apply for the work licence.
Whether you were actually driving for work or not can be a tricky question so you should speak with one of our lawyers to find out more about this point.
Fit & Proper Person to Hold a Licence
When considering whether to grant a work licence, the magistrate will make a decision about whether you are a “fit and proper person” to hold a restricted licence. In other words, the magistrate will need to decide whether you deserve the licence or not.
To make this decision, the magistrate will look at the following factors:
- The length and seriousness of your prior traffic history;
- Any criminal history you might have;
- The circumstances of the DUI or drink driving offence; and
- Your general character (whether you are in stable employment, an active member of the community etc).
If the magistrate decides that you do not deserve a second chance, your application will be refused.
You Will Suffer Extreme Financial Hardship
DUI and drink driving work licences are not granted simply because it would be convenient to have a driver’s licence. The magistrate will only grant your application if you can convince him or her that you or your family will suffer extreme financial hardship if the application is refused. The test therefore is very simply: if you lose your licence, what will happen to your income. If you won’t be able to earn enough of an income to cover your expenses (and assuming you don’t have lots of assets you can sell off quickly), you will be able to satisfy this test.
In some cases, however, the answer is not so straightforward. For example, you might be working for your family and therefore even if you can’t do your job, they might be willing to find you other work to do while you are without a licence. You should seek legal advice about this point if in doubt.
Harper Finch Lawyers: Queensland’s Expert Work Licence Lawyers
If you have been charged with a DUI or drink driving offence and you think that you will need to apply for a work licence, contact us now to discuss your options. Applying for a work licence can be extremely complex and time-consuming and therefore it is important that you don’t waste any time. We are ready to help you fight for your licence.