Don’t Lose Your Queensland Driver License: Effective Strategies to Safeguard Your Driving Privileges

Don’t Lose Your Queensland Driver License: Effective Strategies to Safeguard Your Driving Privileges

Published on 11 July 2023
Last updated on 7 February 2024

Losing your Queensland driver’s license can turn your world upside down. The demerit points system is unforgiving, and with the recent changes in penalties and increased surveillance, it is easier than ever to find yourself facing suspension. But fear not, because Ascent Lawyers is here to help you navigate the complexities and protect your driving privileges.

With our expertise and guidance, you can explore backup plans that will allow you to keep your license and continue driving. Whether it’s applying for a Good Driving Behaviour Period, seeking a Work Licence for employment purposes, or obtaining a Special Hardship Order, we have the knowledge and experience to assist you every step of the way.


1. Demerit points in Queensland

Queensland driver licences are first issued with zero points, and demerit points are added with each traffic infringements or conviction. There is a maximum number of demerit points that you can accrue before your licence will become suspended and that limit will depend on the type of licence held by you.


Type of licence

Demerit Points limit

Learner licence

4 points within 1 year

Provisional/Probationary licence

4 points within 1 year

Open licence

12 points within 3 years

Good behaviour licence

1 points within 1 year


With continual improvements being made to road infrastructures, greater numbers of speed cameras are also being installed onto roads in both urban and remote areas to enhance the enforcement of road and traffic laws. Furthermore, tougher and severe penalties for road violations have been imposed across the state of Queensland. These new changes apply to speeding, failure to wear a seatbelt properly, and disobeying traffic lights.


The New Fines Rules on Traffic Offences started in July 2022!
Traffic Offence Before 30 June 2022 After 1 July 2022
Speeding 1-10 $183.00 $287.00
11-20 $275.00 $431.00
21-30 $459.00 $646.00
31-40 $643.00 $1,078.00
˃40 $1,286.00 $1,653.00
Driver failing to wear a seat belt properly adjusted and fastened $413.00 $1,078.00
Failing to stop for a red traffic light or arrow $413.00 $575.00


Double demerit points can also apply in addition to the standard fines and demerit points if you are caught offending a second time within 12 months of the first offence.

For example, you may receive a $1,078 fine and 4 demerit points when you are first caught using your mobile phone illegally while driving. If you commit the same offence within 1 year, you will be allocated 4 demerit points for the second offence, in addition to a further 4 demerit points as it occurred within 1 year of the first offence. This will result in your driver licence being suspended.

Serious dangerous driving or careless driving may also face license suspension, and in some cases, prosecution or imprisonment.


2. What should I do if I exceed the maximum number of demerit points?

Plan A: Apply for a Good Driving Behaviour Period

Your licence is not suspended automatically when you exceed the maximum limit of demerit points. Instead, you will receive a notice from Queensland Transport Department called an “Accumulation of Demerit Points – Notice to Choose”.

This notice will give you the option of choosing between:

  1. Driver licence suspension; or
  2. Good driving behaviour period.

The first option will result in your licence being suspended for 3 to 5 months depending on the number of demerit points accumulated.

Under the second option, you will be allowed to keep your licence and continue driving under a good behaviour period for 1 year.

You must not accumulate more than 1 point during this 1 year period. Otherwise, if you do, your licence will be suspended for twice the time that would have applied if you had chosen the first option originally.

If you choose the good driving behaviour option, you must notify Queensland Transport within a certain time frame.


Plan B: Apply for a Work Licence

If you require your drivers’ licence for work, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted licence under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.

A work license, or a restricted licence, allows you to drive solely for work purposes. You may be entitled to apply even if you have been charged with drunk driving or drug driving offences.

To apply for a work licence, you must apply to the Magistrate Court before you are found guilty and have your licence revoked. You will be able to apply after you have been disqualified by the court.

The general steps to applying for a work licence are as such:-

How to Apply for a Work License?
Arrested and charged / received Notice to Appear
Mention date at Magistrates Court of Queensland – seek adjournment and tell the court you plan to apply for a work licence
Prepare work licence application
File documents with court and give a copy to the police prosecutor
Hearing date – Plead guilty. Magistrate hears work licence application
Magistrate decides whether to grant you a work licence, the conditions that will apply and your disqualification period


The application for a work licence is a complicated procedure. Firstly, you must meet a larger number of strict conditions to be able to apply for a work licence. You will also need to provide documentation to support your application and ensure that they are properly prepared and submitted correctly. In some instances, you may be required to give evidence in front of the Magistrate.

If your application is unsuccessful, you will not be able to apply again or appeal the decision.


Plan C: Apply for a Special Hardship Order

Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order (SHO) if your licence has been suspended and you require one for work, for example. Under a SHO , you will be allowed to continue driving under certain restrictions depending on the order itself.

Similarly, you must satisfy a number of conditions and criteria to be eligible to apply for a SHO. When applying for the order, you must complete the following steps:

Whether or not you can successfully obtain a special hardship order depends on the evidence submitted to the court. Your application will be approved if you can satisfy the court that you are a fit and proper person, amongst other relevant factors.


3. Ascent Lawyers is always here for you!

At Ascent Lawyers, we assist our clients with:

  • Ensuring that they have met all criteria and are eligible prior to applying;
  • Preparing the necessary documents is properly prepared and correctly submitted;
  • Liaising with the Department of Transport and Mains Road; and
  • Appearing with your at court and speaking to the judge on your behalf.

You have only one chance, and you will not be able to apply again if your application is refused. With us, you will have a better chance of being granted a lower suspension period or fine, and a higher chance of having your application be successful.

If you need to consult with Ascent Lawyers, we will provide you with a 15-minute free consultation to answer your initial questions.

Disclaimer: Ascent Lawyers owns all copyright in the text. This article is of a general nature and should not be regarded as legal advice or relied on for assistance in any particular circumstance or emergency situation. To obtain legal advice in relation to your own circumstances, please contact us for consultation.

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