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What is a Special Hardship Order?

If your Queensland driver license is suspended but you need to drive, such as for work, you may be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order (SHO).

SHO is a court order that permits you to drive with your suspended driver licence under certain restrictions.

The following are some restrictions that may be imposed:

You may only drive for a stated purpose
You may only drive certain class of vehicle
You may only drive for restricted days/hours
You have to carry a copy of SHO while driving
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How to apply for a Special Hardship Order?

1
Complete a Special Hardship Order application form.
2
After your suspension commenced, lodge the application with the Magistrate Court in the district you live and provide supporting evidence.
3
Serve a copy of the documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads at least 7 days prior to your hearing date.
4
Once you have filed and served your application, your suspension will be lifted and you can continue to drive until the day before the court hearing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You may be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order if your Queensland provisional or open driver licence has been suspended due to the following reasons:

  • Gained 2 or more demerit points while driving under a period of good driving behaviour
  • Committed a high speed driving offence of more than 40km/h over the speed limit

Please note that a learner licence holder is not eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order.

You are not eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order if, within 5 years before the suspension of your driver licence:

  • Your Queensland driver licence has been cancelled or suspended, including if you were granted a special hardship order
  • You were disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence
  • Your authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland drive licence was suspended
  • You incurred excessive demerit points
  • You were convicted of driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit while unlicensed
  • You were convicted of dangerous driving

However, there are some exceptions. You may still be eligible to apply for a Special Hardship Order if you have received:

  • A suspension due to your absence in a court appearance for a drink or drug driving charge
  • An immediate driver licence suspension due to drink driving or drug offence
  • A 24-hour suspension due to drink driving or drug driving
  • A suspension or cancellation due to mental or physical capacity
  • A suspension by the State Penalty Enforcement Registry
  • A suspension or cancellation set aside on review by the Transport and Main Roads Department or QCAT

There is no time limit for applying for a Special Hardship Order. However, the application must be undertaken in the Magistrates Court nearest to where you live. You will need to contact the court to check whether it can hear your application. The Government has a list of courthouses and their contact details.

In order to get a Special Hardship Order, you need to satisfy the court that:

  • You are a fit and proper person to continue to drive
  • Refusal to grant a Special Hardship Order would cause:
    • Extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living; or
    • Severe and unusual hardship to you or your family for another reason, other than by not being able to work
  • You do hold a valid provisional or open licence but for the suspension

You may return to the Department of Transport and Main Roads to get a replacement licence.

You are required to complete a Replacement Driver Licence/Driver Licence Receipt/Licence Label Application (form F3006) and pay the fee.

You will hold a replacement license with an ‘X3 ‘condition code. In other words, you are required to carry it along with you whenever you drive according to the SHO.

Unfortunately, your driver licence suspension period will be reapplied for the remaining period. However, the time before the Special Hardship Order application will be deducted.

The short answer is yes. You may apply to vary the restrictions stated on your SHO. However, this is subject to changes of circumstances. You are required to complete a Variation of Special Hardship Order or Section 79E Order (form F4375).

If you breach the restrictions of your SHO, you may be penalized to pay a fine. In addition, you may be disqualified from holding a driver licence:

  • If your SHO is still valid – the balance period plus an additional 3 months
  • If your SHO is no longer valid – you will be disqualified for 3 months from the conviction date

You should return to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, requesting your license to be reissued at no charge. Since then, you are no longer restricted to the ‘X3’ condition code.

The answer to this question will inevitably be “Yes”. Although you can represent yourself, we have found that special hardship order applications lodged by self-represented people are often problematic or refused.

Please note that you have only one chance. If your application is refused, you cannot apply again. If you failed the special hardship order application, you will not be able to drive for a minimum of 6 months.

The consequences of not having a lawyer far exceed the cost of hiring one. It is better to have a lawyer at the beginning achieve the best result possible.

At Ascent Lawyers, we assist clients by drafting persuasive and professional court documents, liaising with the Department of Transport and Main roads, attend court with you to convince the Magistrate as to why you ought to be given a Special Hardship Order.

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Successfully get your Special Hardship Order!

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