Work Licence

In Australia, if your licence is suspended for drunk driving, dangerous driving etc., and you have to drive for work, you may apply to the court for a “work licence”.

In terms of the conditions for applying for a work driver’s licence, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Charged with driving under the influence, driving under the influence or refusing to comply with a breath test
  • You will plead guilty and may have your licence revoked
  • You need to drive to work
  • At the time of the violation, you have an open licence
  • Your alcohol level is below 0.15% at the time of the violation
  • In the five years prior to the violation, you have no similar record anywhere
  • You have not been convicted of dangerous driving in Queensland in the five years prior to the violation
  • You have no prior licence suspension or suspension in the five years prior to the violation
  • You were not on your way to work

In terms of the application time limit, you must apply to the court before you are convicted, otherwise, you will not be able to apply for a work licence once you are convicted and have your licence revoked.

The application materials mainly include:

  • Your own affidavit: explain to the court your personal situation, your job and the need to drive, explaining why you will lose your job if you lose your licence.
  • If you are an employee, ask the employer to also write an affidavit stating how your job requires the use of a car and specifying that if you cannot drive, you will be fired.

The judge will consider your personal character, the impact of losing your driver’s licence on your income and family finances before deciding whether to grant your driver’s licence.

If you need to apply for a work driver’s licence, please contact a professional transportation lawyer at Ascent Lawyers to assist you.


What is a Work Licence?

A work licence is a licence that allows you to drive for work even though your driver licence has been cancelled due to drink driving or a similar offence. According to section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, a work licence is officially known as a restricted licence.

However, it does not automatically apply to everyone in a similar scenario. You have to apply to the Magistrate Court for an order. There are strict criteria which the Court will take into consideration before accepting your application. If you would like to apply for a work licence, please contact Ascent Lawyers.

Who can apply for a work licence?

You may apply for a work licence if:

  • You have been charged with drink driving, drug driving, or fail to provide a sample of the breath test at the roadside
  • You will plead guilty and are going to lose your licence
  • You need a licence to drive to work
  • You held an open driver licence when you were caught for the traffic offence
  • Your blood alcohol concentration level was less than 0.15% when you were caught
  • You have not been convicted of any similar traffic offence anywhere in the last 5 years
  • You have not been convicted of dangerous driving in Queensland in the past 5 years
  • Your driver licence has not been suspended or cancelled in the last 5 years (exception applies)
  • You were not driving to work at the time of offence

The above listed are some of those general criteria that have to be met. However, meeting those criteria does not guarantee you a work licence. If you wish to know more, please contact Ascent Lawyers.

Who cannot apply for a work licence?

You are not eligible for a work licence if:

  • You were unemployed at the time of the offence, even if you are looking for a job
  • It is not necessary to have a driver licence for your job
  • You can easily find another job that does not require a driver licence even though your current employment requires one

Any other reasons that are unrelated to work will not be considered. For instance, you are the only driver in the family and you need the licence to drive your family members around. This may sound like a reasonable excuse, however, it is not one of those reasons that could be taken into consideration.

What are the restrictions for a work licence?

Although you may be granted a work licence, the Court holds the discretion to restrict how you may use the work licence, such as:

  • Restrict you to drive within a certain period of time (eg: working hours)
  • Restrict the purposes of driving
  • Restrict the class of vehicle you may drive
  • Require you to record on a log book
  • Require you to wear uniform while driving
  • Restrict you from carrying any passengers in your car

When should I apply for a work licence?

It is important to notify the Court of your intention to apply for a work licence before you are found guilty of a traffic offence.

You should make the application in the same Court you will attend for the traffic offence charge.

It is too late to make a work licence application after the Court has disqualified your driver licence.

When will my application be heard?

Although you are required to make the work licence application while attending the Court for your traffic offence, the Court will generally not hear your application on the first Court date generally.

You should advise the Court of your intention to apply for a work licence and the Court will set a time and date for your application to be heard. The prescribed date will most likely be adjourned to a few weeks later.

What do I need to prove in order to get the work licence?

To make a work licence application, you must provide the following documents to the court:

  • An affidavit written by yourself
  • This is basically a written statement where you confirm by oath or affirmation, addressing your personal, work, financial and driving circumstances. This is an opportunity for you to explain why your work licence should be granted.

  • An affidavit from your employer if you are not self-employed
  • The employer needs to address the necessity of holding a work licence for your job and an explicit statement that you will lose your job if you are not issued with a work licence.

Please note that the affidavit must be in the right format and contain all the required information in order to satisfy the Court. This could be a complicated process. We suggest you contact Ascent Lawyers to seek professional advice.

What happens in court?

At the Magistrate Court, the Magistrate will consider your application by referring to the requirements stated in section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995:

  • Whether you are a fit and proper person to be granted a work licence
  • Whether losing your licence will deprive you of the means of earning income

The police officer can object to you being granted a work licence. However, the Magistrate retains the rights to make the final decision as to whether you should be granted a work licence.

Should I hire a lawyer to represent me?

By considering various factors on this issue, the general answer is yes. Here is why:

  • You may fail to prepare affidavits such as:
    • Incorrect format
    • Incorrect forms
    • Insufficient information
  • You may fail to represent yourself which could cause:
    • Larger amount of fines
    • Extended period of disqualification period
    • Improper work licence terms
  • You may be granted a work licence that does not:
    • Include all days/hours you work
    • Include all the vehicle types you need to drive
    • Allow you to carry passengers

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