Are you a driver charged with a traffic offence? Are you facing a period of licence disqualification or suspension?

Friday, July 1, 2016

The traffic laws recognise that loss of licence can impact on a person’s ability to earn an income. As such, the law tries to balance the need for road safety with the needs of a driver convicted to provide financially for themselves and their family.

Individuals charged with traffic offences such as drink and drug driving can apply to the Magistrates Court (if they satisfy the relevant eligibility criteria) to retain their licence.

Drink/Drug Driving Offences 

Any person convicted of driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .05 or with an illicit drug in their system, will face a mandatory period of disqualification. The minimum disqualification that can be imposed in Queensland is a period of not less than one (1) month.

The disqualification imposed by a Court will depend on a number of factors including;

  1. The reading;
  2. Whether the individual has previous convictions of a like nature;
  3. The impact the disqualification will have on them;
  4. The defendant’s otherwise good character which is often attested to in character references from friends and family; and
  5. Any steps they have taken to ensure the behaviour will not be repeated in the future such as attending and completing an attitudinal driving workshop.

Eligibility to apply for a Work Licence:

To be eligible to apply to a Magistrate for a Work Licence, you must;

  1. Be the holder of a valid open Queensland licence;
  2. Be charged with driving with a BAC under 0.15% or  driving with an illicit drug present in your blood or saliva;

You must not;

  1. Have had your licence disqualified, suspended or cancelled in the last five (5) years;
  2. Been driving for purposes directly connected with your employment at the time you were apprehended;
  3. Have been driving classes of vehicle including a truck, bus or limousine.

Having met these eligibility requirements, a driver can advise the Magistrate that you wish to apply for a hearing date for a Work Licence Application.

To obtain a Work Licence a driver must satisfy a Magistrate that:

  1. That you are a fit and proper person to hold a Work Licence;  and
  2. That you would suffer extreme financial hardship if your application was refused.

The above needs to be confirmed in a sworn affidavit from you and your employer. This is filed with the Court and served on the police prior to your hearing.

If a Magistrate is satisfied with regard to the above, then you will be granted a licence allowing you to drive for work purposes for the period of the disqualification (usually twice the period of suspension where no work licence is sought). There are usually strict conditions imposed on the work license order. These can include times and days during which you are permitted to drive, the class of motor vehicle you are allowed to drive, the necessity to wear a work uniform, carry a log book or refrain from carrying passengers.

If you, a friend or family member have been charged with an offence of drink or drug driving, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice, especially if your livelihood is dependent on you holding a license. A member of our criminal and traffic team would be more than happy to assist you throughout this process to ensure that you obtain a result that is most favourable to your circumstances.

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