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South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:42

Special Hardship Orders v Work Licences

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We are asked everyday by people whether they can get a work licence, day licence or special hardship licence if they are disqualified by the courts or about to be.

In Queensland there are only two licences to allow a person to drive during a period of licence disqualification or suspension, these are work licences and special hardship licences.

A work licence is only available to people who are charged with a drink or drug driving offence and need to drive for work purposes.  The Government however only allows certain people to apply for a work licence.  To apply for a work licence you must be on an open Queensland drivers licence and the alcohol reading must be no more than .149.  You cannot apply if in the last five years you have had your licence suspended (unless it’s a SPER suspension), cancelled or disqualified.  This applies regardless of your circumstances (eg. You will lose your job, you can’t get your children to school etc). A work licence must be applied for at the time of sentencing for the drink or drug driving charge, it cannot be applied for later.  For full details on applying for a work licence see our work licence page.

A special hardship licence is only available to Queensland open or provisional licence holder who elect to go on a good driving period and lose 2 or more demerit points during that one year period.  A special hardship can also be applied for people who drive more than 40 km/h over the speed limit (high speed offence).  Like a work licence a person with a disqualification or suspension of the licence in the last 5 years cannot apply (a SPER suspension is an exception).  Unlike a work licence a Court can allow a person to drive for things other than for work purposes.  These need to be extreme circumstances such as on-going specialist, medical or counselling appointments.

The rules for a special hardship licence application are very complex, more details can be found on our special hardship licence page.

There are no licences available if you have already been disqualified by a Court and subsequently find you need a licence nor are there licences available if you have been charged with offences such as demerit point unlicensed driving.  If you do not qualify for a work licence or special hardship licence and are facing a disqualification by the courts then you will not be allowed to drive during that disqualification.


This area of law is changing constantly and you should get good legal help if you need to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence.

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.  For more information on work licences and special hardship orders visit the driving law website or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.  

This article is for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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