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Applying for a work licence

What is a work licence?

A work licence is a licence that lets you drive for work even though your normal driver licence has been cancelled because of drink driving or a similar offence. A work licence is officially called “a restricted licence under section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995”.

You need to apply to the court for an order for a work licence. If the magistrate gives you an order for a work licence, they can put conditions on the work licence, like the times and purposes for which you can drive – it is a restricted licence. You cannot automatically get a work licence because you need your licence for work. There are strict criteria and the magistrate can refuse your application if the magistrate is not satisfied that you are a fit and proper person to hold a restricted licence.

Am I eligible for a work licence?

You may be eligible for a work licence if:

  • you have been charged with drink driving, fail to provide a sample of breath at the roadside, or driving with a relevant drug in the blood or saliva (but not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or fail to provide a specimen of breath at the police station) and
  • you are going to plead guilty and are going to lose your driver licence and
  • you need your driver licence for work.

You must be going to plead guilty to one of the following offences:

  • drink driving
  • being in charge of a vehicle while over the limit
  • driving with cannabis, ecstasy or ice (these are referred to as a “relevant drug” in the legislation) in your saliva or blood
  • being in charge of a vehicle with a relevant drug in your saliva or blood
  • failing to supply a breath or saliva sample at the roadside (not at the police station).

You will not be eligible for a work licence if you have been charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as these are more serious charges. A blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or more is considered to be “under the influence.”

To apply for a work licence you must also meet all the criteria below:

  • You held a current Queensland open driver licence for the vehicle you were driving when you were caught for one of the offences listed above.
  • You had a blood alcohol concentration level of less than 0.15 percent when you were caught for one of the offences listed above.
    You weren’t driving for your job or already under a work licence when you were caught for one of the offences listed above.
  • You weren’t driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol concentration to be zero when you were caught for one of the offences listed above, eg a learner licence or provisional licence.
  • You hold a current Queensland open driver licence when you apply for the work licence.
  • You haven’t been convicted anywhere of drink driving or a similar offence in the last five years.
  • You haven’t been convicted in Queensland of dangerous driving in the last five years.
  • You haven’t had your licence disqualified, suspended or cancelled in the last five years. (There are some exceptions to this, eg if the State Penalties Enforcement Registry suspended your licence because you didn’t pay your fine, or your licence was suspended for 24 hours after you were charged).

Even if you meet all the criteria above, you must also:

  • apply to the court at the time you are convicted and before the court orders that you are disqualified from driving
  • show the court you are a ‘fit and proper person’
  • show the court that you’ll lose your job (and your income) if you don’t get a work licence, which will cause extreme hardship to you or your family.

If you don’t need your driver licence once you get to your job, but you need it to travel to and from work (eg if there is no public transport available and no one is available to drive you to and from work), you may be eligible for a work licence.

You cannot get a work licence if:

  • you’re unemployed, even if you’re looking for a job
  • it’s more convenient to have a licence but you don’t need your licence for your job
  • you need your licence for your current job, but you can easily get another job you don’t need a licence for, so you wouldn’t have money problems
  • you’re the only driver in the family and you need to take your children to and from school, or take a relative to medical appointments etc.

It doesn’t matter how much you need a licence, or how good your reasons are, if you don’t need it to keep your job/s and your income, the court cannot give you any type of licence. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for a work licence, get legal advice.

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