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Applying for a special hardship order

What is a special hardship order?

A special hardship order is an order that lets you drive under special conditions even though your normal driver licence has been suspended.

You need to apply to the court in writing for a special hardship order. If the magistrate gives you an order, they can put conditions on the order, like the times and purposes for which you can drive. The order will apply until your licence suspension period ends.

You cannot automatically get a special hardship order because you say you need your licence for work, study or another reason. There are strict criteria and the magistrate can refuse your application if you meet the criteria to apply but the magistrate does not think you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

You can read about special hardship orders in Part 14 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010, available from www.legislation.qld.gov.au

Am I eligible for a special hardship order?

You may be eligible for a special hardship order if your licence has been (or is about to be) suspended because:

  • you have been charged with driving more than 40 km over the speed limit (often referred to as a ‘high speed offence’) or
  • more than one demerit point is allocated to your traffic history while you were driving during a 12 month good behaviour period or
  • you have been charged with driving more than 40km over the speed limit andyou have more than one demerit point allocated to your traffic history while you were driving during a 12 month good behaviour period (dual suspension) and
  • you need your licence to either to do your job, or to get to and from work or study, or for another special reason.

If you fall into the dual suspension category, make sure you tick both types of suspensions on the Application for a Special Hardship Order form so that both suspensions can be dealt with at the one time. You can read more about the application form later in this guide.

If you are not already on a good behaviour driving period but have received both a Notice of Suspension for a high speed offence and also a Notice to Choose between a suspension or a 12 month good behaviour driving period, and you need your licence for at least one of the reasons mentioned above:

  • apply to the court for a special hardship order for the high speed suspension and
  • respond to the Notice to Choose by choosing the 12 month good behaviour driving period. Read the Notice very carefully to make sure you correctly choose the good behaviour period. Return the Notice to the Department of Transport and Main Roads as soon as possible so that they receive your choice by the date stated in the Notice. If you choose the suspension or do nothing at all by the date in the Notice, your licence will be suspended and you cannot apply for a special hardship order or any other special type of licence to drive for this suspension. Because of this suspension, you will not be eligible for a special hardship order for the high speed offence either.

To apply for a special hardship order you must also be able to tick all the boxes below:

  • You held a current Queensland provisional or open driver licence immediately before the licence was suspended. If you held a foreign or interstate licence or did not hold a licence at all, you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship order.
  • You haven’t had your Queensland licence suspended or cancelled, or been disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland licence in the last five years.
  • You haven’t had your authority to drive on Queensland roads under a non-Queensland driver licence suspended in the last five years.
  • You haven’t been convicted in Queensland of dangerous driving in the last five years.

Even if you have ticked all the boxes above, you must also:

  • apply to the magistrates court in the district or division in which you live within 21 clear days of your licence being suspended (you can apply on the day your licence is suspended, but not before that day)
  • bring your notice that you have received from the Department of Transport and Main Roads with you to present to the court staff
  • show the court that you are a ‘fit and proper person’
  • show the court that if you don’t get a special hardship order you or your family will suffer:
    • extreme hardship because you won’t be able to work or
    • severe and unusual hardship for another reason other than because you won’t be able to work.

You only need to meet one of these criteria, but if you meet both you should include them both in your application.

Note: It is important that you know what court division or district you live in. You can do this by checking with the court registry.

Remember: 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 and your income or for another special reason, the court will not give you a special hardship order. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for a special hardship order, get legal advice.

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