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How do I apply for a work licence?

If you want to apply for a work licence, you need to follow these three steps:

  • Step 1 – Go to court
  • Step 2 – Prepare your application for a work licence
  • Step 3 – The court hears your work licence application.

The following flowchart explains how to apply for a work licence:

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Step 1. Go to court

If you have been charged with an offence you will have to go to the magistrates court and explain your situation to a magistrate.

There are three ways you could be made to go to court:

A. You could receive a Notice to appear

You might be given a Notice to appear. This is a written document that tells you what you have been charged with and where and when you have to go to court. The police can give you a Notice to appear when they charge you or they can send it to you in the mail.

B. You could receive bail and be ordered to go to court

Instead of being taken into custody by the police, you might be given bail and allowed to go home. To get bail you will need to sign a document promising you will go to court on a certain date to face the charges against you.

C. You could receive a fine notice

You might receive a fine notice in the mail, although this doesn’t happen very often. You are more likely to receive a Notice to appear or be arrested and given bail. If you receive a fine notice, you won’t be given a court date. You should get legal advice (before your 28 days to pay the fine ends), and then prepare your documents, file them with the court and receive a court date for your application.

You must go to court on the date set down in your Notice to appear or bail conditions or your application.

What if I don’t go to court when I’m meant to?

If you don’t go to court on the right date you could be charged with a further offence called ‘failing to appear’. The court may issue a warrant for your arrest if you don’t attend court on the correct date.

If you did not appear on a court date, you should get legal advice.

Going to court

Before you arrive:

  • Find out the court’s address and check the location on a map.
  • Organise to arrive at court early. This will give you time to find out which courtroom your matter will be heard in. The duty lawyer will not be available to assist you because duty lawyers do not assist with work licence applications.
  • You might be there all day depending on the number of matters before the court.
  • You should plan to take the whole day off and organise child care if necessary.
  • Dress neatly.
  • Bring all of your paperwork, a pen and note paper.
  • Organise to take a family member or friend to support you. They can come into the courtroom with you.

When you arrive:

  • See the staff at the counter and:
    • tell them your name
    • ask for an interpreter if you need one; the court will arrange and pay for an interpreter
    • find out the courtroom your case will be in or check the daily law list, which is displayed on the notice boards or television screens in the foyers and waiting areas.
  • If possible, see the police prosecutor before court starts and tell them you want to apply for a work licence.
  • Wait for your turn. You can sit quietly at the back of the courtroom and watch other cases to get an idea of what happens.
  • Otherwise, wait outside in the foyer. The court clerk will call your name when the magistrate is going to hear your matter.
  • Turn off your mobile phone. Don’t eat, drink or chew gum in court.

Who’s who in the courtroom?

1. Magistrate — hears the case, decides if you are innocent or guilty and what penalty you should receive.
2. Depositions clerk — assists the magistrate and records proceedings.
3. Police prosecutor — explains your charges to the court and presents the police case against you.
4. Defendant/Applicant — the person who is defending themself against criminal charges (you).

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When you are called

  • Stand when the clerk says “all rise” when the magistrate enters or leaves the courtroom.
  • Bow your head to acknowledge the magistrate when you enter or leave the courtroom.
  • Stand when you are being spoken to and address the magistrate as ‘Your Honour’. Call the police prosecutor ‘the prosecutor’.
  • Speak clearly and follow the magistrate’s instructions. You can read from your notes.
  • If you need an interpreter, ask the court for one on your first court date. The magistrate will adjourn your case to another date and the court will organise and pay for an interpreter.

What will happen on my first mention date?

The first date you go to court is called the first mention date.

At your first mention, you need to tell the magistrate that you would like an adjournment so you can prepare a work licence application. An adjournment means that the matter is put off to another date. The magistrate will give you a new date to come to court, usually a few weeks later. This is when you will apply for a work licence and plead guilty to the offence you have been charged with.

What if I want to plead not guilty?

If you plead not guilty and the magistrate decides you’re not guilty, you won’t lose your normal driver licence, so you won’t need a work licence. If the magistrate finds you guilty, you can then apply for a work licence. If you plan to plead not guilty, you should prepare your work licence application and supporting documents and have these ready in case you’re found guilty. You should also try and get a copy of the QP9 (a written summary of the Police version of why you were charged and what happened) from Police Prosecutions. You should get legal advice.

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Step 2. Prepare your application for a work licence

What documents do I need to prepare my application?

You will need:

  1. an Application for an Order directing the issue of a Restricted Licence (s87) form (your application form)
  2. your Affidavit
  3. an Affidavit by your employer, ie your boss (unless you’re self-employed)
  4. your traffic history, which is a record of your traffic offences, ie any time you’ve been caught for breaking road rules, drink driving etc
  5. your criminal history, which is a record of your criminal convictions (if you have one).

Where do I get the forms and documents?

Application form

You can get an application form from any magistrates court registry (it doesn’t have to be the magistrates court you’re applying to for the work licence).

Affidavits

An affidavit is a written statement to support your application and it is used as your evidence in court. You can get an Affidavit form from any magistrates court registry or you can download one from the Queensland Courts website (Form 46 under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999).

Traffic history

A copy of your traffic history should be included in the QP9 but if it is not, you need to fill in a Driver’s Record Information Request form, which is available from any Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre or on the department’s website. You also need to pay a fee. If you mail the form with the fee, you will need to provide proof of identity. Telephone the department for advice on how to prove your identity if applying for your traffic history by post.

Criminal history

If you know you have criminal convictions, or you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your criminal history. A copy of your criminal history should be included in the QP9 but if not, you need to fill in an Application for Copy of Own Criminal History form at your local police station and pay the fee. Ask at the police station what the current fee is.

What do I do when I have all the forms and documents?

There are several forms and paperwork you must prepare and sign. The following steps describe how to do this.

A. Complete the application form

The application should be clearly written in blue or black ink. You need to fill in your personal details, licence details, and a short description of the facts and circumstances to show that your application’s refusal would cause extreme hardship and that you weren’t driving for work when you were caught. You will need to include more details about this in your affidavit. Read the application carefully to make sure the information you have included is correct and then sign it.

See the sample Application for an Order directing the issue of a Restricted Licence (s87) form in sample documents and forms.

B. Prepare your affidavit

Your affidavit is a written statement to support your application and it is used as your evidence in court. It tells your story to back up your request for a work licence and is presented on an Affidavit form, which is almost completely blank – you have to write most of it.

The affidavit should:

  • explain that you will lose your job if you have no driver licence
  • show that you and your family could not live on the reduced income if you lost your job because you don’t have a licence.

Your affidavit should include your:

  • name, address and occupation
  • family details, including if you have children or other people you help support or fully support
  • job details –
    • your current job and how long you’ve had it
    • what your job usually involves and the hours you work
    • why you need a licence to keep your job (eg you need to drive for your job, you need to carry tools to and from your job, you can’t get to and from work by public transport so you have to drive)
    • how it is not possible for you to keep your job without a licence (eg no one else can do the driving for a while and you can’t be given a different job while you don’t have a licence, or if you can you would get less pay)
    • that if you don’t have your current job you won’t be able to pay your bills, or you would be offered less hours of work and you wouldn’t be able to live on the reduced income
    • that realistically you can’t just walk into another job that will pay your bills and for which you don’t need a licence
  • family finances –
    • what you get paid each week for your job
    • any other family income, eg if your partner works, money from Centrelink for children
    • what you spend each week on the most important things, eg rent/mortgage, food, transport, health, school fees
    • other things you think are important that you need or want to spend money on
  • details about the offence you committed, which will lead to your licence being disqualified –
    • how you came to be picked up by the police, eg a random breath/drug test, you broke a road rule and were pulled over
    • that you weren’t driving for work at the time
    • your reasons for breaking the law, ie how/why you were driving the way you were when you shouldn’t have been
    • how you feel about breaking the law, eg you’re sorry, and if you’ve done anything to make sure you won’t do something similar again
  • details that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ that respects the safety of other road users and the public –
    • attach any sort of criminal history with an explanation
    • if you don’t have a criminal history, say so
    • attach your traffic history with an explanation of what happened and why things are different now
    • if you don’t have a traffic history, say so.

See the sample Affidavit in sample documents and forms.

If you need to attach a document to your Affidavit, (eg your traffic history or criminal history), this document is called an ‘exhibit’. You need to put a certificate of exhibit on the document or attached to the document, which is signed by the justice of the peace who witnesses your affidavit. A certificate of exhibit is a statement that confirms the document is the true copy of the document referred to in the affidavit. See the sample certificate of exhibit attached to a traffic history in sample documents and forms.

The affidavit must be sworn or affirmed in the presence of a commissioner of declarations, justice of the peace or solicitor. To find one near you, call 1300 301 147 or visit www.justice.qld.gov.au

C. Organise your employer’s affidavit

If you’re not self-employed, you must give the court an Affidavit by your employer confirming you will lose your job or a lot of your income if you don’t have a driver licence.

If your employer is an organisation, eg a company, get your immediate boss or someone further up in the organisation to provide the employer’s Affidavit. Whoever provides the employer’s Affidavit must be able to truthfully say you’ll lose your job if you don’t have a licence or that you would get less work and therefore a lot less pay.

Your employer’s Affidavit should include:

  • your employer’s name, address and position (or whoever is doing the affidavit for your employer)
  • your job details (similar to your affidavit)
    • your current job and how long you’ve had it
    • what your job usually involves and the hours you work
    • why you need a licence to keep your job
    • that if you don’t have a licence, you won’t be able to keep your job or your hours would be reduced and you would get less pay.

See the sample employer’s Affidavit in sample documents and forms.

The affidavit must be sworn or affirmed in the presence of a commissioner of declarations, justice of the peace or solicitor. To find one near you, call 1300 301 147 or visit www.justice.qld.gov.au

D. Prepare copies of your documents and file them with the court

You need to have four copies of all the documents:

  1. the court will keep the original
  2. a copy for the police prosecutor
  3. a copy for you to take to court in case you need to look at it
  4. a spare copy.

The original documents should be filed at the court registry before your court date if possible. If not, you can file them at the court registry when you arrive on your court date.

You should give a copy to the police prosecutor before your court date so they can check the information in your affidavit, let you know if they have questions for you that aren’t covered in the affidavit, and tell you if your boss will need to come to court. If your boss isn’t at court and the prosecutor wants to ask them questions, the matter may have to be adjourned until a later date.

You should mail or deliver a copy to the police prosecutor with a letter stating your name, the court date and that you’re applying for a work licence. See the sample letter to the police prosecutor in sample documents and forms.

If you don’t give a copy to the police prosecutor before your court date, you can give it to them when you arrive on your court date.

Step 3. The court hears your work licence application

You must go to court for your application to be heard.

Does my boss need to go to court?

If you have an affidavit from your employer, your boss should be at court if the prosecutor has told you your boss is needed. Many magistrates don’t need the employer to be there if the affidavit covers all the information needed, but some do. If your boss can’t come to court, make sure you have a number they can be contacted on. If the magistrate wants your boss to be in court and they’re not there, the magistrate may adjourn the matter until a later date.

When you arrive

  • Arrive 15 minutes before your hearing time and see the staff at the counter and:
    • tell them your name
    • ask for an interpreter if you need one; the court will arrange and pay for an interpreter
    • find out the courtroom your case will be in or check the daily law list, which is displayed on the notice boards or television screens in the foyers and waiting areas
  • File your work licence application documents at the registry and give a copy to the police prosecutor if you haven’t done this already. If you’ve already sent the police prosecutor a copy and they haven’t received them, give them your spare copy.
  • Wait for your turn. You can sit quietly at the back of the courtroom and watch other cases to get an idea of what happens. Your boss can wait in the courtroom too, or outside. Otherwise, wait outside in the foyer. The court clerk will call your name when the magistrate is going to hear your matter.
  • Turn off your mobile phone. Don’t eat, drink or chew gum in court.

When you are called

  • Stand when the clerk says “all rise” when the magistrate enters or leaves the courtroom.
  • Bow your head to acknowledge the magistrate when you enter or leave the courtroom.
  • Address the magistrate as ‘Your Honour’ and call the police prosecutor ‘the prosecutor’.
  • Speak clearly and follow the magistrate’s instructions. You can read from your notes.

The magistrate reads the charge

When your name is called you will stand at the bar table in front of the magistrate so you are facing the magistrate.

Tell the magistrate you are applying for a work licence and make sure the magistrate and police prosecutor have a copy of your application and affidavits.

Tell the court your boss is there in the courtroom or outside, or that you have a phone number that your boss can be contacted on.

The magistrate then reads the charge and asks if you are pleading guilty or not guilty. You tell the magistrate you are pleading guilty.

The police prosecutor reads their version of events

The police prosecutor reads the police version of events. The police will tell the magistrate if you have any previous criminal convictions or a traffic history. You are entitled to see these if you want to.

You give your version of events

The magistrate will ask you if you have anything to say about the police version of events and if you think they are correct. If there is something you do not agree with that might affect the penalty, you should tell the magistrate.

Remember, if you are pleading guilty to the charge and you say something that suggests you don’t believe you are guilty, the magistrate will not accept your guilty plea.

Tell the magistrate anything that may explain how or why you came to commit the offence. Remember, the magistrate does not want to hear excuses indicating that you hold others responsible for your own mistakes or things that are clearly untrue.

You need to:

  • explain why you committed the offence
  • give any information that might explain how or why you committed the offence (mitigating circumstances), eg you may have been under the influence of prescribed medication that affected your judgement or made you behave in a way you normally wouldn’t
  • say sorry for what you have done if you really mean it - eg you might say, “I realise I have acted stupidly and I apologise Your Honour”.

All of this information should be in your affidavit, so you can read out the relevant particular paragraphs. If you have a criminal record or traffic history and there is something you do not agree with, tell the magistrate.

The magistrate decides your penalty

The magistrate listens to what you have to say, convicts you and decides on the penalty. This will usually include a fine.

The magistrate hears your work licence application

The magistrate may ask you and your boss to go into the witness box to give evidence. You will need to answer any questions about your work licence application and refer to your application and affidavits. The magistrate will then decide whether they will give you an order for a work licence, and the length of time your licence will be disqualified. The work licence will be in place for the disqualification period. The disqualification period may be up to twice the length of the disqualification period you would be likely to receive if you did not receive a work licence.

What happens if the magistrate gives me an order for a work licence?

If the magistrate gives you an order for a work licence, you will need to take the court order to a Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centre where you will be granted the work licence. You may need to pay a fee. You should read the work licence conditions very carefully and make sure you follow them. If you drive outside the work licence conditions, you are breaking the law and your work licence will be cancelled if you get caught.

Remember, if you do get a work licence your alcohol limit is zero. So if you drive or attempt to drive with a work licence with any alcohol in your system, you are breaking the law.

If your job circumstances change after a magistrate makes an order for a work licence, you can apply to the court to change the licence conditions. It is a similar process to applying for a work licence. Section 88 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 explains the process for changing a work licence. You can read or download this Act from the Office of the Queensland Parliament Counsel website.

If you have questions about your work licence, get legal advice.

Remember: The court order is not a licence — it is an order saying you can have one. You still need to take the court order to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, so do not drive until you have taken the court order to the department and they have noted your licence. Even after that, you can only drive to the work licence conditions. If you drive from the courthouse to a Department of Transport and Main Roads Cutomer Service Centre, you are breaking the law. And if you drive even after the Department of Transport and Main Roads has noted your licence, you may still be breaking the law if you are driving outside the work licence conditions.

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