If you break the law and you're disqualified from driving, it will be for a set period - it could be for as long as five years. If you're disqualified for more than 2 years or you've been disqualified absolutely, you may be able to apply to have the disqualification removed after 2 years. You cannot apply before 2 years.
I went to court and was disqualified from driving for three years but I've got a new job now and I really need my licence. Do I have to wait the whole three years?
No you don't. If you've been disqualified for more than two years:
- you can apply to a court to remove your disqualification after 2 years, there is no court fee
- then, as long as the court makes an order which does remove the disqualification, you can apply to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for a licence in the ordinary way (but you must show the Department of Transport and Main Roads the court order)
- remember that the Department of Transport and Main Roads may require you to pass the usual testing procedures.
I was disqualified absolutely from driving a few years ago. Can I get a licence back?
Yes, you can if it's at least two years after you were disqualified. Then, you can apply to a court as set out above (or if you were disqualified absolutely before 13 March 2002 you can apply directly to the Department of Transport and Main Roads instead of to a court).
What court do I go to so that I can try to get rid of the disqualification?
You need to look at which court made the order to disqualify your licence:
- if the order was made by the supreme court then you go to the supreme court
- if the order was made by the district court then you go to the district court
- if the order was made by the magistrates court:
- if you live in Queensland, you go to the magistrates court near where you live
- if you live interstate, you go to the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
What does the court look at to decide if it will make an order to remove my disqualification?
The court looks at:
- your character
- what you did to get disqualified from driving
- how you've behaved since you were disqualified
- any other circumstances.
Because the court has to look at these things, it will definitely look at any criminal history you have and your traffic history. It may also look at other things.
It's two years since I was disqualified so I want to apply to a court to remove my disqualification. What do I do now?
- Go to any Department of Transport and Main Roads customer service centre and fill in a form to get a copy of your traffic history. There is a fee for this.
- If you have ever been to court or been in trouble with the police, go to your local police station and fill in a form to get a copy of your criminal history. There is a fee for this.
- Fill in an application form (ask at the court registry for the form to remove a licence disqualification) and lodge it with the court. The court will give you a court date.
- Prepare an affidavit which tells the story of why you were disqualified, any criminal history, explains any bad traffic history, explains why you want to be able to get your licence back etc. You can lodge this at the court with your application or later.
- You must serve a copy of your application on the police prosecutor as soon as you can, because you must give the police 28 days notice of your application.
- You also need to give the prosecutor a copy of your affidavit. You can leave this until the court date, or if you lodge the application and affidavit together, then you may as well serve both together.
- On the court date, the magistrate may want you to give evidence as well as reading your affidavit and the prosecutor and the magistrate may ask you questions.
- If the court gives you an order which removes your disqualification, you can then apply to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for a licence in the ordinary way.
- The court order is not a licence, it is an order saying you no longer have a disqualification, so do not drive until you have been to the Department of Transport and Main Roads with the court order and the Department of Transport and Main Roads has given you a licence.
- If your disqualification was for a drink driving type offence, you may be required to participate in the alcohol ignition interlock program even after the disqualification has been removed.
The court refused my application to get rid of the disqualification. I can apply again in a few weeks, can't I?
No you can't. If you apply and the court says no, you have to wait another whole year before you can apply again. That's why sometimes it's better to wait a bit longer than two years before you apply to remove your disqualification.
It's always best to talk to a lawyer and get legal advice before you apply to remove your disqualification. A self-help kit is available free of charge from Legal Aid Queensland to help with applying to remove your disqualification.
Alcohol Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program
My licence was disqualified for drink driving. My disqualification period is over and I want to apply for a new licence. Will there be any restrictions on my new licence?
There may be. If the disqualification was for a drink driving type offence committed on or after 6 August 2010, then you may have to participate in the alcohol ignition interlock program.
The types of offences the alcohol ignition interlock program will apply to include:
- a driving under the influence of liquor offence
- a drink driving offence with a BAC of 0.15% or higher
- failure to provide a specimen of breath or blood
- two or more drink driving offences of any kind within a five year period (on or after 6 August 2010)
- dangerous driving while affected by alcohol, or
- an offence involving a breach of the alcohol ignition interlock program requirements.
While under the interlock program, you will have to drive a vehicle fitted with an alcohol ignition interlock device and you must have a BAC of 0.00% at all times when driving.
Harsh penalties may apply if you do not follow the rules of the interlock program. If you are charged with a breach of the interlock program you should get legal advice.
What is an alcohol ignition interlock device and how do I get one?
An alcohol ignition interlock is a device connected to the ignition of a vehicle that requires the driver to provide a breath sample before starting the vehicle. If any alcohol is detected in your breath, the vehicle will not start.
If you want to drive while under the interlock program, you will need to have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle by one of the contracted interlock suppliers.
You will have to pay for the installation, rental, servicing and removal of the interlock device. If you are a low income earner, you may be eligible for a discount or financial assistance. Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads for more information.
How long will I have to be under the Interlock Program?
You will have to be a part of the program for up to 2 years after your drink driving disqualification period ends. You may be able to leave the program early if you meet certain conditions.
To be eligible to leave the program early, you must have met all three of the following conditions for a minimum of 12 months:
If you do not follow the rules, the minimum period may be extended.
The maximum period you have to be on the interlock program is 2 years after your drink driving disqualification period ends. The interlock program will end after 2 years even if you have had an interlock device fitted to your vehicle for less than 12 months.
Can I apply for an exemption from the interlock program?
Yes. In limited circumstances, you may apply to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for an exemption from the interlock program. There are strict criteria that you will need to meet to be eligible for an exemption. You should get legal advice.