If you have been charged with a Drink Driving offence you must receive a disqualification. This is in addition to any other sentence that the Court may impose. In some circumstances, you can obtain a Work Licence for the period of the disqualification.
The length of the disqualification depends on a number of factors including:
- your reading,
- the circumstances of your driving; and
- any previous traffic history.
A first offender with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .072%, might expect a disqualification of 3 to 4 months. If they relied upon a licence to maintain employment, they could apply for a Restricted Work Licence (sometimes described as a ‘Work Licence’ or ‘Day Licence’). During the disqualification, they could then drive a vehicle for work purposes.
Purpose of Work Licence
A work licence is issued to enable a person to earn a living. You cannot attend to domestic or personal duties with a work licence.
For example, a plumber could travel from home to the depot and between various job sites. They could also go to the hardware store to collect supplies. They would be in breach of the Order if they stopped off to collect groceries or drop children to school.
Work Licence Eligibility
You are not eligible for a work licence unless you can demonstrate that you meet the requirements namely that you:
- hold a current open Queensland Driver Licence
- had a BAC of less than 0.15%
- did not commit the offence in the course of your employment.
- are over 25 years of age.
- were not driving under a licence that required your BAC to be zero.
Additionally, you must not, in the last 5 years have:
- Had a licence suspended or cancelled (other than SPER);
- Been convicted of another Drink Driving offence; or
- Been convicted of Dangerous Driving.
You must complete an Application for a Restricted Work Licence. Forms are available from Queensland Transport the Magistrates Court Registry.
You will need to complete an Affidavit. This should set out:
- why you will suffer extreme financial hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a livelihood.
- that you are a fit and proper person to hold a driver licence.
If you are employed, your employer must submit an Affidavit. A letter from your boss is not sufficient.
It is wise to have an experienced Traffic Lawyer review or draft this material, particularly if your traffic history is questionable or your BAC reading is high.
You need to advise the Court that you are applying for a work licence before you enter your plea of guilty.
The Magistrate or the Prosecutor may require both you and your employer to give evidence. Accordingly, you should have your employed attend Court with you.
A Lawyer with experience appearing in the traffic callover can assist you to advocate for a work licence. They will make persuasive submissions, relevant to your situation. Lawyers assist the Magistrate to reduce the disqualification period and penalty. They highlight the merits of your case, having regard to legislation, precedents and other sentencing principles.
Often the Court will impose conditions on the Order. Common conditions include:
- That you must wear a uniform;
- That you do not carry any passengers;
- That you must carry a log book and complete the anticipate destination before departing; or
- That you carry a copy of the Order with you at all times.
You should note that if you are successful in obtaining a Work Licence you will not be able to drive until you have attended upon Queensland Transport and obtained a valid licence. It would be an offence to drive from the Court House to the Transport Department. You should organise a friend to drive you to the Department of Transport.
If you fail to comply with the conditions of your work licence, you may be prosecuted by the police. You will lose the work licence, and subject to further penalties.
The legislation permits the Court to impose double the disqualification period where a work licence application is granted. This does not routinely occur.
Will a Lawyer help me?
Engaging a lawyer has many benefits including:
- Timely advice regarding possible defences, eligibility for work licences and processes to mitigate any disqualification or penalty.
- An advocate with complete knowledge of the relevant laws, precedents, court room procedure and sentencing principles who can speak on your behalf. You may even be able to avoid having to attend procedural mentions and adjournments.
- An experienced negotiator, who can proactively resolve factual disputes or
- An experienced court room advocate who can persuade the Court to adopt a more favourable penalty.
The legislation governing work licence applications is the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act.
For details on how to obtain your traffic history Department of Transport
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.
For specific legal advice, you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.
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