DUI Restricted Work Licence in QLD
Applying for Work Licence in Queensland
In Queensland, when a person has been charged with a "minor" drink driving offence then the law stipulates that the offender is to have their licence disqualified for a period of time.
Anyone that regularly drives a motor vehicle would know that maintaining a valid drivers licence can be an integral part of their day-to-day living, especially when it comes to making a living for themselves and their families. Those people who drive regularly will realise that their drivers licence is a crucial part of being able to drive to and from work, drive for the purpose of carrying out their work duties and various other professional commitments involved in the course of their business or employment.
Therefore, it is no secret when someone is unfortunate enough to have been charged with a drink driving offence and is facing a loss of licence that this raises significant concerns as to how they may be able to continue working and earning an income.
Luckily in Queensland, legislation has been passed to provide an opportunity for certain "eligible" people to apply for a Restricted Work Licence. However, you should know that there is a strict criteria which a person needs to satisfy in order to be able to become eligible to apply for a Restricted Work Licence.
The laws which relate to the relevant Restricted Work Licence Application in Queensland come under Section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.
Eligibility Criteria for a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence
As mentioned above Section 87 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 puts in place a strict criteria which a person must satisfy in order to be eligible to apply for a Restricted Work Licence. If any of the following exclusionary criteria points relate to you then unfortunately you will be ineligible to apply for a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence.
The following criteria includes:
- hold a current Queensland provisional or open driver’s licence;
- were not driving to or from work at the time you were charged;
- have had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15%;
- were not driving under a work licence at the time of charge;
- were not driving under a licence that required a zero alcohol reading;
- have not been convicted of drink driving or drug driving or dangerous driving or had your licence suspended or cancelled within the last 5 years;
- can show that you will suffer extreme financial hardship if you are unable to obtain a drivers licence.
If you are in a position where you believe that you are eligible to apply for a Restricted Work Licence then there are a number of very important and at times technical legal steps that you need to undertake to be able to prove to the Court that you should be granted the privilege of being able to continue to drive for specific work purposes.
2 Legal Issues which must be proven to the Court
Ultimately, there are 2 crucial issues that you will need to prove to the Court in order to be given the best chance of being granted the privilege of obtaining a Restricted Work Licence. These 2 issues include:
- That you are a "fit and proper" person to be offered the ability to obtain a Restricted Work Licence; and
- If you are unable to drive for the purpose of being employed or being self-employed then you or your family will suffer significant financial hardship.
Whilst we will look at a number of procedural steps that need to be undertaken throughout the Court process in order to apply for a Restricted Work Licence, these two crucial issues are the focal point of what you really need to be able to prove to the Court at the application hearing.
Below we will explain a brief outline of the process involved in applying for a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence.
The 1st Court mention
After you have been charged for a drink driving offence then you will most likely receive a Notice to Appear in Court which means that you will need to attend Court at the particular time and location detailed on the written Notice to Appear issued to you by Police at the time of charge.
Prior to attending the 1st Court appearance you will need to make sure that you review the above eligibility criteria for obtaining a Restricted Work Licence. If after revising this eligibility criteria you believe that you are eligible to apply for a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence then you "MUST" inform the Court at the 1st Court appearance that your intentions are to lodge a Section 87 Application and have the application heard by the Court on a future date.
One extremely important issue that you must be aware of is that if the Court decides to convict and disqualify you (sentence you) at the 1st Court appearance because you or your solicitor have failed to advise the Court that a Section 87 Application is being sought then it will simply be too late for the Court to backtrack its decision once made by removing the sentence already handed down. As a result this will mean that you will be unable to proceed to a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence Application.
So it is extremely important to advise the Court prior to any decisions or sentence being made by the Magistrate that your intentions are to have the matter listed for a Section 87 Application to be heard so that you can try to obtain a Restricted Work Licence.
Preparation for the Section 87 Restricted Work Licence Application
Once you have advised the Court that you are seeking to have the matter listed for a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence Application the Court will list your matter for a future date for this application to be heard.
However, before you simply turn up to that future listing day to have the Application heard there are a number of extremely important and crucial steps that you need to undertake before the Court will be prepared to hear the Section 87 Application.
Step 1: Completing the Section 87 Application Form
There is a specific application form to be filled out and lodged before any Section 87 Application can be heard before a court in Queensland. Anyone can obtain one of the Section 87 Application forms from your local Magistrates Court Registry.
You will then need to fill out all of the details and file it at the Court within the specified period of time prior to the Section 87 Application being heard, this is usually 1-2 weeks prior. Generally speaking there is nothing tricky about completing this form and having it filed at the Court Registry. Additionally a copy of the form should also be served upon Police Prosecutions also at least 1 to 2 weeks prior to the Court listing date for the final Section 87 Application hearing.
Step 2: Preparation of Defendants Affidavit
Another crucial step that needs to be undertaken is for an affidavit to be drawn up and prepared by or on behalf of the defendant. Preparing a well drafted and persuasive affidavit to assist a defendant in their section 87 Restricted Work Licence Application can be legally technical and this is most definitely where the services of an experienced traffic lawyer can be beneficial to you in succeeding in the section 87 Restricted Work License.
A whole range of issues need to be discussed in the defendants affidavit predominantly surrounding the need to maintain a drivers license in order to continue working and continue earning an income to provide for themselves and/or their family. In addition to this the affidavit needs to also go into some detail about the significant financial hardship that either the defendant or the defendant's family will suffer should they be unable to continue driving for the purpose of their employment.
Finally, there needs to be a persuasive argument put forward in the affidavits outlining why the defendant believes that they are a fit and proper person to be granted the privilege of driving under a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence.
This affidavit of the defendant should be filed with a section 87 application form at the Magistrates Court Registry at least 1 to 2 weeks prior to the application listing date. All of these documents need to be filed at the same Court at which the Section 87 Restricted License Application is to be heard at.
If the defendant is self employed then there is no need to obtain an additional affidavit. However, if the defendant is employed by a company or other person then it will be crucial for an additional affidavit to be obtained from the defendants employer.
Step 3: Employers Affidavit in support of the Defendant
If the defendant is employed by another person or company (i.e. they are not self-employed) they they will be required to also file and serve an Affidavit prepared by their employer which will ultimately touch upon a whole range of issues about their employment and the defendants need to be able to maintain a drivers licence for the purpose of maintaining employment.
This affidavit prepared by the defendants employer needs to be well written and informative statements used to outline the duties and requirements which are required for the defendant to drive for the purpose of their work. In addition to this, strong statements need to be made in the affidavit to advise the Court that if the defendant is unable to drive for the purpose of carrying out their duties or job then this will ultimately result in the defendant being terminated from their employment.
Both the affidavit from the defendant and/or the employer are formal Court documents which are made on oath and are required to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or other equivalent person prior to being filed with the Court. It is extremely important that these documents are taken seriously and that the truth be told within these documents. Both the defendant and/or the defendants employer can be cross-examined in the witness box on any of the contents within the affidavits.
If it is found that the deponents of the affidavits have lied under oath then they run the risk of being found in contempt of Court which can attract very serious criminal charges. So it is important that these affidavits are taken very seriously when they are being drafted by the deponent.
Step 4: File & Serve Documents
The final step which needs to be undertaken before attending Court to have the Section 87 Restricted Work License Application heard is to file and serve all of the relevant documents in relation to this application.
We have already discussed the relevant documents in relation to the Section 87 Application and these included:
- Section 87 Application Form;
- Affidavit of the Defendant;
- Affidavit of the Defendants Employer (if required).
Once all of these above documents have been carefully drafted and properly prepared then they must be filed at the Magistrates Court in which you are seeking to have this application heard.
After you have filed all these documents the Court will keep a copy on the Court file and provide you with two sealed copies. This will enable you to keep a copy for yourself and also immediately go and serve a copy of each document on the Police Prosecutor.
All of the relevant documents in relation to the Section 87 Application should be filed and served at least 1-2 weeks prior to when the Court has listed the Section 87 Application to be heard.
Step 5: Attending the Section 87 Court Application
You will need to attend Court at the particular time and date that your Section 87 Application has been listed for. It is advisable to arrive at Court a little bit early to enable you to be ready to go as soon as the Court opens.
If you are represented by a lawyer then you will have the opportunity of having your application heard straight away. However, if you are self-represented then you may have to wait around for quite a significant period of time until the Court is ready to hear your matter.
Once your matter has been called then it will be time to stand before the Magistrate and present arguments as to why you are an appropriate person to be granted a Restricted Work License.
This particular step in the process of obtaining a Restricted Work License is where a person will benefit from obtaining the services of a skilled and experienced traffic lawyer to best present arguments and their case before a Magistrate.
In relation to a Section 87 Restricted Work License Application there are specific issues and arguments that the Magistrate will want to discuss and be persuaded on. An experienced traffic lawyer will know exactly what to say and exactly how to persuade the Magistrate in granting the defendant with the opportunity to obtain a Restricted Work License.
The above information is a very brief and basic outline of the process involved in applying for a Section 87 Restricted Work Licence. However, putting the theory into practice can be far more challenging and for this reason to have the best chance of being able to obtain a Restricted Work Licence you should contact our specialist Traffic Lawyer on 1300 941 900.