I am going to Court for drink driving and I am pleading guilty but I need my licence for work. Can I just tell the Court this when I plead guilty and get a work licence?
No. To get a work licence you need to apply in writing to the Court and it will decide whether you get one or not. And to be entitled to apply for a work licence at all, you must be able to say “yes” to all of the things below:
- at the time you were caught for drink driving you:
- held a current Queensland open driver’s licence for the vehicle you were driving.
- had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15%.
- were not driving for your job or already under a work licence.
- were not driving under a licence that required your BAC to be zero e.g. if you are on a learner, provisional, probationary or restricted license.
- at the time you apply for the work licence you hold a current Queensland open driver’s licence
- in the last five years you have not:
- been convicted anywhere of drink driving or a similar offence.
- been convicted in Queensland of dangerous driving.
- had a licence suspended or cancelled (except in some circumstances).
Even if you can say “yes” that all of these things apply to you, to get a work licence:
- you must apply to the Court at the time you are convicted and before the Court Orders that you are disqualified from driving
- you must show the Court that:
- you are a ‘fit and proper person’; and
- that if you do not get one this will cause you or your family extreme hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a living.
I think I can say “yes” to all the things I need to get a work licence. What do I do now?
- Go to Court on the date set for your drink driving and tell the Magistrate you want to apply for a work licence. Do not plead guilty then.
- The Magistrate will give you a Court date a few weeks away which is the date you will actually apply for the work licence.
- Fill in an application form (ask at the Court registry for the form) and prepare an affidavit by you and your employer (or just by you if you are self-employed) explaining that you will lose your job if you have no licence.
- Lodge the application and affidavit/s with the Court and give a copy to the police prosecutor (you can do this on the Court date or before).
- When you go into Court, make sure you tell the Magistrate you are applying for a work licence and that the Court and the prosecutor has a copy of your application and affidavits.
- If your employer has done an affidavit, make sure he/she goes to Court too.
- You can then plead guilty. The Magistrate will convict you and decide your application. The Magistrate will make an Order saying yes or no and for how long.
- The Court may want you or both you and your employer to give evidence as well as reading your affidavit/s.
- If the Court gives you an Order for a work licence, read the conditions very carefully. Driving outside the conditions of your work licence is breaking the law and your work licence will be cancelled.
- The Court Order is not a licence, it is an Order saying you can have one, so do not drive until you have been to the Department of Transport and Main Roads with the Court Order and Queensland Transport has noted your licence.
- If a Court makes an Order for a work licence and your job circumstances change, you can make an application to the Court to change things. It is a similar process to the application for the work licence.
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.
Last time I got caught drink driving I could drive until I went to Court. This time the police said I cannot drive from now on even though I am not in Court for a while. What is going on?
The law has changed. For all drink driving offences your licence is suspended immediately for at least the next 24 hours.
For some drink driving offences (for example if you were caught driving over the high alcohol limit, that is a BAC of 0.10% or more) your licence is suspended immediately until you go to Court and finalise your case.
During the time you are waiting to go to Court for the drink driving offence, you can apply in writing to the Court for a special licence.
It is hard to get this sort of licence because there are not many circumstances where you will be able to show the Court you should get one. So if you intend to plead guilty when you do go to Court for the drink driving, you might decide it is not worth trying for a special licence for the time you are waiting to go to Court.
If you have had your licence suspended until Court and you are thinking about applying for a special licence, ask a lawyer for legal advice.
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