Licence Disqualification – What About Work?


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If you are convicted of any offence related to drink driving, driving under the influence of liquor or drugs (DUI), failing to supply a specimen of breath or saliva, or driving with a relevant drug (cannabis, MDMA, or ice) in your saliva or blood, you will inevitably suffer an immediate and mandatory licence disqualification.

Even in relation to low-range drink driving, the disqualification period could be anywhere between one and nine months.  For many people, having a licence is essential to maintaining their employment and therefore their ability to provide for their family; suffering a disqualification could be disastrous.

Fortunately, in many circumstances, application can be made for what is commonly called a “work licence”.  You might hear a “work licence” otherwise referred to as a “restricted licence” or a “Section 87”.  In essence, it is a licence that lets you drive for work even though your licence has been disqualified because of drink or drug driving.

Some people who are facing a disqualification are not entitled to apply for a work licence.  For example, if your blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent or more when you were caught, you cannot apply.  In addition, if you were driving for work purposes when you were caught, or if you were convicted of a similar offence within the last five years, or if you do not actually hold a job, you cannot apply for a work licence.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just turning up and asking a sentencing magistrate nicely for a work licence.  An application, along with supporting affidavit material, must be submitted in advance of your sentencing proceedings for consideration during your sentencing proceedings.

The supporting affidavit material must focus on two key factors: (1) demonstrating to the court that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ having regard to the safety of other road users and the public generally; and (2) demonstrating to the court that you will lose your job (and your income) and that such will cause extreme hardship to you or your family.

In relation to whether or not you are a ‘fit and proper person’ the court will assess whether you have the ability and knowledge to drive safely, as well as whether you have any demonstrated propensity for unsafe driving. If you have just had a few speeding fines in the past, you might be in luck, but if you are someone whose history shows a genuine disposition towards criminal behaviour, irresponsibility, and disrespect for the law, you might have some difficulties.  The supporting affidavit material really has to convince the magistrate that your drink or drug driving was an aberration of character, and that you are otherwise a responsible road user who is considerate of other road users. 

When it comes to demonstrating that you will lose your job, it is essential that your employer provides an affidavit swearing or affirming that you will lose your job or a substantial portion of your income if you do not have a licence.  If you are self-employed, this information can be contained within an affidavit under your own hand.

If you have any questions about applications for work licences, or about drink or drug driving charges generally, call Fisher Dore Lawyers on 1300 557 884 for advice and representation. 

This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact the Fisher Dore team.


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