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Criminal Law Blog QLD

When can you apply for a special hardship order?

Part 14 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010 regulates the application of Special Hardship Orders.

A special hardship order is a court order that grants permission for you to drive under your Queensland licence, even though your normal driver licence was suspended.

You will only be able to drive under strict restriction stated in the order. The restrictions will include, the purpose for which you may drive, the type of vehicle and times that you may drive. You may be eligible for a special hardship order if you need your licence to keep your job and your income, or for another special reason. You won’t automatically get a hardship order, just because you allege that you need it for work, studies or income. There are strict eligibility criteria, and even if you meet the criteria, the court may still not grant the order if it decides that you are not a fit and proper person.

When can you apply for a special hardship order?

  • You might want to apply for a special hardship order, if your normal licence was suspended, due to one of the following situations:
  • You have been convicted of driving more than 40km above the speed limit, or
  • More than one demerit point is allocated to your traffic history while you were under a 12 month good behavior period, or
  • You find yourself in a dual suspension - you have been convicted of driving more than 40km above the speed limit, and you have accumulated more than one demerit point to your traffic history while you were under a 12 month good behavior period, and
  • You need your licence to get to and from work or study, or for another special reason.

Take note: You need to complete a Special Hardship Order Application form. (If you fall under dual suspension, tick both types of suspension).

Application process

When you receive a Notice of Suspension for a high speed offence and a Notice to Choose between suspension or a 12 month good behaviour driving period (and you are not already on a good behaviour period).

Apply for a Special Hardship Order for the high speed suspension, and
Respond to the Notice to Choose by choosing the 12-month good behaviour driving period.
Return the Notice to the Department of Transport and Main Roads before the date mentioned in the Notice.

You must apply within 21 days of your licence being suspended – you can apply on the day of suspension, but not before.

You must present the notice that you received from the Department of Transport and Main Roads to the court staff.

You need to lodge the application for the Special Hardship Order with the court in the Magistrate District that you reside in. You can confirm your district by checking with the court registry.

Take note: If you choose suspension, or do nothing by the mentioned date, your licence will be suspended. You will not be able to apply for a SHO to drive.

When may the court grant a SHO in your favour?

You can only apply for a SHO if you hold a current valid Queensland provisional or open driver licence immediately before the suspension and, in the past five years:

  • Your Queensland licence has not been suspended or cancelled, or
  • You haven’t been disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland licence, or
  • You haven’t had your authority to drive on Queensland roads under a non-Queensland driver licence suspended, or
  • You haven’t been convicted in Queensland for dangerous driving.

You cannot apply for a special hardship order, if you held a foreign or interstate licence before the suspension, or if you did not hold a licence at all. A SHO is not available to a learner driver licence.

Even if you meet all of the above criteria:

  • You must show the court that you are a “fit and proper” person.
  • You must prove to the court that you and your family will suffer extreme hardship, if you are not able to work as a result of the suspension, or you and your family will suffer severe and unusual hardship for another reason (other than you not being able to work).

Not following the correct procedure can have serious consequences. Get legal advice if you are not sure about whether you may qualify for a special hardship order, or if you are unsure about the correct application procedure.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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