What is a Limited Licence?
A limited licence (often referred to as a ‘work licence’) is a driver’s licence that allows a disqualified or suspended person to drive most typically for the purpose of their work. As the name suggests it is more limited in its usability than a full drivers licence.
Am I eligible?
Not everyone can apply for a limited licence/ work licence. There are three sorts of problems that we consider in a limited licence case:
- The gateway conditions
- “Public safety” issues
- Other eligibility issues
Read more below.
1:The gateway conditions
You need to be able to answer “yes” to at least one of these two questions:
a) If I don’t get a limited licence will I suffer extreme hardship?
Extreme hardship is typically job loss and with it loss of your income and eventually your house. That you would suffer inconvenience in not being able to drive is not enough. So if you can easily carry on in your job without being able to drive, then we’re sorry but yours is not a good case to take to court. But we usually manage to find hardship for our clients that can be characterised as extreme.
b) If I don’t get a limited licence will some other person or some other people suffer undue hardship?
Undue hardship typically means serious financial hardship. (Once again inconvenience is not enough).
Maybe your employer will not be able to replace you and his business will suffer seriously or your children will suffer financial hardship because you won’t be able to provide for them – that’s all undue hardship.
Personal and not solely financial hardships can sometimes be used here. For example Patrick has succeeded in getting limited licences that allow clients to drive other people including children for special purposes.
2: Public safety issues
This is all about whether the police think that you will be safe behind the wheel if you do get a limited licence. What endangers public safety is a highly uncertain question and views vary widely amongst police sergeants. What will provoke an objection on the part of the police depends on your previous convictions, what sort of period they fall within, your area of the country, and such other proclaimed material factors. Call us for an assessment of your situation.
3: Other eligibility issues
There are other complicated factors that may upset a limited licence application. These typically arise with people who have had previous disqualifications, or who are required to have an ‘alcohol interlock licence’ instead of a limited licence.
Call us for an assessment of your particular situation – obligation free.
The 28-day stand down
If you’ve been disqualified on a “serious” traffic offence – namely drink driving and similar road hazard type offences (which typically carry at least 6 months disqualification) – then sorry but the law says that we can’t get you a limited licence until the first 28 days of the disqualification are over.
Great news – no stand down in some cases
With a demerit point suspension or a disqualification for careless use, or any of the “Boy-racer” offences (sustained loss of traction, unnecessary exhibition of speed or street racing) you don’t need to wait 28 days – you can apply for a limited licence immediately.
Supposing I am eligible – what happens then?
We can custom build a limited licence that suits your needs. An expert draftsman in the ActiveLegal team will compose a number of documents which will be filed with the court. The only thing that we require from you is particular personal information and your attendance at court – but don’t worry, we do all the talking.
And what are your chances? Again consult us. But, here’s an indication. We have succeeded in getting a limited licence for a client convicted (in the hands of another lawyer) on a fifth drink drive with a previous conviction within the last five years – and who was on a suspended jail term for the most recent conviction! We hope that gives you hope.
Demerit Point Suspensions and Limited Licences
If you believe that you will soon be served with a demerit point suspension notice (consequent on getting 100 demerit points or more within a two-year period) then don’t wait – call us now. We can have the limited licence application ready to go before the notice is served. That’s important because once you’re served the notice you won’t be able to drive from that moment. There is a popular misconception that you have to wait a month before you can apply for a limited licence where you’ve been suspended on demerit points. Not so! We have put people back on the road the next day or within days after service of the notice. Indeed in some cases, we have been able to do it on the very same day that the notice was served!
The community work instead of disqualification option
A particular section of the law can allow for a sentence of community work to be served rather than a term of disqualification. Patrick has great affection for section 94 since in 2004, (alone amongst lawyers) he and his team had to fight to save it from abolition. Although, modesty makes it difficult to recount the story, it is true that but for our campaign this legal device would not still be on the books. Distressingly, the then government was intending to destroy this piece of the law and it took very considerable effort on the part of the ActiveLegal team to reverse that programme. Our submission and lobbying changed the government’s plan and the governmental select committee reported to Parliament on Patrick’s submission, saying:
- “A submitter [Patrick and team] argued that [the proposed law change] is too restrictive in its focus. It would remove this provision from being able to be used as a rehabilitative mechanism …. We [unanimously] consider that the use of the provision to facilitate rehabilitation has merit and therefore recommend an amendment to [the proposed law change] to effectively retain the status quo ….”
The government accordingly removed the proposed change and substituted the version that appears in the current law. Happily, the section has since been used to save the jobs, homes and businesses of a great many defendants across the country. So if you are interested in this outcome, we suggest you call the team that has had more to do with this piece of law than anyone else in practice. There are particular eligibility requirements which we will be pleased to let you know.