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Special hardship order

If your licence is suspended but you need to keep driving,  such as for work, you may be eligible to apply for a special hardship order.

A special hardship order is a court order that allows a  driver with a suspended provisional or open licence to continue driving under  restricted and specific conditions.

Note: This is different to a restricted (work) licence, which you may be eligible to apply for if  you’ve been convicted of a drink  or drug driving offence.

You may be eligible to apply for a special hardship order if  the licence suspension would cause either:

  • extreme  hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a  living
  • severe  and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than by depriving you of your  means of earning a living.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a special hardship order, you must hold a  Queensland provisional or open driver licence that has been suspended because  you either:

  • gained  2 or more demerit points while driving under a period of good driving behaviour  for 1 year
  • committed  a high speed driving offence (more than 40km/h over the speed limit).

You can’t apply for a special hardship order if your learner  licence has been suspended.

Non-eligibility

You are not eligible to apply for a special hardship order  if, within the 5 years before your driver licence was suspended:

  • your  Queensland driver licence was cancelled or suspended, including if you were  granted a special hardship order
  • you  were disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence
  • your  authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland driver licence was  suspended
  • you  were made ineligible to apply for a Queensland driver licence because you  either
    • incurred excessive demerit points
    • were convicted of driving more than 40km/h  over the speed limit while unlicensed
  • you  were convicted of operating a vehicle dangerously.

However, you may still be eligible to apply for a special  hardship order if you have received:

  • a  suspension for failing to appear in court to answer a drink or drug driving  charge
  • an  immediate licence suspension because of an alleged drink or drug driving  offence
  • a 24-hour  suspension because of a matter relating to drink or drug driving
  • a  suspension or cancellation set aside on review by the Department of Transport  and Main Roads
  • a  suspension or cancellation because of mental or physical incapacity
  • a  suspension imposed by the State Penalty Enforcement Registry
  • a  suspension or cancellation set aside on review by the Queensland Civil and  Administrative Tribunal.

Applying for a special hardship order

How to apply

To apply for a special hardship order:

  1. complete a special hardship order application,  available from a Magistrates Court or transport and motoring  customer service centre
  2. lodge the application and supporting evidence  (e.g. an affidavit from you, your employer or your doctor) and your ‘Notice of driver  licence suspension’ with the Magistrates Court in the district where you live after your suspension has started.
  3. once accepted and stamped by the court, give a  copy of the application and affidavit to the Department of Transport  and Main Roads at least 7 days before the court hearing date.

Your licence suspension will be lifted until the day before  the court hearing.

Note: You’ll need to pay a fee when lodging your application  with the Magistrates Court. Contact the court for fee information. There is no additional  fee for lodging the forms at a  transport and motoring customer service centre.

Contact  us if you have more queries about special hardship orders.

Important information

  • Always lodge your application and affidavit with  the Magistrates Court before providing a copy to the Department of Transport  and Main Roads.
  • Do not drive until after you have given a copy  of your application, stamped by the court, to the Department of Transport and  Main Roads. Only then will your suspension be lifted.
  • If you have your application but not your  affidavit, give the Department of Transport and Main Roads the court-stamped  copy of the application and provide the affidavit at least 7 days before the  court hearing date.

Completing an affidavit

An affidavit is a legal document used to provide facts about  a matter. For a special hardship order application, include information that  you will rely on for the application, such as:

  • the hours you need to drive for work purposes
  • why there is no other transport reasonably  available for you to get to or from work
  • the fact that you’re the only person available  to drive a family member with a medical condition or physical incapacity to  receive regular and necessary medical treatment.

Sign and witness the affidavit in the presence of a Justice  of the Peace or Commissioner of Declarations. Find  a JP or Cdec.

Get an affidavit form from Australia Post, a Magistrates  Court or your legal representative.

If the magistrate grants your application

  • If the magistrate grants your special hardship order application,  you’ll need to get a replacement licence by completing a Replacement  driver licence/driver licence receipt/licence label application (F3006) and  paying the fee. Your replacement licence will have an ‘X3’ condition code,  which means you may drive only while carrying, and in accordance with, a special hardship order.
  • The special  hardship order applies for the suspension period stated on your  suspension notice, from the date of the court order (Any part of your licence  suspension that you serve before the special  hardship order is granted will not reduce the special hardship order period.)
  • If you don’t comply with the restrictions of  your special hardship order,  the court may impose a fine of more than $2,300 and disqualify you from holding  or obtaining a driver licence for a set period.
  • Once the period ends, you can have your licence  reissued (at no charge) without the X3 condition.

If your circumstances change, you  may wish to vary the restrictions of your special hardship order. Complete a  ‘Variation of special hardship order or section 79E order’ (F4375) and lodge it  with the Magistrates Court.

If the magistrate refuses your application

If the magistrate refuses to grant a special hardship order,  your licence suspension is reapplied for the remaining period less any time  served before you lodged your application.

Withdrawing your application

To withdraw your special hardship order application, send a  letter to the Magistrates Court stating that you no longer wish to proceed with  the application.

The court will send confirmation and your suspension will start  again from the withdrawal date.

Note: Your licence suspension period doesn’t start again  until your application is accepted and dealt with by the magistrate.

Send a copy of your letter and court confirmation to us by  either: