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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 within 21 days of your suspension
  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: