The issuing of a work licence is a provision under Queensland legislation (Section 87 Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995), which allows a person convicted of drink driving (or driving with drugs present in their system) to drive only for work purposes during their period of licence disqualification.

No matter what anyone might tell you, the process is not straightforward. Take a quick glance at Section 87, and you will see why.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not viewed as a trivial offence by the courts. The procedure is not even close to simply filling out some forms and expecting your application to be granted. At the hearing, you will probably be reminded by the Magistrate that holding a driver’s licence is a privilege and not a right, and that unless that privilege is respected you can expect that you will not be holding a driver’s licence in the future.

The Magistrate is not there to help you (nor hinder you) but rather to see if you can help yourself and explain your situation in detail. The Magistrate can then properly assess your eligibility to be issued a work licence, and a decision can be made in terms of the law to grant that work licence or not.

Word of Warning –> There is STRICT ELIGIBILITY criteria for work licence applications and there are written documents you will need file in court and serve on the prosecutions office: application, affidavit/s and exhibits as explained below.


All the following must apply:

  • At the time of applying for a work licence, you hold a current Queensland provisional or open driver licence;
  • At the time of the offence, you held a current Queensland provisional or open driver licence;
  • You were not driving in the course of your employment at the time of the offence;
  • You have not, in the last five years, been convicted anywhere of a drunk driving offence or similar offence, or failed to provide a specimen of breath or blood;
  • You have not, in the last five years, been disqualified from holding a licence, had your licence disqualified, suspended, or cancelled in Queensland (This does not include disqualification for mental or physical handicap, or suspension for non-payment of fines and penalties, or offences later set aside on appeal.);
  • You have not been convicted of dangerous driving in Queensland in the last five years;
  • Your blood alcohol concentration level was below 0.15% (or your blood/saliva was found to contain a relevant drug); and
  • You were not driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol concentration to be zero at the time of the offence.

You must prove:

  • A fit and proper person to hold a restricted licence having regard to the safety of road users and the public generally; and
  • A refusal to make the order would cause you extreme financial hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

Exclusions to holding a Work Licence?

You cannot apply for a work licence if at the time of the offence:

  • You were driving a motor vehicle that you were not authorised to drive under an open or provisional licence;
  • You were under 25, on a provisional licence or learners permit, and your blood alcohol concentration level exceeded 0% or you had illegal drugs in your system;
  • You are unemployed;
  • Being without a licence will cause you inconvenience only;
  • You were under the influence of drugs (note the difference between being ‘under the influence’ vs being found with a relevant drug present in your blood or saliva);
  • Your blood alcohol level exceeded 0% while driving, attempting to put in motion, or in charge of any of the following: a motor truck; a motor omnibus; an articulated motor vehicle; a B-double; a road train; an operational tow truck; a taxi or limousine; a vehicle used while giving driver training (as a qualified driver trainer); a vehicle carrying a placard load of dangerous goods; or a pilot vehicle escorting an excess dimensional vehicle.


As a rule, Magistrates may impose certain restrictions which include:

  • The times when you may drive;
  • The purposes for which you may drive;
  • The class of vehicle you may drive;
  • The carrying of passengers in the vehicle;
  • The use of a logbook.

The restrictions are designed to reflect the fact that you will be using your licence for work and not for other purposes. Offending against the restrictions may lead to loss of the work licence.

Disqualification Period

As a rule of thumb, Magistrates tend to double the period of disqualification if a work licence is granted as compared with the disqualification period had a work licence not been granted. There may also be an increase in the total amount of fines.


At the first court date you will need to advise the Magistrate and prosecutor that you wish to apply for a work licence. Your matter will be adjourned to a later date to allow you time to prepare your application, affidavit/s and exhibits, file and serve them on the prosecutions office and finally when the next court date arrives, have your application heard.

At the hearing of your application, the Magistrate will decide whether or not to grant you a work licence. This will be based on whether you have followed the correct procedure and covered everything in your written material. You will need to provide a very detailed affidavit covering the reasons as to why you consider yourself to be eligible for a work licence. There is a lot to cover so be careful as it is easy to miss a critical piece of information which will prevent you from obtaining a work licence.

If you are employed, you will also need an affidavit from your employer indicating the need for your licence to remain in employment. This affidavit must be worded very carefully or again your application for a work licence will fail.

Your affidavits have to prove to the Magistrate that you are:

  1. A fit and proper person to hold a restricted licence having regard to the safety of road users and the public generally; and
  2. A refusal to make the order would cause you extreme financial hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

Be prepared to face questions from the Magistrate, everything you say or do not say is vital for your chances of being granted a work licence..

You get just one opportunity to get your work licence application right. There is no right of appeal against the Magistrate’s decision. This is why a well prepared case is absolutely essential!

Expect to feel uncomfortable during this procedure. It’s not for the faint hearted.

Contact Watling Roche Lawyers Today!

If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important that you contact Watling Roche Lawyers today. We can discuss your rights and help provide you with the best possible outcome. Call (07) 3188 1767 or 0402 843 177 today for your free consultation.