Below is some important information for those considering applying for a special hardship order. You only get one shot at it so it is critical that the correct process is followed and the documents (application, affidavits and exhibits) submitted to the court and prosecutor detail all of the relevant information. There are also strict time limits that apply. If you are unsure, it is best to seek legal advice urgently.
What is a Special Hardship Order?
A special hardship order is an order made at court that allows you to drive for special reasons i.e. work, study or medical appointments even though your licence has been suspended.
Before applying for a special hardship order you must meet the strict eligibility criteria. If you do meet the criteria you must then satisfy the Magistrate at court that you are a fit and proper person to hold such a licence having regard to the safety of other road users and the general public.
To apply for a special hardship order you must file an application form at your local courthouse along with supporting documents known as affidavits and exhibits. You will then need to take a copy of the documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads. The courthouse will provide you with a date where your application will be heard by a Magistrate in court and the Magistrate will decide whether to approve the application or not. If your documents are not accurate or lack the relevant detail your application will fail and you will not be given another chance to apply.
You can read about special hardship orders in Part 14 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010, available from www.legislation.qld.gov.au
Am I eligible for a Special Hardship Order?
You may be eligible for a special hardship order if your licence is or about to be suspended because:
1. You have committed a high speed offence by driving more than 40km/hr over the speed limit; and/or
2. You were on a 12 month good driving behaviour period and accumulated more than one demerit point.
Please note the above are the only two situations that allow you to apply for a special hardship order.
To apply for a special hardship order you must also be able to tick all the boxes below:
- You held a current Queensland provisional or open driver licence immediately before the licence was suspended. If you held a overseas or interstate licence or did not hold a licence at all, you are not eligible to apply for a special hardship order.
- Your Queensland licence has not been suspended or cancelled, or you have not been disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland licence in the last five years.
- You have not had your authority to drive on Queensland roads under a non-Queensland driver licence suspended in the last five years.
- You have not been convicted in Queensland of dangerous driving in the last five years.
- You have not previously been granted a special hardship order in the last five years.
If you have ticked all the boxes above, you must also:
- apply to the magistrates court in the district or division in which you live within; you can apply on the day your licence is officially suspended, but not before that day
- bring your notice that you have received from the Department of Transport and Main Roads with you to present to the court staff
- show the court that you are a ‘fit and proper person’
- show the court that if you don’t get a special hardship order you or your family will suffer:
- extreme hardship because you won’t be able to work or
- severe and unusual hardship for another reason other than because you won’t be able to work.
How do I apply for a Special Hardship Order?
Prepare your application for a special hardship order. You will need to complete the following:
- A special hardship order application form
- Your affidavit – an affidavit is a document that you write (or we can write for you) that you are swearing is true, this will be used as evidence in court.
- Affidavit from your employer (doest not apply to those who are self-employed)
- Statutory declaration/s or other supporting documents to show why you need your licence
- Your traffic history
- Your criminal history
- File your documents at your local court
- Give a copy of your documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads
- Keep a copy of your documents for yourself to take to court
When you file your documents at court you are given a court date for your hearing. You are required to attend court on this date. This is the day your application for a special hardship order will be heard by a Magistrate. You will be required to talk to the Magistrate if the Magistrate has any further questions about your application.
There will be a prosecutor from the Department of Transport and Main Roads at court who may oppose your application. This means you will need to make verbal submissions to the Magistrate to satisfy the concerns raised by the prosecutor.
Do I need a lawyer?
If you are not familiar with the process, applying for a special hardship order can be challenging and extremely stressful. Too often we see people in court who have not completed the above documents properly and consequently their application for a special hardship order fails. For many people this means losing their job, not being able to pay their bills and risk losing their homes.
You only get once chance when you apply for a special hardship order, there are no second chances so it is imperative that you get it right. At Watling Roche Lawyers we have a lawyer who can write all of the documents for you and talk on your behalf in court. We have 100% success rate for these types of matters and know exactly what is required to get your application over the line. If in doubt, it is best to seek legal advice. Contact us now for a free consultation.