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How to obtain a limited driver's licence

Introduction

Limited driver's licences are granted in certain cases of hardship to people who have been disqualified or suspended from driving. To obtain a limited licence you will need to apply to the District Court, and pay the necessary fee.

A person who is disqualified from driving can also in certain cases apply for the period of the disqualification to be reduced.

Who can apply for a limited licence?

You are entitled to apply for a limited licence if:

  • you are disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence by a court order, or
  • your licence has been suspended because you have accrued demerit points (see How to: The demerit points system for drivers)

Who cannot apply for a limited licence?

You cannot apply for a limited licence if:

  • you are disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence because of repeat offending involving alcohol or drugs
  • you are disqualified from driving in a transport service
  • you are disqualified because of being convicted for driving while disqualified or driving contrary to the conditions of a limited licence
  • you are disqualified because you committed one of a group of specified driving offences, and you did so within five years after committing another offence in that group (whether or not the two offences were of the same kind); the relevant offences are as follows:
    • reckless or dangerous driving; careless or inconsiderate driving causing injury or death; and failing to stop after an accident
    • driving offences relating to alcohol or drugs
    • applying for or obtaining a driver's licence while disqualified from doing so

How do I apply for a limited licence?

To apply for a limited licence you will need to apply in writing to the District Court, setting out the reasons why you need the licence and the vehicle that the licence would apply to.

You will also need to provide affidavits, both from you and from some other person in support of your application, explaining how not being granted the licence would cause you extreme hardship or cause some other person undue hardship.

On what grounds will the court grant a limited licence?

The court can make an order authorising a limited licence if it is satisfied that not granting it would cause you extreme hardship or cause another person undue hardship. The court must also be satisfied that granting the limited licence would not be contrary to public safety.

When it makes the order the court will specify:

  • the purpose for which the licence is issued
  • the particular vehicle or type of vehicle that you may drive
  • the days of the week and the times at which you may drive
  • any other matters necessary to limit the order to alleviating the hardship that you alleged and proved

The court can also include other restrictions in the order as it sees fit.

If the court makes the order a limited licence must be issued in accordance with the terms of the order.

When can I apply again if my application is denied?

If your application for a limited licence is denied you can apply again if you have some substantial new evidence in your favour. But if no substantial new evidence has arisen, you must wait three months before reapplying.

No limited licence for 28 days in certain cases

If your disqualification arose out of certain offences, the court cannot order a limited licence to be issued until 28 days after your conviction. The offences to which this applies are:

  • offences involving driving hours or logbooks
  • reckless or dangerous driving; careless or inconsiderate driving causing injury or death; and failing to stop after an accident
  • offences involving alcohol or drugs
  • applying for or obtaining a licence while disqualified
  • carrying insecure loads

Disqualification may be reduced in some cases

A person who is disqualified from driving can in certain cases apply for the period of the disqualification to be reduced.

To be able to apply they must:

  • still have more than a year of their disqualification left to serve, and
  • have not been convicted in the last six months of driving while disqualified or while their licence is suspended or revoked, or of driving in breach of a limited licence, and
  • have not been convicted in the last two years of
    • reckless or dangerous driving; or reckless or dangerous driving causing injury or death; or failing to stop after an accident where a person has been injured or killed; or
    • a boy-racing offence, whether or not someone was injured or killed; or
    • aggravated careless use of a vehicle causing injury or death; or
    • driving offences relating to alcohol or drugs, and
  • have not been convicted in the last two years or concurrently of manslaughter resulting from driving a motor vehicle

In deciding whether to reduce the disqualification, the Court will take into account

  • the applicant's character
  • their conduct since they've been disqualified (including whether they've attended an approved programme and, if they have, the programme provider's report on the applicant)
  • the nature of the offence for which they were disqualified, and
  • other relevant circumstances

The Court can reduce the disqualification, or grant the applicant a limited licence.

If the Court rejects the application, the person cannot apply again for another three months, unless there is relevant evidence that was not available when the last application was heard.

Cautionary notes
  • An application for a limited licence involves making a written application to the court together with supporting affidavits. The affidavits must set out the evidence supporting the application. You should consult a lawyer to assist in preparing these documents.
  • It will be necessary for you to appear in court in order to obtain the order. Once again, a lawyer can appear for you.


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