If you have made some mistakes on the road, and those mistakes have resulted in your being disqualified from driving for a period of time, you may be able to apply for a limited licence. A limited licence enables you to drive while your licence is suspended, but only for specific purposes.
Who May Need to Apply for a Limited Licence?
A limited licence will usually only be granted where it is imperative the person who has lost their licence can continue to drive. Most commonly, a limited licence is applied for when a person must be able to drive for the purposes of their employment. For example:
- Truck drivers;
- Construction workers who are required to transport equipment;
- Farm workers;
- Sales Reps; and
- Self-employed people.
A limited licence may also be granted for other reasons. For example, being able to drive dependent children.
It is important to remember that the application is for a limited licence. When you lose your licence, you are being penalised so the expectation is that by not having a licence you will run into some difficulties. The purpose of a limited licence is to overcome some of the hardship you will suffer without it (not all of the hardship). The primary purpose of a limited licence is so you can earn a living or tend to some close personal matters. Being able to drive to the gym, for example, would not fall into either category.
A formal application for a limited licence must be filed in the District Court. As part of the application, the applicant should swear a detailed affidavit which sets out why they are applying for a limited licence.
Scenario –Self-Employed Builder
The affidavit will need to include the applicant’s personal details and on what grounds they were disqualified from driving. It should set out what their job involves and provide a detailed explanation of what their average working day would look like. The affidavit should include the applicant’s days of work, hours of work and very specifically identify the area in which they need to be able to drive. It should also set out their weekly income and all of their outgoings as this helps to show the financial hardship they would suffer if they were unable to drive.
These are the basics that would need to be included in the affidavit. When we meet with a client to discuss their limited licence application, we delve into their personal circumstances so that we can understand the hardship they will suffer without a licence, and we include these matters in their affidavit.
In the scenario above, the builder was self-employed. If you are an employee, an affidavit which has been signed by your employer should also be filed.
It is important to note that there is a stand down period of 28 days for more serious offences, when you have been disqualified from driving for 6 months. This means that the court cannot hear your application until 28 days have passed since the date of your disqualification. If you have lost your licence for a period of 6 months or less i.e. for demerit points, the court can hear your application as soon as you are ready.
Once the application has been prepared, we send it to the police to check they do not oppose the application. This is to avoid the scenario of turning up to court, only for the application to be opposed.
Once the affidavits have been signed by you (and your employer, if required), they are filed in the District Court and a court date is set. You will need to appear in court. The judge will then hear your application and either grant the limited licence, or not.
It is a common misunderstanding that once the limited licence is granted by the court, you can drive. In fact, you will need to take the court order to a licencing agent (i.e. AA Centre) where you will need to fill out an application form for a limited licence. You cannot drive until the licencing agent has issued you with a limited licence. You will then be able to drive but only in accordance with the terms of the court order.
When you drive, you will need to carry with you your limited licence, a copy of the court order and a log book. You must complete the log book prior to the commencement of each journey and also once you have reached your destination. If you are pulled over, you must let the office know that you are a disqualified driver, driving on a limited licence and you must produce the limited licence, court order and log book.
Limited licence applications can be complex, and this is only a very basic outline of the process. If you have lost your licence, then contact us. We can let you know if you are able to apply, and we are experienced in preparing these applications.