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The holiday period can be a hazard with attending parties where alcohol is served. It’s no secret that losing your driver’s licence can create hardship in your work, personal and family life. In some circumstances, a restricted driver licence might go some way to easing this hardship. Not everyone will qualify for a restricted licence, however. There are strict rules about who can apply, and what information needs to be provided before one is granted.

Who can apply?

Generally, a person who is disqualified or is facing disqualification of their Tasmanian driver licence is eligible to apply for a restricted drivers licence, however, certain groups of drivers are barred from applying for a restricted licence full stop. They include:

  • Novice drivers who have lost their Licence twice within six months.
  • A person charged with drink or drug driving during a period of disqualification for drink or drug driving.
  • A person who is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater.
  • A person found guilty of driving “under the influence” (This is a different, more serious offence than the more common “exceed .05”).
  • A person found guilty of failing or refusing to comply with an order to complete a breath analysis.
  • A learner Licence or provisional Licence holder convicted of a drink-driving offence.

If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible for a restricted licence, click here to talk to a lawyer.

What do you need to prove?

The test for getting a restricted licence is “Severe and unusual hardship”. This means that suffering from hardship alone will not be enough to justify a Licence, unless that hardship is “severe and unusual”. Whether your circumstances meet this test will depend on particular facts, but circumstances where a restricted Licence might be granted include:

  • If you are employed as a driver and your employment will be terminated if you are unable to drive.
  • If you work remotely and have no way of accessing your workplace or workplaces, other than driving.
  • If you are a carer of a person with an illness or disability, and that person has no way of accessing care if you are unable to drive them.

Circumstances where you might not qualify for a restricted Licence include:

  • Where you normally drive to get to work, but public transport is available.
  • Where friends, family or work colleagues may be able to provide you with alternative transport.
  • Where being unable to drive might cause you inconvenience.

How do you apply for a restricted Licence?

If you are facing a disqualification by a Magistrate, you can notify the Magistrate of your intention to seek a restricted licence when you attend court. The case will then likely be set down for a hearing at a later date.

Applications for a restricted Licence need to be in writing, using the correct form (which is available online) and must be lodged at with the Tasmanian Magistrates Court. A copy also needs to be provided to Service Tasmania and Tasmania Police. The application needs to be received at least seven days before a hearing date.

If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer can draft the application for you. For more information, click here to talk to one of our lawyers.

What information is required?

Some information is always required, including:

  • An explanation of why you need a restricted licence.
  • A description of the hardship you will face if you are not able to drive (i.e. losing your job, being unable to attend medical appointments).
  • Details of what public transport is available to you and the reasons why it might not be suitable.
  • A National Police Check which details your driving history.
  • Information about what vehicles you want to be able to drive, when and where.

Depending on the basis of your application, other information that may be required includes:

  • If your application is about your need to drive for work, a letter from your employer explaining why you need to drive in the course of your duties.
  • If your application is being made following a drink driving offence, a letter from a medical practitioner to confirm that you are not alcohol dependent.
  • If your application is on the basis of a medical condition, detailed information about your medical condition.
  • Information about your financial circumstances.

What are the consequences of receiving a restricted licence?

As the name suggests, a restricted licence often comes with some severe restrictions. It is very rare for a Magistrate to grant an application which will allow a person to drive anywhere at any time. Often you will only be permitted to drive at certain times, along certain specified routes or for specific purposes.

A Magistrate can also extend your period of disqualification as part of your restriction, meaning that while you can keep driving, you are under restrictions for a longer period.

Do I need representation?

You are not required to have representation in a restricted licence hearing. However, if you want to give yourself the best chance possible, legal representation can be extremely helpful.

If you want more information about representation, click here to contact a lawyer about assistance with an application.

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