If you have been charged with drink driving in the ACT you may be able to apply for a restricted licence. You will need to show the Courts the hardship not having a licence will cause you or the people who are dependent on you. There are however, strict requirements that must be met before an application for a restricted licence can be made, and they will only be granted in limited circumstances. You must be able to show the Court that exceptional circumstances exist that justifies the granting of a restricted licence and the hardship it will cause if refused.
Who can apply for a restricted licence?
To be eligible to apply for a restricted licence you must hold a current ACT licence, be a first time offender with a blood alcohol reading of less than 0.1% and not have had any previous driving convictions. You must also be able to prove to the Court that you, or a dependant family member, will suffer hardship if you cannot drive. The most common scenario is if you will lose your job because you don’t hold a current licence, or if you cannot get to work because public transport is not suitable. Other exceptional circumstances may include the need to take a family member to hospital appointments.
What is the process to apply for a restricted licence?
To apply for a restricted licence you must complete an application form and supporting affidavit and file it at the Magistrates Court registry. The supporting affidavit must contain information about your personal circumstances and provide evidence of the hardship losing your licence will cause. If you need your licence for work you must include information about your employer, the nature of your work, the days and times you work, why taxis and public transport is not an option, and how long it takes you to travel to and from work. You should also provide a letter from your employer confirming the information you have stated in your affidavit and whether not having a licence will result in termination of your employment. In some situations it may be that you need your licence for other reasons than employment, such as taking a family member to regular hospital appointments. If this is the case you will need to state the reasons for the hospital appointments, the effect on the person’s health if you cannot take them, and also provide a letter from the doctor outlining the treatment plan.
When can I make an application for a restricted licence?
The application can be made prior to your first court appearance or during your suspension if your circumstances change. The Magistrate tends to need at least 3 weeks to review the information so make sure you are prepared and submit your application as soon as possible. You will also need to give a copy of your application to the Road Transport Authority and the Australian Federal Police. There is also a requirement for you to complete an alcohol and drug awareness course before you can be issued with a restricted licence.
What is the alcohol and drug awareness course?
The alcohol and drug awareness course is designed at raising awareness about the effects of alcohol and drugs on driving and health. There are two types of courses available depending on your individual needs and the offence you have committed. The two types are: the standard course which is educational awareness; and the extended course which is a course that is therapeutic and educational. If you were convicted with a blood alcohol concentration below .08 and it is a first time offence you only need to complete the standard course. If your blood alcohol concentration was greater than .08 you will need to complete the extended course. The main provider of the course is the Road Ready Centre and further information on the course can be found on their website www.getroadready.com.au