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Restricted Licence in Queensland
A restricted licence in Queensland may be issued to holders of open, provisional or probationary driver’s licences who have been disqualified from driving as a result of certain traffic offences, to allow them to drive for work purposes so that they do not suffer financial hardship.
The rules and processes for obtaining a restricted licence in Queensland are found in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 and the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Driver Licensing) Regulation 2010.
What is a restricted licence in Queensland?
A restricted licence allows you to continue driving even though you have lost your licence, whether it has been suspended, or you have been disqualified from driving. It is, though, heavily restricted. You may be restricted in:
- the times of day you may drive
- the type of vehicle you may drive
- the reasons for which you may drive
- who you may carry as a passenger in the vehicle.
You may also be required to:
- complete a log book
- wear a work uniform whenever you drive.
What can I do on a restricted licence in Queensland?
For the period you are on a restricted licence in Queensland, you must not drive for any purpose other than in relation to ‘an activity directly connected with [your] means of earning a living’.
This means you cannot, for example, drive while running personal errands, for taking your children to and from school, for going to a doctor’s appointment, or when going out for lunch, even on a work day.
What offences apply?
You may apply for a restricted licence only if you have been disqualified from driving as a result of a conviction for certain offences. You must have pleaded guilty to the offence or your application will be rejected.
The relevant offences are found in sections 79 and 80(5A) of the Act. They include:
- driving (or riding), attempting to put in motion, or being in charge of a vehicle (or motorcycle) while:
⇒ under the influence of alcohol or another drug
⇒ you have a relevant drug in your blood or saliva
⇒ you are over the no alcohol limit if you hold a licence other than an open licence, or if you are an unlicensed or interlock driver
- riding, attempting to put in motion, or being in charge of a motorcycle while on a class RE licence, over the no alcohol limit, and:
⇒ you have not held your licence for at least 1 year in the previous 5 years or
⇒ the motorcycle is a class R motorcycle
- failing to provide a breath or saliva specimen to police.
You may be considered ‘under the influence’ if you have alcohol or another intoxicating drug in your system and you are affected by it. You will be presumed to be ‘under the influence’ in relation to alcohol if your BAC is 0.15 or greater.
Currently, ‘relevant drug’ means MDMA (ecstasy), cannabis (marijuana), and methylamphetamine (ICE). Note, though, that this list could expand at any time.
Eligibility for a restricted licence in Queensland
If you were driving on a learner’s permit at the time you committed the offence, you will not be eligible to apply for a restricted licence. For provisional and probationary drivers including young drivers, if you are charged with a drink driving offence, it is unlikely that you will be granted a restricted licence other than for low range offences.
The decision whether to grant a restricted licence is entirely up to the Judge or Magistrate. If your application is granted, the court may order that you are restricted in your driving for up to double the length of time for which you were originally disqualified from driving. Because restricted licences are issued only for short periods, depending on how long the court order is to last, you may need to have your licence updated from time to time.
Your application for a restricted licence will not be granted if, for example:
- in the 5 years prior to making the application, your provisional or open licence was suspended, or you were disqualified from driving (some exceptions apply)
- in the 5 years prior to making the application, you have been convicted of one of these same offences anywhere in Australia, or you have been convicted of the dangerous operation of a vehicle in Queensland
- you committed the offence while engaged in any activity directly related to your means of earning a living
- you committed the offence while you were driving a vehicle you had no authority to drive
- you were driving on a learner’s permit
- you committed the offence while you were on a restricted licence.
Restricted licences and P-platers
If you are granted a provisional (P1) restricted licence, use of a mobile phone in a vehicle is even more restricted than usual. On a P1 restricted licence, while the car is in motion or stationary but not parked, such as when you are stopped at traffic lights:
- you must not use a mobile phone
- your passengers must not use a mobile phone on loudspeaker.
The maximum penalty in both cases is $2356 or 20 penalty units.
If you are on a restricted P1 or P2 licence, you may also be prevented from:
- driving a high-powered vehicle
- driving between 11:00pm and 5:00am
- driving at night with more than one passenger under the age of 21 years unless they are an immediate family member.
What happens if I breach a restriction?
It is an offence to breach any of the restrictions set out in the order granting you the licence.
- your restricted licence will be automatically cancelled (if still valid at the time of conviction)
- you will not be allowed to have a licence for an additional 3 months, and
- you may be fined up to $2,356.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 2 February 2016. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at https://www.gotocourt.com.au/.