If you have been convicted of a drink driving offence, in most cases, you will also have been disqualified from driving for a period of time. In the ACT, each major traffic offence comes with an automatic disqualification period that is imposed upon conviction.
A court must impose a disqualification if it convicts you but you may be able to apply for a restricted licence.
Am I Eligible?
There are a number of requirements that must be fulfilled for you to be eligible for a restricted drivers licence.
- You must hold an ACT licence;
- You must not be currently disqualified in another state/territory;
- You must be a first time offender;
- Your blood alcohol reading must not be higher than 0.1 for a full licence holder or 0.05 for a provisional or probationary licence holder; and
- You must have completed a drug and alcohol awareness course.
What do I need to show?
Once your licence application is lodged, the matter is brought before a magistrate to determine the outcome. In doing so, the Magistrate has to be satisfied that in your particular situation there are exceptional circumstances that warrant the granting of a restricted licence.
When lodging an application for a restricted licence you must file an affidavit and any relevant documents in support of your application. The following are examples of documents and information that may be relevant to the magistrate in their consideration of your application:
- Your traffic record, including infringements from the ACT and other Australian states/territories;
- Any rehabilitation courses or action you have taken, for example, any drug and alcohol program or a traffic offender’s course;
- Any unreasonable inconvenience that you or others might suffer if you were not to have a licence, including the reasonableness of using public transport and/or taxi services;
- The nature, location and hours of your work;
- Any health issues that you or a person for whom you care suffer from that would be put at risk;
- The risk to others on the road if you were to have a licence, including how likely you would be to comply with conditions of a restricted licence.
Contravention of a condition
If you contravene a condition of your restricted licence, generally, the starting point for a magistrate at sentencing is to record a conviction and impose a fine. The maximum fine is 50 penalty units ($8000) and or six months imprisonment.
The court has the discretion to order that you retain your licence but the default position for the court is to cancel your licence if you are convicted or found guilty of contravening restricted licence conditions. This means that even if you have been found guilty but the court orders that no conviction is recorded under Section 17 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act, the court may still cancel your licence.
If your licence has been cancelled by the court under this section, you are prohibited from applying for or being issued another restricted licence for the whole of the period of time that the disqualification for your initial offence was for.
If you are concerned about your loss of licence, and are considering lodging an application for a restricted licence, it is important to get competent legal advice as soon as possible.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.