Authorisation To Drive While Suspended
If you are charged with mid or high range drink driving (or some other driving offences, for example dangerous operation of a motor vehicle) your drivers licence will be immediately suspended and you will be unable to drive again until the charge is finalised in court. This can sometimes take months depending on the charge you are facing.
However, a court has the power to grant permission for you to drive during what would otherwise be your immediate suspension period, if you are eligible and you make a successful application for an order under section 79E of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.
This section of the website outlines the eligibility criteria for a ‘s79E order’ and the application process. The information provided here is of a general nature and you should obtain advice about your individual circumstances before proceeding with an application. Armstrong Legal’s traffic law team stands ready to advise you on your prospects and to assist you in making an application for a s79E order if you are eligible.
What is a S79e Order?
A s79E order is an order made by a Magistrates court which authorises a person to drive, under a Queensland drivers licence, after their licence has been immediately suspended because of a driving offence (most commonly mid or high range drink driving).
A s79E order cannot be made in relation to a licence suspension caused by an accumulation of demerit points or a failure to pay a debt owed to the State Penalties Enforcement Register.
Who is Eligible to Apply for a S79e Order?
You are only eligible to apply for a s79E order if you held an open drivers licence at the time you were immediately suspended and you are applying for the order in relation to the same type of licence.
Specifically, you are NOT eligible to apply for a s79E order if you held a provisional or a learners licence.
Who is Not Eligible to Apply for a S79e Order?
You are not eligible to apply for a s79E order if your licence has been suspended or cancelled (either by a court or because an accumulation of demerit points) within the past 5 years.
You are also not eligible to apply for a s79E order if any of the following circumstance apply to you:
- When your licence was suspended you were already facing a charge of drink driving (low, mid or high range) or failing to supply a sample of your breath;
- When your licence was suspended you were engaged in an activity directly connected with your means of earning a living;
- When your licence was suspended you were driving a motor vehicle that you were not authorised, under an open licence, to drive (for example if you were driving a truck while only holding a C Class open licence);
- When your licence was suspended you were driving a special class of motor vehicle like, for example, a Truck, Bus or B-Double.
What are the Consequences of a S79e Order?
Once a s79E order is made, you will be required to obtain a special licence, called a replacement licence, from the Department of Transport and Main Roads. This licence is the same as an open class drivers licence, but has a special condition printed on it noting that it is a licence issued because of a s79E order (called ‘a s79E condition’).
The making of a s79E order does not automatically authorise you to drive, you must obtain a replacement licence and have it in your possession before driving. You risk committing an offence if you do not obtain your replacement licence before driving, even if a s79E order has been made.
How do I Apply for a S79e Order?
An application for a s79E order must be made before a Magistrates Court, in writing, and in the correct form (which can be obtained from the Queensland Courts website). The application must be made within 21 days of your licence being suspended and must include affidavit material, as well as statutory declarations, which satisfy the court that:
- You are a fit and proper person to be granted authorisation to drive despite your suspension,
- You do not pose a risk to the community, in particular a risk of committing drink driving offences, if given authorisation to drive,
- Your inability to drive would cause severe hardship to you, or your family, either because it would deprive you of a means of earning a living or for some other reason.
If you need to hold a drivers licence for work purposes, it is important that you include an affidavit from your employer attesting to this fact. If you need a licence because of obligations as a driver for your children (for example if you are a single parent) it will be important that you swear an affidavit outlining your transport requirements and the reasons that no alternative arrangements can be made. Statutory declarations should be included (for example from school staff, or sports coaches) who support your assertion that no alternatives transport option exist.
Finally, a copy of your application must be served on the Commissioner of Police at least 4 days before you appear in court in relation to it.
An application for a s79E order is not a simple process, and success is not guaranteed, but Armstrong Legal stand ready to assist you to make an application if you are eligible and you wish to.
What Does it Mean to Have a Criminal Conviction Recorded?
The consequences of having a criminal conviction recorded can be very serious. For example, most employers will conduct a background check on potential employees as part of the standard recruitment process including a police check. A police check would reveal if you have a criminal conviction recorded against your name, and the charge for which it was recorded. This may impact the employer’s decision in whether or not to employ you.
In certain professions a criminal conviction may need to be reported to a regulatory body. For example, a member of the legal profession must report any criminal convictions to the relevant law society who will then make a determination as to whether that legal practitioner should be allowed to continue to practice law.
A criminal conviction may also inhibit future overseas travel. Most countries require visitors to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. As part of the visa process, the applicant will more than likely need to disclose any criminal convictions. Depending on the policy of the particular country for which the visa is being sought, the visa may or may not be granted based on your criminal record.
Do I Need a Lawyer Tto Represent Me on My High Range Drink Driving Charge?
It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. In making this decision, however, you should consider the impact of any form of sentencing on both your life, and the lives of the people close to you. High range drink driving is a serious criminal offence, and you will be sentenced accordingly. Further, it can be very daunting for a person with no prior contact with the criminal justice system to find themselves before a court for this sort of charge. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.
Call 1300 038 223 for more information.
If You are Caught Drink Driving in New South Wales – Guideline Judgement
If you have been charged with high range drink driving in New South Wales the matters which are most relevant for the court to consider when sentencing you are set out in a Guideline Judgment handed down by the Court of Criminal Appeal. If you have been charged in Queensland, this judgement will also assist you in understanding what aspects of your case are most relevant for a sentencing court in this state (as many of them are the same).
View the Guideline Judgment
WHERE TO NEXT?
In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.