Authorisation To Drive While Suspended (section 79E) in Queensland (QLD)

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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 driver’s 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.

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 driver’s 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 Registry.

Who is Eligible to Apply for a S79E Order?

You are only eligible to apply for a s79E order if you held an open driver’s licence at the time you were immediately suspended and you are applying for the order in relation to the same type of licence. You are not eligible to apply for a s79E order if you held a provisional or a learner’s 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 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;
  • you were engaged in an activity directly connected with your means of earning a living;
  • 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);
  • 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 driver’s 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:

  1. You are a fit and proper person to be granted authorisation to drive despite your suspension,
  2. You do not pose a risk to the community, in particular a risk of committing drink driving offences, if given authorisation to drive,
  3. 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 driver’s 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.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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