Special Hardship Order

What is a Special Hardship Order (SHO)?

A Special Hardship Order (SHO) is a court order that permits you to drive on your Queensland driver licence under certain restrictions. The following mentioned are some of the examples of restrictions:

  • You may only drive for a stated purpose
  • You may only drive certain class of vehicle
  • You may only drive for restricted days/hours
  • You have to carry a copy of SHO while driving

When can you apply for a SHO?

You may be eligible to apply for a SHO if your Queensland provisional or open driver licence has been suspended due to the following reasons:

  • Gained 2 or more demerit points while driving under a period of good driving behaviour
  • Committed a high speed driving offence of more than 40km/h over the speed limit

A learner licence holder is not eligible to apply for a SHO.

When you cannot apply for a SHO?

You are not eligible to apply for a SHO if, within 5 years before the suspension of you driver licence:

  • Your Queensland driver licence has been cancelled or suspended
  • You were disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence
  • Your authority to drive in Queensland on a non-Queensland drive licence was suspended
  • You incurred excessive demerit points
  • You were convicted of driving more than 40km/h over the speed limit while unlicensed
  • You have been disqualified from obtaining a Queensland driver licence
  • You were convicted of dangerous driving

However, there are some exceptions. You may still be eligible to apply for a SHO if you have received:

  • A suspension due to your absence in a Court appearance for a drink or drug driving charge
  • An immediate driver licence suspension due to drink driving or drug offence
  • A 24-hour suspension due to drink driving or drug driving
  • A suspension or cancellation due to mental or physical capacity
  • A suspension by the State Penalty Enforcement Registry
  • A suspension or cancellation set aside on review by the Transport and Main Roads Department or QCAT

How to apply for a SHO?

If you would like to apply for a SHO, you should:

  • Complete a special hardship order application form, either from a Magistrates Court or transport and motoring customer service centre
  • After your suspension commenced, lodge the application with the Magistrate Court in the district you live and provide supporting evidence, including:
    • An affidavit from you
    • An affidavit from your doctor or your employer
    • Notice of driver licence suspension
  • Once the documents have been accepted and stamped by the Court, serve a copy of the documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads at least 7 days prior to your hearing date.

Your licence suspension will be lifted until the day before the court hearing.

When would you be granted a SHO?

Once the Magistrate finds that you have satisfied the following criteria, you may be granted a SHO:

  • You are a fit and proper person
  • Refusal to grant a SHO would cause:
    • Extreme hardship to you or your family by depriving you of your means of earning a living
    • Severe and unusual hardship to you or your family, other than depriving you of your means of earning a living
  • You do hold a valid provisional or open licence but for the suspension

What happens if the Court grants my SHO application?

You may return to the Department of Transport and Main Roads to get a replacement licence.

You are required to complete a Replacement Driver Licence/Driver Licence Receipt/Licence Label Application (form F3006) and pay the fee.

You will hold a replacement license with an ‘X3 ‘condition code. In other words, you are required to carry it along with you whenever you drive according to the SHO.

What happens if the court refuses to grant my SHO application?

Unfortunately, your driver licence suspension period will be reapplied for the remaining period. However, the time before the SHO application will be deducted.

How long will my SHO apply for?

The SHO will apply for the licence suspension period and it will begin from the court order date.

Can I apply to have my SHO driving restrictions varied?

Short answer is yes. You may apply to vary the restrictions stated on your SHO. However, this is subject to changes of circumstances. You are required to complete a Variation of Special Hardship Order or Section 79E Order (form F4375).

What happens if I breached the restrictions of my SHO?

If you breached the restrictions of your SHO, you may be penalized to pay a fine of more than $2300. In addition, you may be disqualified from holding a driver licence:

  • If your SHO is still valid – the balance period plus an additional 3 months
  • If your SHO is no longer valid – you will be disqualified for 3 months from the conviction date

What happens when the period of my SHO ends?

You should return to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, requesting your license to be reissued at no charge. Since then, you are no longer restricted to the ‘X3’ condition code.

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