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Special Hardship Orders (SHO)

For a better comprehension of how a Special Hardship Order (SHO) works, you should first understand the circumstance as to why an individual would need one. An SHO can only apply to someone who is prohibited by the Court to drive a vehicle. It is an Order of the Court that supersedes a driving suspension imposed by the Department of Transport, allowing the driver to continue operating his/her car or motorcycle under strict conditions. However, this consideration is not easy to procure and is only granted if you are deemed eligible by the Court.

Who Is Eligible?

The chances of successfully obtaining a Special Hardship Order depend on how you can convince the court of the prerequisites. Per the relevant legislation under Section 111 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Driver Licensing Regulation (2010), a Court may grant a Special Hardship Order only if the Court is satisfied:-

  • Firstly, that the applicant for the Order is a fit and proper person to continue to drive, having regard to the applicant’s traffic history and the safety of other road users and the public generally; and that a refusal to make the Order would:-
  • cause extreme hardship to the applicant or the applicant’s family by depriving the applicant of the means of earning a living;or
  • cause severe and unusual hardship to the applicant or the applicant’s family, other than by depriving the applicant of the means of earning a living; and
  • when the Order is made, the applicant holds an Open or Provisional Licence that would be valid but for the suspension, under a relevant provision, to which the order relates.

An example of ‘extreme hardship’ would be where, without a driver licence, a person would lose their job or business and as such, would be unable to pay for the living expenses of them and their family.

An example of ‘severe and unusual hardship’ would be where a licence is necessary to provide a sick family member with transportation to and from medical appointments.

In addition to the above eligibility requirements, an applicant must:-

  • Hold an open or Provisional Queensland Driver Licence and prove that their driver licence has not been suspended or disqualified in the past five years. Some exemptions apply, including (but not limited to) a SPER suspension.

You should check with a Traffic Lawyer to confirm if you are eligible.

Does a Special Hardship Order Allow You to Drive Normally?

Unfortunately, no. There is a huge difference when driving under a Court Order and without. That is because of the specific restrictions that come with the SHO. Here are some of the limitations you need to be aware of:

  • You cannot drive without carrying your SHO copy with you. Whenever and wherever you drive, you must always bring the copy with you to avoid any further penalties.
  • You can only operate a particular class of vehicle that is mandated by the court. This means you may use a different car but only if it is the same type. Using another, beyond the class granted to you is grounds for a SHO
  • There will be specified times and days where you can drive. The Court will set down these times according to your needs.
  • In some instances, you may be required to wear a work uniform with the company logo on it or keep a log book. Log books must be completed before each and every journey. We tell our clients always to include the time, date, origin, destination, the names of passengers (if permitted by the Order), and the purpose of the journey. About the origin and destination entries, we recommend you include the full street address, not just ‘office’ to ‘home’’ as this leaves no room for question.
  • You can only drive for reasons approved by the Court and nothing else. For example, if the Court only allowed you to use your vehicle for work and doctor visits then that will be the only time you can drive. However, you may ask the Court for changes (Variation of Special Hardship Order) if for instance, you change jobs, or there is an imperative need to do so – but it will take another Court process and require further waiting for approval.

Disregarding these restrictions will result in a fine of $2300 in Queensland. Additionally, you will lose the SHO privilege granted to you, and the Court will disqualify you for the remainder of your driver licence suspension, plus an additional three months. Therefore, it is crucial that you make no mistake in abiding by the limitations to avoid further penalties.

Where Do You Apply?

You can apply to the nearest Magistrates Court by submitting all the requirements if you are considered eligible. Take note that you will need to file your application with the Court and serve a copy on the Department of Transport within 21 days from the starting date of your driving suspension. Hollows Boonen Lawyers are experts on this matter and have represented hundreds of clients. We prepare all of your documents, including Affidavits and any other relevant paperwork for you and ensure they comply with legislation and we will act on your behalf at your Court appearance.

What Happens if the Court Disapproves Your Application?

If the Court does not consider your application, you will not be able to drive. If you continue to do so without a SHO, you will be charged with unlicensed driving that may result in a fine of up to $6000 and imprisonment of up to 18 months. Additionally, the Court will have no option but to disqualify you from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence for a period of 6 months. You will only have one opportunity at getting a Special Hardship Order, and the Court will no longer entertain any second application.

Immediate Reasons for SHO Disapproval

The only time that you will be denied a Court Order at no exception is if, within the last five years before your application:-

  • Your driver licence has been suspended or canceled – even if you have been granted a Special Hardship Order in the past, it will still be considered as a suspension. This excludes a SPER suspension.
  • You have too many demerit points, and the Court is not satisfied that you are a ‘fit and proper’ person per the legislation.
  • You have been convicted of speeding for more than 40km/h above the approved speed limit or due to dangerous driving.

Why Choose Hollows Boonen Lawyers?

Hollows Boonen Lawyers are experts in traffic and drink driving law and have been consistently assisting clients to obtain a Special Hardship Order for years successfully.

We know the importance of being able to drive to work and visit family. That is why we make sure you are provided with the best information, documentation, and expertise. We have the means to prepare and organise the required documents and Affidavit material and will make verbal submissions on your behalf to persuade the Court to grant you the Order. If you are desperately in need of a SHO, do not take the risk of processing this all by yourself. Remember, you have only one chance at this, and the moment you are refused, you will not be allowed to drive for the entire suspension. Not having a driver licence is devastating for a lot of families. Let us help you and take the stress and worry out of it. We offer fixed fees which are inclusive of both document preparation, and your Court appearance. Call us today to find out more.


Breach of Special Hardship Conditions and Order

It is extremely important that you comply with the conditions of your Special Hardship Order.

If a court convicts you for the offence of failing to comply with your special hardship order they may disqualify you from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver’s licence for the remainder of your suspension period plus as an additional three months.

We are on call 24 hours 7days.  If you need a Lawyer, call us any time on 1800 465 569 or 0411 881 030


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