Special Hardship Order Applications

Australia is considerate when it comes to its traffic and driving laws that it gives its citizens alternatives if they ever have their driver’s licence suspended. One of these alternatives is the Special Hardship Order (SHO), which allows Aussies with suspended licences to drive under special conditions and needs, subject to a court’s approval.

Australia has a good public transportation system. However, most people who work full-time prefer to drive to work than risk being late everyday, which will surely put their career in limbo.

It is important to note, though, that SHO applications are available only in the state of Queensland.

Special Hardship Order Application

Applying for a SHO is pretty uniform once you are well aware of the steps to take, the documents to fill-out and submit, and the people you need to get in touch with.
There are four steps to complete when applying for a SHO:

1st Step: Prepare the SHO application form and the other documents

You can acquire a SHO application form or Form F4401 from the Magistrates Court in your area or from any Department of Transport and Main Roads Customer Service Centres. The application needs to be submitted to the Magistrates Court District where you reside, and it must be done so within 21 days after your licence was suspended. It must also be submitted with the following documents:

  • Affidavit
  • Affidavit by/from your employer (This does not apply to self-employed individuals who need their driving privileges for business or self-employment)
  • Statutory declaration or other essential documents for people applying for a SHO for their education, health, and other special reasons
  • Traffic violations history
  • Criminal history (if you have any)

The last two documents are vital because the court does not approve all SHO application orders, especially if the applicant has a bad record with violating traffic laws.

2nd Step: Filling the application with the necessary documents

Failure to submit at least one of the documents listed above may result in the court rejecting your application until you are able to provide all the necessary documents. An employer’s affidavit is common since most SHO applications are for work purposes. Three copies of each document must be prepared — one for the Department of Transport and Main Roads, another for the court, and the third one serves as a spare copy. Keep in mind that the documents must be filed within 21 days after your driver’s licence was suspended.

Submitting this application requires a Magistrates Court fee. It is best to contact the court where you will submit the SHO application and ask about the lodging fee. After the court stamps your application, you might have to wait at least seven days for the court hearing date.

3rd Step: Submit the SHO application form (form F4401) and other documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads

Submission to the TMR must be accomplished at least seven days before the hearing. The department urges applicants to submit the application themselves rather than sending a representative. This way, people can polish out the other essential information they must be aware of before the hearing commences.

One information of particular importance is whether an applicant’s employer, executive, or boss needs to attend the hearing. Not all applications require this, but there are instances when this is needed. The TMR prosecutor may need to ask your employer a question and without one, the court may adjourn the hearing to a further date. In this case, write a letter to the TMR prosecutor, asking if your employer needs to be in the court room for the hearing.

After submitting all the documents to the TMR, your licence suspension will be lifted temporarily until the day before your hearing. This means that you will be able to utilise your driver’s licence after your violation until a SHO has been issued.

4th Step: Attend the court hearing for your SHO

This one is the easiest but also the most important step. Make sure to arrive in court at least one hour before your hearing. Proceed to the counter, and ask for the assigned court room for your hearing. Upon entering the room, make sure you are listed in the scheduled hearing for the day. Also, make sure to observe decorum as you wait for your turn in the court room.
When your SHO application is approved, it will be effective until the day your licence is suspended.

Special conditions under SHO

A SHO does not come with the same driving privileges that a normal driver’s licence does. More specifically, a SHO sets the terms for:

  • the purpose for which you may continue driving
  • the class of vehicle you are allowed to drive
  • the days and times you are allowed to drive
  • that you can drive only when you have an approved copy of your SHO

Matters that make an individual ineligible for a SHO

Not all Queensland residents are able to apply for a SHO if their licence has been suspended within the last five years for the following reasons:

  • Conviction of operating a vehicle dangerously
  • Accumulation of excessive demerit points
  • Conviction of driving over the speed limit of 40 km/hr at a time when you did not have a licence
  • Licence suspension
  • Disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence

Applying for a special hardship order is not an easy process. Many applicants are rejected simply because they fail to submit all the necessary documents or are not able to monitor the timeline of their application.

The availability of the Special Hardship Order is truly a great thing, especially for employees who need driving privileges for their jobs. In addition, the SHO helps minimise traffic and the number of road accidents, as the applicants become more aware and careful of the rules whilst driving.

Do you need assistance with your Special Hardship Order?

It will surely be a hassle for you if you can’t fully navigate the application process, given your tight schedule. As such, it is best for you to become familiar with the entire SHO application process.

In addition, it is advisable for you to seek legal help, so they can help you complete your SHO application.

If you got your licence suspended and are in dire need of a Special Hardship Order, contact our team today to discuss your options.