If you lose your drivers licence as a consequence of a traffic offence, you have a right to apply for a special licence - an extraordinary driver’s licence (EDL) in certain circumstances.
This article is designed those considering applying for an EDL to understand the procedures involved in making such an application. However, it is always a good idea to seek legal advice because what will be required to satisfy a magistrate will be different in each individual case. Specifically, an applicant will need advice as to what evidence will be required to determine whether it is appropriate for an EDL application to be granted.
Circumstances in which an EDL application cannot be made
One cannot make an EDL application if the following circumstances exist.
- When you are serving a demerit point suspension
- When you are serving a period of fine suspension imposed by the Fines Enforcement Registry.
- When you are serving a period of disqualification because the police have issued you with a disqualification notice (e.g. when the police have issued such a notice immediately for certain drink driving offences).
- When you are disqualified from driving in another State.
EDL Application Procedure
You can only make an EDL application after a waiting period from the date of your disqualification. The length of the waiting period depends on the type of traffic conviction for which you received the disqualification, and prior traffic convictions you might have. You can contact the court registry for details of waiting periods or seek legal advice about it.
Most EDL applications are heard in the Magistrates Court. If the applicant is under 18 years old, he or she must lodge the application in the Children’s Court.
If the disqualification order was made in the District or Supreme Court, an EDL application must be lodged in those Courts, rather than the Magistrates Court.
Court hearing of an EDL application
A hearing date is set by the court for at least 14 days after lodging an EDL application.
You must attend Court on the hearing date fixed by the Court, and present information to the magistrate in support of your application. You have to convince the magistrate that you need an EDL. In considering your application, the Court must consider many things, including but not limited to the following:
- The safety of the public. In this regard your previous traffic offence history is important as well as in the circumstances of the current traffic offence.
- The particular circumstances of your case. These include the reason why you can’t do your job without a licence, evidence that you will lose your job if you don’t get an EDL, and/or that you require a licence for medical reasons.
- What you have done since the disqualification period commenced. This might include evidence about your alcohol drinking habits and whether, and how, they have changed since the offence.
- The degree of hardship that you or your family are suffering due to you having lost your licence.
Conditions can be attached to an EDL
Common conditions imposed by the Court include:
- The days and hours when you can drive;
- The purpose for which you can drive,
- The roads on which you can drive; and
- The class of vehicles you can drive.
If your application for an EDL is not granted, you have to wait a minimum of 6 months before you can make another application.
The guide above contains general information only, and we recommend contacting EMS Legal for clarification and specific advice. EMS can help you prepare your application and represent you at the court hearing.