What Is a Hardship Order and How Does it Work?


If you’ve ever had your driver’s license suspended you’ll know exactly what a massive impact it can have on your lifestyle and your livelihood.

Many people take the freedom of driving for granted, but the privilege of holding a driver’s license can quickly be taken away due to excessive speeding, loss of demerit points, or a drink driving charge. Many people don’t fully realise the impact and hardship a suspended license ruling can bring, and in some cases special consideration is sought to minimise the impact of a suspended license.

Many who live in certain areas or have specific commitments, will still depend on being able to drive. For these people, a hardship order may be granted, which is a legal compromise and legally allows driving under strict conditions.

Who qualifies for a special hardship order?

To qualify to be granted with a special hardship order there are strict criteria to meet. You may qualify if:

  • Your license was suspended due to a high-range speeding charge – i.e. speeding in excess of 40km/h over the legal limit.
  • You have lost more than 1 demerit point on your driving record during a good-behaviour driving period.
  • If the above two offences were combined (also known as a dual suspension)
  • If you require a drivers license to carry out your employment or to get to and from work or a place of study.
  • Other special reasons such as getting to medical treatment for you or your dependent children.

Who is not eligible to apply for a special hardship order?

In many jurisdictions, you may not be permitted to apply for a special hardship order if, in the last 5 years:

  • Your license has been previously cancelled or suspended.
  • You have been disqualified for holding or obtaining a license.
  • You received continued driving offenses such as accumulation of demerit points or speeding during the time where you were unlicensed.
  • There are prior driving convictions for dangerous use of a vehicle.

How do I apply?

To apply for an SHO, a number of relevant documentation and forms will need to be presented to the court. You will need to apply at the local magistrates court in the district where you license was suspended within 21 days after the suspension was received.

As part of each application, an affidavit is required. This affidavit details evidence that supports that you are a fit to drive, are a person of good character, as well as gives reasons how a suspension could cause suffering – i.e. financial loss due to not being able to work. The assistance of a legal service such as GC Traffic Lawyers can manage the process including lodging applications as well as constructing a case to the courts of why you should continue to be able to drive. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter how much you say you need your license, a special reason such as needing a license to keep your job or another compelling reason why you need to be able to drive must be given.

For more information about how to seek and apply for a special hardship order in your jurisdiction, seek specific legal advice.

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