Extraordinary Driver’s Licence: Getting Back Behind the Wheel

They say you don’t realise what you have got until it’s gone.

For most people, driving is a large and integral part of their life. It is easy to take for granted having a driver’s licence.

However, losing your driver’s licence can be a frustrating, expensive, and even debilitating experience. The restrictive regime of catching public transport or becoming completely reliant on friends and family, can be a real burden. Gone are the days of driving to work, driving to the grocery store, catching up with friends, school drop-offs, and going for road trips down south on the weekend.

An Extraordinary Drivers Licence or EDL is a special licence issued by the Department of Transport, which is ordered by the Court. The licence allows you to drive in certain specified circumstances, even though you have been disqualified from driving. Whilst the licence won’t allow you to go for leisurely weekend drives or a trip to the cinema to meet with friends, it could save you from losing your job, assist you with getting the kids to/from school or allow you to help a sick family member obtain urgent medical assistance.

The process for applying for an EDL is not an easy as some may think. The first step is to determine whether you are even eligible to obtain an EDL.

There are certain types of licence disqualifications and situations which make you ineligible to obtain an EDL. They include:

  • if you have been disqualified from driving because of excessive demerit points;
  • if you are subject to a police issued disqualification notice;
  • if you have outstanding fines or infringements issued by the Fines Enforcement Registry; or
  • if you have already made an application for an EDL and been refused by the Court within 6 months.

EDL Applications can only be made after the relevant waiting period has elapsed. Depending on the type of disqualification you are subject to, your prior Criminal and Traffic Record and the type of offence that induced the disqualification, there are certain required waiting periods that need to be served before the application can be lodged. Chelmsford Legal can assist you in obtaining and assessing your Criminal and Traffic Record, along with reviewing the relevant legislation, to determine the waiting period that applies to you.

Once we have determined your eligibility, and the applicable waiting period has elapsed, the relevant court documents, a supporting affidavit and the filing fee will need to be lodged with the Court. Once your application has been lodged and accepted by the Court, a hearing date will be set, which will be at least 14 business days from the day the application is lodged.

An EDL hearing is not dissimilar to a criminal trial. You are required to attend the hearing to present your case and give evidence to the Court, and you will be cross-examined by either a Department of Transport Officer or Police Officer.

At the hearing, you will need to provide the Court with sufficient documentation and evidence to argue your case to the Magistrate so they can decide whether or not to grant you an EDL. Some of the factors the Magistrate will take into account when deciding whether or not to grant you an EDL, include:

  • your previous traffic record;
  • the circumstances and nature of the offence that led to the disqualification;
  • your conduct since the disqualification;
  • your financial and medical circumstances;
  • the safety of the public;
  • the written character references that you will have provided the Court; and
  • the degree of hardship to you or your family if you do not obtain an EDL.

If driving is an integral part of your position of employment, your employer may need to attend the hearing and give evidence on your employment situation and the reasons why you need a driver’s licence to perform the duties in your role. If you are self-employed, you will need to provide evidence to the court to show that without a driver’s licence, there will be an undue financial burden on you, because you cannot undertake the work required for your principal means of obtaining an income.

If the Magistrate makes the decision to grant you an EDL, he/she can impose certain conditions on the licence which he/she thinks are appropriate. Some of the more common conditions include:

  • the vehicle or class of vehicle that you can drive;
  • the locality and roads on which you can drive;
  • the days and hours within which you can drive; and
  • the purpose for which you can drive.

The EDL hearing can be a daunting, stressful and intimidating experience, especially if you are not familiar with Court process or have never been subject to cross-examination by an Officer. Seeking legal advice is imperative to increase your prospects of success in not only obtaining the EDL, but also arguing the conditions attached to the EDL in a way that will be more advantageous to your lifestyle.

Our team of experienced lawyers at Chelmsford Legal have sound knowledge of the relevant legislation, and extensive experience in putting forward persuasive and cogent cases for successful EDL applications. Call us now so we can help guide you through the process and help you achieve the best possible outcome.