Special hardship orders (SHOs) are a legal mechanism available to motorists in Queensland, Australia who have had their driver’s license suspended due to accumulation of demerit points or a high-speed driving offence. These orders allow individuals to continue driving for specific purposes, such as getting to work or attending medical appointments, despite their license suspension.

SHOs are typically granted in cases where the loss of a driver’s license would cause exceptional hardship to the individual or their family. This could include situations where the individual is the primary breadwinner for their household and needs to drive to work, or where they have medical conditions that require regular appointments or transportation.

To apply for an SHO, individuals must complete an application form and provide supporting documentation to prove their circumstances. This may include evidence of income, medical records, and other information that demonstrates the exceptional hardship that would be caused by the loss of their license.

The application is then reviewed by a magistrate, who has the discretion to grant or deny the SHO. If the SHO is granted, the individual will typically be given a restricted license that allows them to drive only for the purposes stated in the order. Certain conditions may be imposed on the order, such as only driving during specific hours, wearing a uniform during all times of travel and maintaining a logbook.

While SHOs can provide much-needed relief to individuals facing license suspension, they are not a guaranteed solution. It is important for individuals to carefully consider their options and seek legal advice before applying for an SHO. Additionally, they should be prepared to follow the conditions of the SHO closely to avoid any further penalties or consequences.
Certain eligibility criteria must be met before a person can be granted an SHO, including:

  • The applicant must be the holder of a valid Queensland drivers’ licence.
  • The applicant must not have been suspended or disqualified in the last five years.
  • The applicant must prove that they do not have any viable alternative means of transportation; and
  • The person must be a fit and proper person

Overall, SHOs can be a valuable tool for individuals facing license suspension. By allowing them to continue driving for specific purposes, SHOs can help alleviate the exceptional hardship that would otherwise be caused by the loss of a driver’s license.