If you or someone you know (‘asking for a friend’ perhaps?) are in the unfortunate position of needing to make an application for an extraordinary licence in WA then here’s what you need to know in a nutshell.
If you’ve been disqualified from driving by a Court (as opposed to say, a demerit point disqualification) then after you’ve served any waiting period (the Court will normally tell you if you have to serve a waiting period but it’s easy enough to check – the maximum wait is 4 months and it will depend on the offence which led to the disqualification) you can apply to that same Court for an extraordinary licence to allow you to drive for a specific purpose. Those specific purposes are:
(a) obtaining medical treatment for an illness, disease or disability suffered by you or a family member (think a family member who is a member of your household and not Uncle Billy in Mandurah); or
(b) to avoid a scenario which would place an undue financial burden on you or your family by depriving you of your principal means of obtaining income (in other words the State government doesn’t want you to drive but it also doesn’t want you on welfare); or
(c) to avoid a scenario where you or a member of your family (there’s Uncle Billy again) are unable to get to and from work (which is similar to (b) above).
If you’re filing your application in the Magistrates Court (which most people are) then you’ll need to file a specific application form, which you can pick-up from your local Courthouse (hopefully you’re not on a first name basis), or download off the Magistrates Court website. You’ll also need to pay the application fee of $255.00, or $76.50 if you’re on a concession. Once you’ve filed your application with the Court and paid your money a hearing date will then be allocated. Be aware that if you’re in a circuit Court (ie Manjimup, Busselton, Collie) then there are only limited hearing dates available so consider this in advance and if you’re unsure what the wait time might be then give the Courthouse a call and ask – you can tell them you’re asking for a friend!
The application form sets out the basic items that your application needs to cover (such as the days, times and locations that you need to be able to drive on and to) but it is also handy to know a few of the things that Magistrates tend to be interested in, as well as some of the more recent developments which may apply to your specific situation. For example if you were disqualified for drink driving then there are rules around being made subject to an ‘interlock condition’ which may mean that any grant of an extraordinary licence might be subject to you having an alcohol interlock device fitted into your vehicle – think of it as a permanent reminder of your offending which you have to blow into with a zero alcohol reading before the vehicle will then start (not recommended for people with an alcohol dependency).
With regards to the things that a Magistrate tends to be interested in, here’s a tip – they’re conveniently set-out in s30 Road Traffic (Authorisation to Drive) Act 2008 and include:
(a) the safety of the public generally;
(b) the character of the applicant;
(c) the circumstances of the case;
(d) the nature of the offence or offences giving rise to the disqualification; and
(e) the conduct of the applicant subsequent to the disqualification.
In general terms, if you have a poor driving record and are a bit of scumbag then you should be realistic and know that the odds are going to be against you. If your record is not too bad and a couple of people will go on the record saying that they’d trust you with their children’s lives, then your prospects are likely to be somewhat better.
So if you’ve got this far you’ve probably worked out that it’s worth putting your best foot forward in your application. This means that you should have your references and any medical information etc that you need to support your application ready to go before your big day in Court. Did we mention that if you get knocked back first-time round that you then have to wait a further six months to apply again? Ouch.
Finally, if your application is successful then you’ll need to make sure that you adhere to any conditions that the Court imposes on your extraordinary licence. If you breach a condition the Police will generally not hesitate to charge you for it and you may find the car you’re driving also gets impounded. Then, when you appear in Court to answer the breach charge you can expect to have your extraordinary licence cancelled, receive a fine of up to $1,200 and to almost certainly be given a verbal by the presiding Magistrate – and possibly deservedly so.