Driving tests

What is a limited licence and how do I get one?

A limited licence, sometimes called a ‘work licence’ gives you the right to drive under certain conditions, even if you have been suspended or disqualified from driving. You will have to present your case to a judge and convince them that you or someone else (e.g. your employer, your spouse, your child, etc) will suffer significant and unreasonable hardship if you cannot drive.

If successful, the judge may give you permission to drive between certain locations or at certain times.

Can you apply for a limited licence?

You can apply if your licence has been suspended because you’ve accumulated too many demerit points, or if you’re disqualified by a judge from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence.

You cannot apply for a limited licence if:

  • you have been disqualified because you drove while disqualified or breached the terms of a limited licence
  • you have been disqualified from driving a transport service vehicle such as a bus, unless you are applying to drive a private passenger vehicle
  • you have been disqualified due to repeat drink/drug driving
  • you use an alcohol interlock
  • you a subject to a driver licence stop order for unpaid fines
  • you have committed two offences in separate incidents that are serious offences such as drink/drug driving, being over alcohol limits, reckless or dangerous driving, careless or inconsiderate driving causing injury or death, failing to stop after an accident, or applying for/holding a driver’s licence while disqualified.

What can you do to make your case to the judge?

Completing some kind of training course can help. Three options are Fleet Driver Skills, Speed Awareness Training and (in the case of logbook and worktime offences), Logbook training.

You must prove that there will be extreme hardship to you or undue hardship to another person. Extreme hardship could include things like losing your job or not being able to continue your business. Undue hardship could include things like your obligations to drive a disabled partner to medical appointments. It’s not enough for it to just be inconvenient, otherwise there would be no point in the punishment.

The judge must be satisfied that if you are granted a licence that you won’t be a risk to public safety.

In some cases, you may need to wait until 28 days after the disqualification was ordered. Offences that trigger this include logbook and worktime breaches; reckless or dangerous driving; careless or inconsiderate driving causing injury or death; failing to stop after an accident; drink/drug driving offences; carrying an insecure load.

When you apply for a limited licence, you have to apply in writing to the District Court. The application should establish why you need a limited licence, which vehicle you want to drive, when and where you want to drive, and include a draft court order with the necessary information entered.

You should provide a sworn statement (affidavit), and you may need affidavits from other relevant people who may be impacted if you don’t get a limited licence, for example your boss or a family member. They may need to come to court to answer questions.

If the judge turns down your application, you can reapply after three months unless new evidence becomes available.

If you get a limited licence and then commit another offence, the limited licence will be revoked and the original disqualification will apply. This may run concurrently (i.e. at the same time), or be added onto the end of the original disqualification.

Can you get help when applying?

There are many legal firms that will help you, you can see free community legal help from the Citizens Advice Bureau or you can do it yourself. There’s more information here on what you need to apply to with NZTA.

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Darren has written over 3000 articles about driving and vehicles, plus almost 500 vehicle reviews and numerous driving courses.

Posted in Advice
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