How to get your licence back

Drink drive image
Indefinite disqualification:

This page is to assist drink drivers who have been disqualified indefinitely under section 65 of the Land Transport Act 1998 (or section 30A of the Transport Act 1962).

Judges are required to disqualify the offender indefinitely…

  • if they incur three convictions for drink driving within five years; or,
  • if they have two convictions within five years and, for one of those convictions, the drink driver was more than twice the legal limit (over 1000 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath to be precise). 

How long is indefinite? 

Theoretically, an indefinite disqualification means the driver has been disqualified for the rest of their life. However, this is not how it works in practice.

After a minimum period of one year and one day, someone who has been disqualified indefinitely can apply to have their disqualification lifted. This involves an assessment with a certified alcohol and drug (AOD) counsellor. Depending on the outcome of that assessment, which also involves a blood test, the counsellor may or may not recommend to NZTA that your indefinite disqualification should be lifted.

Important distinction:

Some drivers are disqualified by the judge for exactly one year and one day. This is a fixed term disqualification (one year, one day) – after which you will have to resit your licence, but do not have to see an AOD assessor or have an assessment.  Being disqualified for one year and one day is not the same as an indefinite disqualification.

What you need to do

If you are disqualified indefinitely, there are five steps to regain your license.

Step One: AOD Assessment

i) You’ll have to have an AOD assessment.  This is an interview in which you will be asked questions about your drinking history and drug use.

ii) You will also need to provide the assessor with a copy of your criminal and traffic history – which you can get from the court, your probation officer or your lawyer. The assessor needs to know how many alcohol related convictions you have in order to conduct a risk assessment.

iii) You may also be asked to provide contact details of one or two people who know you well who can confirm that you have your drinking under control.

Step Two: See your GP for blood and urine tests.

i) The AOD assessor will give you a form to take to the GP. The GP will send you for a liver function test. The test measures the level of key enzymes in your bloodstream which are involved in the metabolization of alcohol – high levels of enzymes may indicate excessive alcohol consumption.

ii) You will also be required to provide a urine drug screen to ascertain if you have been taking illicit drugs or are on medication which may impair your ability to drive safely.

iii) The GP needs to send the results of these tests back to the AOD assessor.

Step Three: The Assessor sends a report to NZTA.

The assessor compiles the information in a report which is sent to the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) with a recommendation that you should (or should not) get your licence back. 

Step Four: NZTA sends you a letter

If the NZTA agrees that your disqualification should be lifted, they will send you a letter advising that your disqualification has been removed.

Step Five: Sit your licence

On receipt of this letter, you then have to resit your driver’s licence.

How long does it take?

With no complications: The interview with the assessor may take an hour. Getting the blood tests done and getting the results back to the assessor may take a couple of weeks. If there are no problems and the assessor recommends that your disqualification should be lifted, once the final report is sent to NZTA, they take about three weeks to make their decision. So at the quickest, the whole process takes six to eight weeks.

With complications: If the assessor finds that you don’t have your drinking under control, or that there are other complications (such as illicit drug use), then you may be required to attend a  programme for repeat drink drivers; or you may be required to attend ‘treatment’ in order to stop drinking. How long all that takes is up to you.


The NZTA will pay for you to be assessed – once only. If the NZTA turns you down for some reason (perhaps because you are still binge drinking), and does not lift your disqualification, you will need to have a second assessment at a later date. Give us a call to discuss your options if this applies to you.

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