What are “demerit points” NSW and how does it work? The demerit points system determines how many violations a licence holder has. It scores different driving offences and ensures that licence holders drive responsibly.
In New South Wales (NSW), if a person commits a traffic offence (such as speeding or running a red light), that person will receive demerit points. If the offender earns too many active demerit points, they can lose their driver licence.
This article discusses demerit points NSW.
A driver gets demerit points when he/she commits a traffic violation. All drivers start with zero points. Thus, if you do not break any traffic rules, you would continue to have zero demerit points.
Demerit points will be on your driving record, and they may come with fines too. If you reach your demerit point limit, you may face suspension of licence.
Australia recognises the e-demerit points system. Thus, even if you commit a traffic offence in NSW, the number of demerit points that the offence attracts in NSW may still be applicable to your licence.
Demerit Points NSW Limits and Consequences
The demerit limit or threshold is the number of demerit points a person can accumulate before the NSW Government suspends or refuses to renew your licence. If this happens, the offender will receive a Notice of Suspension or Refusal. The notice will include the date from which the suspension or refusal period begins.
How many demerit points limit is available for each type of licence? The demerit point limit depends on the type of licence you have:
- Unrestricted licence – 13 points
- Professional drivers – 14 points
- Provisional P2 licence – 7 points
- Provisional P1 licence – 4 points
- Learner licence – 4 points
- Unrestricted licence during a good behaviour period – 2 points.
You cannot drive if your licence is up for suspension. Driving with a suspended licence can lead to heavy penalties such as imprisonment. For provisional P2 license holders who receive a suspension or refusal notice, the holder must stay on their P2 licence for another 6 months.
If you have a provisional P2 licence and you receive a suspension or refusal notice, you must stay on your P2 licence for an extra 6 months.
An offender’s licence may be subject to refusal for renewable if:
- They exceeded the demerit point limit, or
- They committed a serious speeding offence.
The period a licence may be refused is the same as for a licence suspension. The offender will only receive a formal refusal notice when they attend a service centre and apply for a licence or try to renew the licence.
Repeatedly Exceeding the Demerit Points Limit
If you repeatedly exceed your demerit point limit, increased penalties will apply to you. If you exceed your demerit point limit twice within 5 years, you will not be able to drive again until you:
- Pass the Driver Knowledge Test
- Complete a driver education course such as the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, at your own cost. The program must be delivered by a Transport-approved provider.
How Do You Calculate Demerit Points?
One traffic offence does not equate to one single demerit point only. The points a licence holder receives would depend on the traffic law offence committed.
For instance, for speeding in NSW, it can result in 1 to 6 demerit points and a fine of $109 to $2,252. However, this will depend on how far over the speeding limit the driver went. It’s also important to consider other factors, such as whether the driver holds a full licence or if they are a P-Plater or whether or not they were in a school zone.
How Do Double Demerit Points Work?
Some driving offences attract twice the number of demerit points during holiday periods. These offences include:
- Speeding offences
- Seatbelt offences
- Motorcycle helmet offences
- Mobile phone offences
School Zones and Demerits
Some driving and parking offences can attract additional demerit points if you commit them in a school zone. School speed zones operate on all school days. Double demerits can also apply in school zones during holiday periods.
You can lose your licence if you commit an offence in an operating school zone during a holiday period. The demerit points earned can be doubled.
How Long Do Demerit Points Last?
The length of the suspension will depend on how many points the licence holder accumulated:
- 13-15 points – three-month suspension
- 16-19 points – four-month suspension
- More than 20 points – five-month disqualification
In addition, learner licence drivers will face a mandatory three-month suspension period.
Demerit penalty points stay active on the licence for a 3-year period, starting from the date of the offence. After 3 years, demerit points are not counted as active on the licence and will not accumulate with any newly earned demerit points.
However, all demerit points received stay on one’s driving record, even after the 3-year period. If the licence holder continues to commit traffic violations, old demerit points may be taken into consideration by a court when deciding the severity of the penalty.
The 40-month rule
Most offences and their demerit points are recorded within 4 months of the date of an offence. An offence and its demerit points may not be recorded within that period. Demerit points that are more than 40 months’ old (3 years and 4 months) are not counted for a suspension.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Advice Regarding Demerit Points NSW
One cannot simply appeal demerit points themselves. However, the licence holder can appeal regarding the alleged offence that led to the demerit points or suspension. They can enter a not-guilty plea. If found not guilty, the licence holder does not receive demerit points and will be able to keep the licence.
Traffic laws and penalties are complex and complicated; thus we highly advise you to seek legal advice. JB Solicitors has a team of lawyers who can help with your case. We also provide legal advice and can discuss possible defences with you. Our legal representation services are also available should the matter escalate to the Courts.
Do you have any more queries on demerit points NSW? Contact us today.