The New South Wales driver's demerit point system is commonly misunderstood by licence holders.
A common misunderstanding is that drivers start with a set number of demerit points and if an offence is committed demerit points are deducted. Drivers are actually issued a licence without any demerit points and if a demerit point offence is committed the points are added to the licence.
The number of demerit points allowed before a licence is suspended depends on the licence type. The number of demerit points allowed for the different types of licence is as follows:
- Learner licence: 4 points
- Provisional P1 licence: 4 points
- Provisional P2 licence: 7 points
- Unrestricted licence: 13 points
- Professional driver's licence: 14 points
- Unrestricted licence with a good behaviour period: 2 points
When demerit points are accrued, they stay on the driver's licence for a three year period starting from the date the offence is established. After threes years the demerit points are erased from the licence however if more than the allowed points are accrued the licence holder is issued a suspension notice.
The length of suspension depends on the number of demerit points the driver accrues in the three year period. The different suspension periods are as follows:
- 13 to 15 points – 3 months suspension
- 16 to 19 points – 4 months suspension
- 20 or more points – 5 months suspension
- Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders – the suspension period is 3 months
Provisional licence holders are able to appeal the suspension notice to the Local Court to determine whether the licence will be suspended. Unrestricted or professional licence holders are not able to appeal any suspension period however they are able to apply for a 12 month good behaviour period.
A good behaviour period allows the driver to continue to drive with a two demerit point limit. If the driver breaches the good behaviour period their licence is suspended for double the original suspension period.
Once the suspension period or the good behaviour period is successfully complete demerit points on the licence are erased.
If you have any questions about your drivers licence we encourage you to contact our experienced traffic and criminal law team.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.