What does ‘demerit points threshold’ mean?
The demerit points threshold is the number of demerit points a licence holder has to accumulate in order to be issued a Notice of Suspension, or be refused a licence. In NSW the demerit points thresholds are:
- 4 demerit points for learner licence holders and provisional P1 licence holders.
- 7 demerit points for provisional P2 licence holders.
- 13 demerit points for unrestricted licence holders.
- 14 demerit points for professional drivers.
How do I find out my demerit points balance?
You can check your demerit points balance online. As an additional security measure, to protect your personal information you will be required to establish an online account to access these transactions. The demerit points shown are those that Roads and Maritime Services may count towards suspension. You can also request a copy of your driving record (a fee is payable) online or by visiting any registry and providing proof of identity.
You will need your driver licence to obtain this information. Your driving record will show all offences and demerit points. You cannot obtain details of other people’s demerit points balance, driving record or personal details.
Who is considered a ‘professional’ driver?
A professional driver is a holder of an unrestricted licence who is:
- A motor vehicle driver who transports goods either inter and/or intra-state, or
- A bus, taxi or hire car driver who holds an authority issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990.
A number of other conditions also apply – see Professional Drivers for information.
How long does it take for demerit points to show on my record?
In the case of a penalty notice, Roads and Maritime Services will be advised of the offence and add the demerit points after you pay the fine to the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO), or if payment is not made, when the final date for payment is reached.
If the offence is heard by a court, Roads and Maritime Service will be advised if the court finds you guilty of the offence. Roads and Maritime Services will then add the demerit points to your record.
If you are found guilty of the offence but the court dismisses the offence under Section 10(1) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, the demerit points related to the offence will not be recorded. This applies to court decisions made on or after 31 January 2011.
What happens if I don’t pay my penalty notice fine?
If you do not pay your penalty notice fine by the due date, the SDRO will issue an enforcement order. It will also refer the offence to Roads and Maritime Services for recording and Roads and Maritime Services will add demerit points. Suspension or refusal under the demerit point scheme will follow if these demerit points cause you to exceed your demerit point limit.
Your driver licence (or vehicle registration) can also be suspended and other forms of business refused under the Fines Act 1996 if you do not pay your outstanding penalty notice fine or court imposed fine to the SDRO or the court.
How does the three year period work?
This is the period in which the offences must be committed that have caused you to reach or exceed your demerit point threshold. It is calculated using the offence dates. The three year period ends on the date you last committed an offence so the three year period can be any three year period in the past.
Suspension can only be applied if you exceed your demerit point threshold for offences committed within a three year period.
Do demerit points become too old to be counted towards suspension?
The law does not limit the counting of demerit points to offences that are less than three years old. Demerit points remain on a person’s driving record irrespective of the age of the offence. However, Roads and Maritime Services considers it unreasonable to count offences that are more than 40 months old.
How will I know my licence is suspended or refused?
Roads and Maritime Services will send a Notice of Suspension to licence holders who reach or exceed the demerit points threshold applying to their type of licence or who commit an excessive speed offence. The law requires that the Notice be sent to the address the licence holder has provided to Roads and Maritime Services.
Roads and Maritime Services will not withdraw a suspension simply because the Notice is returned undelivered. Only where the licence holder can demonstrate that they advised Roads and Maritime Services of a change of address within 14 days of moving, which is the requirement under the law, will consideration be given to withdrawing a suspension.
If your licence has expired or is about to expire, a Notice of Suspension will not be issued. Instead, you will be refused a licence when you attend a registry and apply for a licence renewal. You will be formally advised of the refusal and a Notice of Refusal will be issued.
The Notice of Suspension or Refusal will specify the date the licence suspension or refusal is to begin and when it will end.
You can obtain advice about your licence status by calling 13 22 13 or by visiting a registry and providing proof of identity.
My licence has been suspended. When can I start driving again?
If your licence is still current, you can start driving as soon as your suspension period ends. This date will be shown on your Notice of Suspension. If your licence has expired during the suspension period, you will need to renew your licence before you can recommence driving.
Please note that renewal notices are not sent to suspended drivers and you cannot renew your licence while it is suspended, so you will need to check your licence is current before you start driving again.
If a licence application has been refused, you cannot drive until you are issued a driver licence.
Will a demerit points suspension delay my progress in the graduated licensing scheme?
Yes. As a learner or provisional driver, a period of demerit points suspension will not be included in the minimum period required to graduate to a P1, P2 or unrestricted licence. You will have to remain on the licence for an additional period that equals the suspension period before you can graduate to the next licence stage.
If you are disqualified by a court for a serious driving offence or have your licence cancelled, you will have to start again for the type of licence you held at the time.
What happens if I drive while suspended for reaching the demerit points threshold?
Heavy penalties including a gaol sentence may be imposed by a court if you are convicted of driving while suspended or refused. Mandatory disqualification from driving also applies.
Are all my demerit points cleared from my record when I complete a period of suspension of my driver’s licence?
Demerit points which contribute towards a demerit point suspension or refusal and which are shown on a Notice of Suspension or Refusal can’t be counted towards further licence suspensions. If other offences are recorded after a Notice of Suspension or Refusal has been issued, the points for those offences will remain on your record and may count towards future suspension or refusal. All your offences and demerit points will be displayed on your driving record because this accurately reflects your driving history.
What if my licence has been disqualified by a court?
Demerit points are unaffected by a court disqualification. Any demerit points on your record will remain and may be used to suspend or refuse a licence at a later time. If the offence which resulted in the disqualification attracts demerit points, these will also be recorded on your record.
If a demerit point licence suspension period is interrupted by a court disqualification, the unserved suspension period may need to be served at the end of the disqualification period.
You may also be refused a licence when you re-apply for a licence after a court disqualification has ended. This will happen if you have demerit points that reach or exceed your threshold at the time you apply for the licence.
What if I commit a demerit point offence while driving outside of NSW?
The National Driver Licensing Scheme (NDLS), which has been adopted by all Australian jurisdictions, provides that details of certain driving offences committed by a driver while visiting in another State are to be transferred to that driver's home jurisdiction for recording on their traffic record.
The NDLS also provides that the driver’s home jurisdiction is to apply the number of demerit points it would have applied, had the offence been committed in the driver’s own jurisdiction.
The relevant driving offences are those listed in the Administrative Guideline for the NDLS published by the National Transport Commission.
If you hold a NSW licence and commit one of the relevant offences in another state, the offence will be returned to NSW and the number of demerit points that the offence attracts in NSW will be applied. These demerit points may be used to suspend or refuse a licence.
What if I hold a licence from another state or territory and commit a driving offence in NSW?
You will be required to pay the fine in NSW. Where the offence is a relevant offence, details of the offence will be sent to your home state and included on your driving record. Your home state will determine the number of demerit points to be applied and will suspend your licence if the offence(s) causes you to exceed your demerit point limit. If you are suspended by your home state, you cannot drive in NSW.
Roads and Maritime Services also maintains a register of your offences committed in NSW. If you commit offences that attract a value of 13 or more points in a three-year period, Roads and Maritime Services may withdraw your right to drive in NSW.
What types of vehicles are meant by the ‘vehicle classes’ shown in some demerit point offences?
The Road Transport (General) Regulation 2005 defines vehicle classes as follows:
- Class A motor vehicle:
- A motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) less than 4.5 tonnes, or
- A motor vehicle and trailer combination with a Gross Combined Mass (GCM) less than 4.5 tonnes.
- Class B motor vehicle:
- A motor vehicle with a GVM more than 4.5 tonnes but less than 12 tonnes, or
- A motor vehicle and trailer combination with a GCM more than 4.5 tonnes but less than 12 tonnes.
- Class C motor vehicle:
- A motor vehicle with a GVM more than 12 tonnes, or
- A motor vehicle and trailer combination with a GCM more than 12 tonnes.