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Demerit Points Limits

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Driving responsibly on roads is not only beneficial to the driver, their passengers and goods but protects other road users and municipalities. The demerit point scheme is a nationwide program that assigns demerit points to holders of a driver's license for a range of driving offences.

A driver getting demerit points for a driving offence does not preclude them also receiving financial, license penalties, and so on. The demerit point program provides positive incentives for all drivers to handle their vehicles with the utmost responsibility. When you accumulate a certain demerit point depending on the license type, the driver may; have their license seized, be fined or even be convicted or imprisoned by a court.

If they are convicted or imprisoned, they will have a criminal record against their Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.

Demerit point limits for the license types

The Demerit Point system is administered by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). And it allocates points per related offences to the driver's license records. Far from the popular belief that "points” are deducted from the person's driver's license, it adds up to a limit determined by their license type.

Here are the different license types, and limits for the Demerits point limit.

    ✔ Professional Driver License                                                            14 points

    ✔ Unrestricted (full) License                                                               13 points

    ✔ Provisional P-2 License (Green P-plate)                                         7 points

    ✔ Provisional P-1 License (Red P-plate)                                            4 points

    ✔ Learner License                                                                              4 points

    ✔ Unrestricted License Holder with a Good Behavior                        2 points within terms of good behaviour

What are the suspension periods for the License holder at the Demerit point Limit?

The different license types also incur various suspension periods and penalties depending on their provisions.

    For Professional drivers;

    If a person holding a professional drivers license accumulates 14 or more demerit points within any 3 years, they will have their license suspended. The suspension period is relative to the number of points against their license. Most professional drivers apply to the Road and Maritime services to increase their threshold from 13 demerit points to a 14 demerit point within 3 years.

    The suspension periods for the professional Drivers are;

    • 14 to 15 demerit points will incur a license suspension for three months
    • 16 to 19 demerit points will incur a license suspension for four months
    • A 20 or more demerit point incurs a license suspension for five months
    Unrestricted License

    Incurring 13 or more demerit points within 3 years for an unrestricted license will lead to a license suspension of 3-years. However, the suspension also varies with the number of points accumulated within this period.

    The various suspension periods for a holder of an Unrestricted Driver license according to the demerits points are;

    • License suspension of 3 months for 13-15 demerit points
    • License suspension of 4 months for 16-19 demerit points
    • License suspension of 5 months for 20 or more demerit points

    Provisional P-2 License (green P-Plate)

    If a person holding a Provisional P-2 license accumulates up to 7 or more demerit points in their license, they will receive a suspension of 3 months. Also, if the suspension is due to unsafe driving behaviour, they must stay on their p-2 license for an additional 6 months for every suspension they receive.

    Provisional p-1 license (Red P-Plate) or Learner License

    A driver holding a P-1 license and accumulating 4 or more demerit points will have their license suspended for three months

    Unrestricted License holder with a "good behaviour" period

    A driver holding an Unrestricted license on a "good behaviour" period, but accumulates 2 or more demerit points within 12 months will have their license suspended for twice the original suspension imposed by the RMS

Appealing a Demerit Point suspension

If you receive a suspension due to your Demerit point suspension reaching the prescribed limit, you can appeal to your local court against your suspension. However, an unrestricted license holder who has a cumulative demerit point of 13 cannot appeal against their suspension.

For holders of an unrestricted driver’s license, the only option available for them are;

  1. Complete their suspension program;
  2. A suspended driver can only complete their suspension by not driving for the period outlined by the RMS. There is always a limit set in the letter sent to the driver once they exceed their Demerit point limit. On completion of the suspension, the person/driver must contact the RMS to begin the process of having their suspension lifted.

    If the RMS consents to the suspension lifting, the demerit point “counter” resets to zero.

  3. Apply for a Good behaviour License
  4. A driver who doesn't wish to wait out their suspension period can apply for a "Good behaviour" license. However, the application must be made before the commencement of the suspension advised in the letter from the RMS.

    If granted, the driver can continue to drive within this revised 12 months Suspension period/Good behaviour license is enforced. However, should they accumulate 2 or more points within this period, they will get double the original suspension period imposed.

  5. Applying for the Professional Driver Status
  6. A holder of an unrestricted driver's license who accumulates 13 demerit points may be considered for Professional driver status. However, they must be either a driver that transports goods or an accredited taxi, bus or hire a car that drives to earn their living.

    If their application is successful, they will get a threshold of 14 points instead of 13 in 3 years.

    Here, these are the three courses of action you can take if your driver's license gets suspended as an unrestricted Driver license holder.

Provisional (P-1 and P-2) and learner License Holders

  • A P-1 or learner driver who accumulates 4 demerit points can appeal to the local court against their suspension
  • A P-2 driver who accumulates 7 or more demerit points can appeal to the local court against their suspension.

What can an appeal to court do for you?

When you appeal against your suspension, you can have your appeal;

  • Dismissed

Continue with suspension sustained by the court either immediately or at a later date.

  • Vary the suspension, but have your appeal dismissed

The court may consider factors like;

    ✔ Driver's need for a license

    ✔ Traffic history

    ✔ Probity/social services

    ✔ Offences leading to suspension

Upon consideration, the person will have their suspension term reduced. And the demerit points reset on completion

  • Sustained appeal

The court upholds the appeal, and the suspension period is cancelled. However, the demerit points will not be cleared and remain the same. Further demerit points incurred will result in a license suspension until the time the penalty lapses.

All Demerit points reset after a “traffic infraction free-period of 3 years” from the offence.

Wrapping Up

Drivers should know that most demerit points related to license suspensions that lead to a court order and conviction will be recorded in their police check.

If you want to know what criminal offences (traffic/others) are recorded against you, applicants have the capability to apply for their own Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks online via services like ANCC, or they can approach the criminal records section of their state or territory police force to get a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.


Chapter 3 of the Road Transport Act (2013) -

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