In NSW a demerit point system applies to traffic offences. Different categories of drivers have differing numbers of points on their licence. For instance, a professional driver has 14 points, unrestricted drivers have 13 points, P2 licence holders have 7 points and drivers on their P1 licence or learner’s licence have 4 points.
The demerit point system works by allocating demerit point penalties for different types of driving offences. If the driver accumulates more demerit points than allowed based on their category of licence, within a three-year period, their licence will automatically be suspended.
The length of a demerit point suspension depends upon the amount of points accumulated in the 3 year period. For professional or unrestricted licence holders, demerit point suspensions can range from 3 to 5 months suspension, whilst restricted licence holders (P and L platers) face a standard 3 month suspension.
In rural areas a licence suspension can have serious consequences in relation to employment and family life. For this reason, many people on an unrestricted licence choose to serve a 12 month period on a “good behaviour” licence rather than serve the mandated suspension period.
A good behaviour licence will give the driver a further two demerit points for a 12 month period. If the driver exceeds this 2 demerit point limit during this 12 month period of good behaviour, the suspension period will then be double the original suspension imposed. For this reason, a good behaviour licence is sometimes known colloquially as “double or nothing” licence.
Whilst it is not ideal to be charged with driving offence whilst on a good behaviour licence, it is possible to challenge the matter in Court. If a driver is found not guilty of the offence, no demerit points will apply and they will be able to keep their licence.
Alternatively, in some limited situations, it may be possible to enter a guilty plea and have the Court deal with the matter leniently and not record a conviction for the offence. No conviction means no demerit points accrue and no suspension from driving.
Traffic law can be quite a complex area and thus it is important to ensure you are represented by someone with thorough knowledge of how the system works. If you have any traffic related queries please contact the experienced team at Everingham Solomons as Helping You is our Business.
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