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The demerit point scheme is an Australia-wide program that allocates a certain number of penalty points (demerits) for a range of traffic offences, and is designed to promote safe and responsible driving.  The main motive behind the demerit point scheme is to identify and punish offenders accordingly based off the offences they commit, and disqualify repeat offenders from driving on public roads altogether.


Almost all traffic offences carry a demerit penalty, as well as a financial penalty, which varies based off the offence that had been committed. Therefore, there is no doubt that the demerit point system provides a strong incentive for individuals to drive within the law, or otherwise face the penalties of not doing so. Regardless, if an offender does incur demerits but drives within the bounds of the law or complies with certain conditions, any lost demerit points will be replaced over time. However, if an offender loses all of their allowed demerit points, the offender may be disqualified from driving for any period of time as stated by the law, or in the alternative, the offender’s licence can be revoked.

In instances where an offender is subject to a demerit driving offence involving the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is not uncommon for the offender to not only face demerit penalties, but also immediate suspension of their licence until it is otherwise safe to be returned to them. Alternatively, in speeding offences, the number of applicable demerit points will vary depending on how fast a vehicle was travelling at any point in time, or in the event of an accident, the severity of any damage to property or other persons.


Different licence types have different limits for demerit points. For example, the limits for various licence classes are:

  • Unrestricted licence: 13 points
  • Professional drivers: 14 points
  • Provisional P2 licence:     7 points
  • Provisional P1 licence:  4 points
  • Learner licence:  4 points


For unrestricted licence holders, the period of suspension of your licence will vary depending on the number of demerit points are accumulated:

  • 12 to 15 points subjects a driver to suspension for three months.
  • 16 to 19 points subjects a driver to suspension for four months.
  • 20 points or more subjects a driver to suspension for five months.


Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders are subject to a suspension period of 3 months.






What are the options should you consider after facing demerit point disqualification?


First and foremost, if you have been involved in any demerit offence, or are facing a licence suspension due to an over-accumulated number of demerit points, it is best to get in touch with a competent traffic lawyer as soon as possible, as your traffic lawyer will be able to advise you as to all available defences, as well as fight for you in court.


Depending on the seriousness of the offence, and your previous driving record, you may have the option to enter a good behaviour agreement with the Court, whereby you will be granted 2 points on your licence within the term of a good behaviour bond. If you breach this bond, you will face disqualification for double the original period of disqualification.




If you are facing demerit charges and need help, give us a call at Sydney Traffic Lawyers. We will connect you with a demerit offence lawyer in Sydney who can walk you through the basics of your charges and learn more about your case. From there, we will identify and build the best defence possible for your situation. To schedule a consultation today, give us a call on (02) 8059 7121.