Today I wanted to have a chat about demerit points and more specifically, how many points can you lose before your driver’s licence is suspended?
The number of points you can get depends on what kind of licence you hold. Each category of licence in New South Wales has a different threshold. If you go over that threshold within a 3-year period, you’re going to get a letter saying that your licence will be suspended.
What are the limits for each category?
If you’re a P1 Driver – that’s your red Ps – then your threshold is four points. That means you’ll be okay if you hit three points within three years, but if you hit that fourth point, your licence is going to be suspended for a period of three months.
For P2 licence holders – that’s green Ps – your threshold limit is seven points. You’ll be okay if you hit six points within three years, but if you hit that seventh point, you’re going to receive a licence suspension also for a period of three months.
Unrestricted licence holders have a higher threshold. Their number of points is 13, so if they get up to 12 points in 3 years they’re okay. That 13th point will tip them over and lead to a suspension.
The length of the suspension is going to depend on how many points they go over the limit by, so it’s going to be somewhere between three to five months in total.
The final category are professional licence holders – these are people who drive for a living. It’s not everybody who drives for work – it’s specific categories, so it tends to be things like bus drivers, taxi drivers, or truck drivers.
Professional licence holders get an extra point so their threshold is 14 points. It works a little bit differently to the other categories in that once they go over the 13th point threshold for normal unrestricted licence holders, they’ll get the notice of suspension and it’s at that point they can apply for their bonus point.
If a professional driver gets 14 or more points within a 3-year period, their licence will be suspended. Unlike an unrestricted licence holder, it depends how many points they’ve gone over the limit as to how long they’re off the road for. So it’ll be somewhere between three and five months.
Probably the most important question though is, What should you do if you find yourself over your demerit point limit? Again, the answer depends on what kind of licence you hold.
Provisional licence holders – Red and Green P – have an option to appeal against the suspension to the court. They’ll go before a magistrate and they’ll ask for the suspension to be waived entirely or reduced to a shorter period.
Unrestricted and professional licence holders don’t have a licence appeal option. Instead, what they get offered is a good behaviour licence – that’s a double or nothing licence, or sometimes called a “golden point licence”. It’s where you get a limit of only two points for 12 months. So if you hit two or more demerit points on a good behaviour licence, your licence gets suspended for twice as long as the original suspension. So you could be looking anywhere from 6-8 months off the road.
The alternative is sometimes you might be better to take your ticket to court before you pay it and the points hit the record. There are some orders that magistrates can make that have the effect of the demerit points not going onto your record at all. If that happens, you won’t go over your limit and you won’t get the notice of suspension.
The best thing to do is if you received a ticket that you think is going to put you over your demerit point limit or if you’ve already got the notice of suspension, give us a call. We’ll talk you through your options.