Demerit Point Suspension in NSW – How Does it Work?

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Driving while suspended is a criminal offence in NSW. If you are caught driving without a licence, you could find yourself facing fines, a court-imposed disqualification or even prison.

Drivers can be suspended by accumulating too many demerit points on their licence.

If you have a demerit point disqualification in NSW, it’s important that you don’t drive at all and that you seek legal advice if you want to fight to have your licence reinstated.

How does the demerit point system work?

The demerit point scheme is administered by NSW Roads and Maritime Services.

It allocates penalties, which are known as demerit points, for certain driving offences. If you accumulate a specified number of demerit points within a three-year period, your licence will automatically be suspended.

Each set of demerit points also comes with a financial penalty, which is intended to deter drivers from committing traffic offences.

If you have an unrestricted licence, you are allowed up to 13 points within a three-year period.

This increases to 14 points for professional drivers.

Provisional licence holders are allowed seven points if they are on a P2 licence, and four points on a P1 licence. Learner drivers are only allowed four points before their licence will be suspended.

Each time you commit a driving offence you will receive notification in the mail along with a penalty notice.

Points will be added to your licence and if it reaches the maximum number of points, you will receive a notice of suspension which will specify how long your driving licence is being suspended for.

How long will I be suspended from driving?

The length of your driving licence suspension will depend on the number of points you have accumulated.

If you have 13-15 points, you will be suspended for three months, 16-19 points will lead to a four-month suspension, and 20 or more points will leave you disqualified for five months.

There is a standard three-month suspension period for provisional and learner licence holders.

If you are suspended from driving by a court for a serious driving offence, rather than through the accumulation of demerit points, you may also accumulate demerit points as a result.

If the additional demerit points accumulated put you over the threshold, you may need to add the additional demerit point suspension period on top of the court-issued suspension period.

It’s very important that you understand how long your suspension lasts for and that you don’t drive before the suspension period is over, or you could find yourself at risk of further penalties and disqualification.

Can I appeal a demerit point suspended?

If you have an unrestricted driving licence you can request to serve a 12-month good behaviour period in lieu of suspension.

You will need to apply to RMS before your suspension starts.

If you are approved, your licence won’t be suspended, but you will need to avoid accumulating more than two demerit points for the 12-month period.

If you go over the two-point threshold, your licence will be suspended for double the original period of time.

There is no right of appeal offered against a licence suspension which is given on the grounds of demerit points.

Although you can’t appeal a demerit point suspension, you may be able to apply to have the alleged offence which led to the suspension dealt with in court if you don’t believe that you were guilty or if there were mitigating circumstances which should be taken into consideration.

If you are found not guilty, you won’t receive demerit points and will be able to keep your licence.

In some cases, you may be able to have an offence be dismissed in court even if you are found guilty.

If this is the case, you won’t have any demerit points recorded against you.

If the court finds you guilty of the offence, RMS is obliged to record the demerit points against your licence and this can lead to suspension.

Are demerit points deleted after three years?

Although demerit points are no longer counted after three years, they remain on your driving record permanently.

Once three years has elapsed, they can no longer be counted towards suspension which means that to have a demerit point suspension in NSW you will need to have obtained 13 or more demerit points within the three-year period.

If you have other previous offences and demerit points which occurred more than three years previously, they won’t be counted.

What if my licence expires while I’m suspended?

If you are under a current suspension for the accumulation of demerit points and your licence has expired, you won’t be allowed to renew it until the suspension period has elapsed.

The RMS will issue you with a notice of refusal if this is the case and you will need to wait before renewing your licence.

It’s important to take demerit point disqualification seriously and don’t drive if your licence has been suspended.

If you want to challenge an alleged driving offence or find yourself facing court for driving after a demerit point disqualification, seek legal advice as soon as possible.

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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Traffic Defence Lawyers.

39 Comments

  1. ayten duman

    hi mr nedim
    my son is due to go to court for pleading guilty on speeding but he needs his points for work and tafe any suggestions on how to write a letter for the magistrate
    kind regards
    ayten

  2. Chris

    I think it might be important to note that it’s actually 40 months before demerity points expire, which is actually 3 years and 4 months.

  3. tracey

    I am a professional driver and recently had a red light camera infringement which my union has written on behalf of myself asking for leniency. Today I have found out I have another red light infringement. My demerit points total is currently sitting on 8 without these infringements. What are my options

  4. David

    Hi, above you say you must avoid getting more than two demerit points during your 12 month good behaviour period. Is it correct in saying then if you incur a 2 demerit points, you may still complete the good behaviour period without losing your license?

  5. Kimberly

    Can u please help me email me back as soon as possible please

  6. bec

    To whom it may concern,

    If my license was suspended in NSW and I am a Provisional ACT license holder, how long does it usually take to recieve a penalty letter in the mail and can I still legally drive in the meantime?

    Thank you.

  7. evan

    What do I have to do when the time comes can I drive straight away with my first provisional one license or wait for mine in the mail or do I have to get a new one

  8. Chris Joils

    Could you inform me of the state of my licence regarding demerit points.When will they be back to nil?

  9. gurninder

    Hi,i got caught in taxi drink driving with special range driver 0.042.i got three month suspension. Is there any chance i can appell in District court and save my license and convection. Thank you

  10. Graeme Burton

    It is 40 months until your points are reinstated not 3 years. It gives insurance companies more time to slug you more for your CTP.

  11. Melanie

    I got suspended for 3 months I am on my ls after that 3 months how do I get ls back so I have to sit the ls test again

  12. Safder Karim

    My license is suspended, I was driving on international license but car my was on my name . But my wife was driving my car but I paid all fines under my name, I have no idea that can be suspended after I apply for nsw license . I want to go on good behaviour, and how can I transfer fines on my wife name

  13. Walid Kassar

    your RTA,Maritime ,Service NSW,and whatever name it will be under next, is not fair at all.
    with your Unfair rules you have put lots of people out of work when they lose your license like what happened to me and my colleagues because your stingy unfair system which allows only 13 merit points for Only three years while it was 2 years before a driver get his points back, not only that, you went beyond this and now you are giving driver merits back an additional 4 months(GST ?) after the three years, so in my case if I committed “so called” offence on the 7th of Dec 2012, I don’t get it back on the 7th of Dec 2015 < no because there is a GST time on it right? I get it back on the 7th of F April 2016 if you haven't changed the low again to the worst so clearly you don't want people to have jobs, do you?. advanced Australia fair ?
    ( refer to channel 9 and 10 current affairs )

    also , the legal mafia which works in your system trying to hide like rats on corners where the speed limit will just begin to reduce from 90 to 60 for instance like what happened to me last Sunday, two of your hero's who are supposed to catch criminals and rapers were standing with their High way petrol cars with their hand held Liar detectors to target and hunt any driver who does not push his brakes suddenly to reduce his speed dramatically from 100 K on princess hwy to the silly 60K/H and may be cause drivers behind him to make an accident ,which you obviously don't care I reckon, as soon as he takes his exit at Campbelltown rd going south, I mean..pile of cars were pulled over damning and swering at the policemen and the RTA,Maritime,Service NSW system when I spoke to some of the victims for their indecent speed set laws intentionally tailored to ruin the fun time of families on a Sunday as much as they can, hit them with speed fines and loss of points.
    it is also very stupidly engineered the speed limits all over NSW,i mean you drive on 60 k speed zone then suddenly it drops to 50 ( for no reason, then goes up again to 70 then goes down to 40 at a school zone ( where schools don't exist on that road , neither the entrance of the school nor from the back) then it goes up to 60 then 80 then 50 and so F On, we drive like a yoyo in a car and instead of focusing on the road we are focusing on the speedo then you have Cameras that designed to catch us when we are turning right just because there is a car driving like a stupid turtle that go so slow to get me caught.
    also your roads in Sydney are disgusting full of traffic day and night with slow drivers who have been traumatised with your unfair booking from your Police officers who work for you rather for us to serve, and the maximum lanes you have in a major road like Parramatta Rd or hume hwy is 2 lanes filled with trucks and semi triellas going 20 klm/hr so good luck arriving at work , I literally spent 90 minutes 90 minutes from Alexandria to Chester hill , we are talking at 12 Noon here , because all Sydney roads now is Peak time there is no Non peak time any more except in Beautiful Qld which is really the smart state, where here is our New $uck ways
    sucking every pocket every day making millions of revenue daily in the name of safety, which is a total Bullshit, because most of the accidents happen outside Sydney , I mean how can you have an accident caused by a speed when you can't speed more than 30k from 7-6 any way..
    and what about the biggest rip off where you pay a toll on the M5 to get trapped in a long traffic jam for hours then you have to take King Georges Rd after you paid $4,40 for nothing, may be that's why your Police officers employees don't even go there, instead they try seeking roads where people can travel over 50K to give them hard time then tell them to add it up" have a nice day sir" ad they mean some thing else in their heart when they say it, I can feel it.

    and also, every silly booking like what happened to me a while ago driving my Beautiful (proudly German) Audi TT when a police officer decided to admire my car and pulled me over claiming that I did not give enough time signaling from right to left when I changed from lane to lane where there were no cars at that time, and he promised me if I don't pay the fine that he will come to my home and arrest me because he knows that there were no grounds for him to book me he just faked an incident because he just happened that he was on the right lane where I was waiting 7 minutes for a traffic light to come On and without any evidence he accused me of not giving blinker for 6 seconds at least or so, so I had to pay it because you cannot fight cops right? and then later I found that I have lost 2 points , so the Officer of the NSW law, lied to me intentionally to make me lose 2 points for no reason not to mention the fine I paid, and once I was booked because while I was at my work in a realestate, I pulled over to call a client to tell him that m running late 15 min because of traffic in Liverpool and I was in Miller in a deserted street when a Police officer approached me asking me , you know why I am talking to you? I said No idea, she said because you are talking on the phone , I said yeah so, I am parking aside, she sad yes but your engine is still running do you believe what sort of Crap your laws are? you are trying to find any cause to give the Police men to book any one at any time whenever they want, you see why I have along driving record full of bad history? one I got also booked for having my fog lights on and it was a Brand new Mazda back in the 1994 where the fog lights switch was On and I was not aware of it, and when explained to officer that after demo the switch must have stayed on and wasn't aware of it, you know what the Law officer said, Come On you can afford it.
    Summary: Most police officers envy every driver who drives a New car instead of respecting them because they paid an arm and a leg for the compulsory rip off stamp duty, instead they book us further then we have to pay more premium for insurance when we answered them yes I have been booked in my last 10 years or lie and get lower premium.
    The Policemen have a target to meet for the Legal mafia to raise revenue and that's why every one in the southwest pay the price, the number of speed and red light cameras are unbelievable lately in every corner almost and the latest is if you are crossing a traffic light and just went orange God help you, because if you are not quick enough the red light camera will catch you and if you speed up to avoid the red light camera guess what ? the speed camera will hit you( buy one get one free) and that's what exactly happens every minute at Woodville Rd and Hume high way.
    summary, I think we need a political party to form and stand up for your unfair system and stop all this provoking manipulating Evil crap which is driving every Sydney driver to the limit of their nerve.

    since you don't care about people losing their driving licenses and jobs as a result , and since you may claim that it is not True, why don't you introduce a big fee for any driver who wished to clean his driving record specially when it is accumulating silly fines like mine, say $3000 , that's lots of money Dear RTA/Maritime/Servie NSW, I mean after all, you love to make money right? also when he gets his license back he will be booked again and again the way N$W is going with the number of traffic lights and cameras and frustrations and the police hunters then he pay you to clear his record again later,believe me you need new ideas to make people like you and get along with our miserable life here, because we really had enough and it is not cool at all.

    Regards

    suffering Sydney driver

  14. Joseph

    I know that my brother in law drives whilst having a suspended licence. How do I have the cops catch him?

  15. Daniel

    Hello, I am enquiring for my brother, he was disqualified from driving and his disqualification has now ended, he has never held a licence but now RMS are saying because he is a harbitaul offender he has to go to court to ask for it to be quashed

  16. Nathan T

    hi , I’ve quick question.
    Im currenty just moved on to western australia.
    I used to live in sydney and moved overseas until currently moved to perth western australia.
    I found my full NSW driver license has been suspended on 2013 in regards of upaid penalties and my license has expired in 2014. So now , in order to transfer to WA driver license, what shud i do?will my suspension ended if i pay my penalties in total.please give me englightment thank u

  17. Moona Taouk

    i have one demerit point on my licence it was implemented around febuary 2015.it was a speeding fine saying i was doing 70 in a sixty zone,how long before i get that point back?

  18. Jai Copelin

    I have a tricky won I was speeding in July 30km/h over and was pulled over by a police officer. My licence was immediately suspended for 3 months and I have just completed the suspension and then recently got a letter in the mail saying I have exceeded the points limit. I just seems a bit silly because I just served a suspension for speeding now I have to serve won again. I’m on my green P’s so not much I can do but wondering does anyone know any ideas on how to get around that.

  19. Jarrod

    What if I accumulate 11 points on my P2 license? How long is my suspension?

  20. steven scott

    Do you get all your points back after the 1 year good behaviour is complete.

  21. MB

    I am a law obedient driver, I always follow the road rules and show respect and consideration for other drivers! I have never intentionally Brocken the road rules but I am also so unlucky with the police! When I am 99.9% of the times being a good driver, I don’t get reworded for it, I am invisible, police can’t see me! But, if I accidentally brake the rules, the police are there in a sec, they just appear out of nowhere and book me! Today was a great example of that and it had to be in a double demerit point period of course! I just touched the phone while I was standing in a red traffic light! I was not texting or calling, I was just checking the directions on the map while the car was not moving, how is this an offence? How I am hurting anybody by just doing that? The Police of course, my luck, just pulled over next my car and pulled me over and booked me! I tried to explain to them that I was lost with two kids in the car and I was just looking at the map while the car was at a stand still but they won’t have it. They quickly issued me with a fine and I lost double the points! It would’ve been nice and fair if the police acknowledged my previous great driving records and perhaps send me off with a warning. I would’ve had so much more respect for the police and believed that this scheme is actually there to save lives and not a money making scheme! I am annoyed because it is not fair that one small mistake will cost me double the points and money! It is like working really hard all the times to be a good law obedient citizen and never get awarded for it but as soon as a small mistake is made I will get double the punishment for it. This is just making me think what is the point then!!! It is so unfair!! More should be done to reward and acknowledge a good driving record Instead of being punished severely for silly reasons!!!

  22. Artemis

    Hi there, just a quick question? currently I’m in a six month suspension 🙁
    (from April 25 – 25 October) after I have served my suspension, what happens to my licence (demerit) do I start back at zero? Clean slate? Or do I have 6 points? Or any points ?? Not sure how this works?

  23. Graham

    N.S.W road rules are crimes against humanity.
    How many children will go hungry tonight.
    How many people will not be able too pay their mortgage or rent.
    Survival of transport companies under system without empathy.
    Robot cameras are judge and and executioner.
    Country without tolerance will create a society without empathy and compassion.

  24. melanie

    I was pulled up for driving while suspended (unpaid parking fine). I have no priors and all my points. What is the chance of me getting a section 10 and how do I get one?
    Thanks all.

  25. troy

    i have just lost my last 2 demerit points and am waiting now for the letter of suspension and the fine.
    if i chose not to do the one year probation how long will i have to wait to drive again and how many points do i get back, i heard its a 3 month wait and you get back 12 points

  26. Albert Malki

    Do I recover all 13 demerit points after a 3 months licence suspension?

  27. Michael

    My licenses was suspended 3 weeks by the police for high range drink driving how ever at the time was not driving and in a cow paddock, with security sitting on me . Police pick up never tested me and talk too me took me too the station and tested me and took my license without no charge can you do that

  28. Lesley

    hi how long after you are fined and lose points do u grain the points

  29. Tyin

    how many points do you get after finishing the good behaviour period?

  30. Jehad

    I have a good behaviour drivers lic and what if some of my points were due to expir would they still be removerd or i havto wait for the 12month
    Thank you

  31. Trav

    Hi i am a green p plater i have gained 13 demerit points how long will i lost my licence for im on 3 months got until next week to get it back will i receive another 3 month suspension

  32. Hassan

    Hi i have 11 point left and the polic give me fine for 12 becuase my son not put seat belt on can tell me what happen to me my licence now please?

  33. Layla Ayubi

    HI could u help me i had 4 points in red p and i lost them bcz i was speed 55 in school zoon now i have 2 kids and i need drive daily How can i do could u plz show me away tnx

  34. Mary

    Hello, My son is on his “Red P’s” he lost two points for my having P plates displayed and then another 2 points two months later for the same offence, the second time the wind blew them off, he has just started an apprenticeship, does he have any leg to stand on in fighting this, as he needs to licence to work. Thank you

  35. Johnd973

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  36. Johnd805

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  38. Arnie

    hi i have full nsw license i have lost 9 demerit and have points left and my last offence was October 30 2016 so when do i get full points back please.

  39. William

    Hi I have lost 2point of my license on the 13/10/2017 n then lost another 6 demerit point on public holiday Aus day which is the 28th of Jan 2019
    My question is for the 2point that I have lost on the 13/10/2017 am I going to get those 2point first in the 1st 3years of the offence date n got it back which on the 13/10/2020 or do I have till the 28 of Jan 2022 to get the 2point and all my point
    Not really sure about this rules

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