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Demerit Points


John Sutton

If you hold a driver’s licence in Queensland you will attract something called a ‘demerit point’ every time you commit a traffic offence, no matter where in Australia you commit that offence. There are a large number of traffic offences which attract demerit points but the most common offences for which drivers are allocated demerit points are:

  • Speeding, and
  • Using a mobile telephone while driving, and
  • Failing to obey traffic signal (either a road sign or traffic light).

Demerit points are almost always allocated in addition to a monetary fine.

A full list of traffic offences which attract demerit points can be found in the Department of Transport and Main Roads Demerit Points Schedule.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE ALL MY POINTS?

What people normally mean when they say they 'lost all their points' is that they accumulated demerit points in excess of the allowable maximum. Depending on the type of licence a person holds, the consequences of accumulating too many demerit points are different.

HOW MANY POINTS DO I HAVE?

Contrary to popular perception, drivers licences in Queensland do not come with a pre-allocated number of points which are ‘lost’ by breaking traffic laws. The opposite is, in fact, true – each driver starts with 0 points and demerits are added for each traffic offence, up until a pre-set maximum at which time certain consequences flow if more traffic offences are committed. The maximum allowable demerit point accumulation for different licence types is set out below:

Licence type Demerit Point limit
Learners Licence (L’s) 4 within 1 year
Provisional Licence (P’s, inc. P1, P2 and P) 4 within 1 year
Open Licence 12 within 3 years
Good Behaviour Licence 2 within 1 year

OPEN LICENCE

If you exceed your demerit point limit while holding an Open licence the Department of Transport and Main Roads will send you a document titled 'Accumulation of Demerit Points – Notice to Choose', commonly called a notice to choose. If you receive a notice to choose you can elect to continue driving on a good behaviour licence for the next 12 months, or to have your Open licence suspended for a ‘requisite period’.

If you elect to continue driving under a good behaviour licence, you are allowed to accumulate no more than 2 demerit points in the following year. If you choose a licence suspension, you will have no ability to drive within the requisite period.

The requisite period of suspension is connected to the number of demerit points you accumulate, in accordance with the table below:

Demerit points accumulated Requisite suspension period
12-15 points 3 months
16-19 points 4 months
20+ points 5 months

If you fail to respond to the notice to choose you will be deemed to have elected a licence suspension. You are unable to drive a motor vehicle while your licence is suspended and if you do, you might commit a criminal (not a traffic) offence. More information regarding the penalties for driving while suspended can be found here

Learners licence

If you exceed your demerit point limit while holding a Learners licence your licence will be automatically suspended for 3 months. You have no ability to apply for a good behaviour licence or any type of order during this suspension period. If your licence doesn’t expire during the suspension period it is automatically reinstated at the conclusion of the 3 months. If not, you will need to apply to renew your expired licence (you do not need to apply for a new licence).

You are unable to drive a motor vehicle while your licence is suspended and if you do, you might commit a criminal (not a traffic) offence. More information regarding the penalties for driving while suspended can be found here

Provisional Licence (including P1, P2 and P)

If you exceed your demerit point limit while holding a Provisional licence the Department of Transport and Main Roads will send you a document titled 'Accumulation of Demerit Points – Notice to Choose', commonly called a notice to choose. If you receive a notice to choose you can elect to continue driving on a good behaviour licence for the next 12 months, or to have your Provisional licence suspended for 3 months.

If you elect to continue driving under a good behaviour licence, you are allowed to accumulate no more than 2 demerit points in the following year. If you choose a licence suspension, you will have no ability to drive for that 3 months.

If you fail to respond to the notice to choose you will be deemed to have elected a licence suspension. You are unable to drive a motor vehicle while your licence is suspended and if you do, you might commit a criminal (not a traffic) offence. More information regarding the penalties for driving while suspended can be found here


where to next?

Traffic offences are treated seriously in Queensland. If you have been in an accident, received a licence suspension or received a charge and summons to attend court, it is important to obtain competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Perth: (08) 9321 5505