Demerit points in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) are a penalty that you may receive when you commit a traffic offence. The demerit point system is a national scheme and if you commit a traffic offence interstate, points may still be added to your ACT drivers licensing record.
When you are first issued with a licence, you start with no demerit points on your record. If you exceed the maximum allowable demerit points for your licence type, then your licence will be suspended.
If you move from a learner licence to a provisional licence your demerit points will again be reset to zero. This is not the case for moving between any other licence types.
Demerit points are not removed from your record but are only counted towards a suspension if the offence happened within the relevant time period.
Demerit points in the ACT are counted over any 3 year period. This period is calculated from the date that the most recent offence occurred. This means that if you receive a traffic infringement, the demerit points that go with this infringement will count towards the 3 year period on either side of the date of the offence.
If you get more than your allowed demerit points within these periods, your driver licence will be suspended and you are not allowed to drive anywhere in Australia. If you are on a full licence, the more demerit points that you get within the 3 year period, the longer the period of suspension that will apply.
You can check how many demerit point you have accumulated on your ACT driver’s licence by phoning Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
If you commit a demerit point offence, the points are added when either:
- you make a payment towards the infringement
- you ask for an extension of time to pay the infringement
- a sanction is recorded because you did not pay the infringement in the time allowed.
If you are the holder of a Full ACT Driver Licence, the demerit points threshold in any 3 year period is 12. Your licence will be suspended if you get 12 or more demerit points within that 3 year period. The suspension period is calculated according to the number of demerit points you have accumulated:
- for 12 to 15 demerit points you will be suspended for 3 months
- for 16 to 19 demerit points you will be suspended for 4 months
- for 20 or more demerit points you will be suspended for 5 months.
Learner Licence holders – if you accumulate 12 or more demerit points in any 3 year period, you will be suspended for 3 months.
Provisional Licence holders – if you accumulate 4 or more demerit points during any 3 year period, your licence will be suspended for 6 months. However, if you have had your provisional licence for 6 months you can apply to have a ‘PC’ condition endorsed on your licence and your demerit point allowance will be increased to 8. To be eligible, you must have held a provisional licence for a continuous 6 months and either:
- have completed a Road Ready provisional licence course, or
- be over 26 years of age.
If you hold a Probationary Licence, your points threshold is 2. If you accrue 2 or more points, your licence will be cancelled and you will not be permitted to apply for another driver licence for 6 months.
If you hold a full ACT driver licence, you can choose to serve a 12 month Good Behaviour Period instead of having a demerit point suspension.
A Good Behaviour Period election can be made at any time after you are served with the notice of demerit point suspension. Once the election is made, the Good Behaviour Period commences either on the day the demerit point suspension was due to start or on the date your election was made (whichever occurs last).
When your Good Behaviour Period begins, your demerit point total is again returned to zero. For the 12 months of the Good Behaviour Period, your demerit point threshold is 2 demerit points. You will be suspended for double the original suspension period if you accrue 2 or more demerit points during the Good Behaviour Period.
You need to lodge a notice of your election for a Good Behaviour Bond with Access Canberra.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 9 December 2015. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.