In this article, we hope to clear up a few common misunderstandings about demerit points which are attached to many traffic offences in Queensland.
What Are Demerit Points?
The penalties for traffic offences usually involve fines as a minimum. For some offences, an additional penalty in the form of demerit points may also be imposed. For example, a speeding fine will result in a fine being imposed. In addition to that fine, a person can have a number of demerit points put onto their traffic history.
The number of demerit points will depend on the type of offence that was committed. The offence of failing to indicate properly will incur 2 demerit points whereas a high-speed offence (more than 40km/hr over the speed limit) will incur 8 demerit points.
One area where a lot of people get confused is the question of when the demerit points get put onto a traffic history. Many people think that the demerit points go onto their history at the time that their fine is paid. In fact, the demerit points actually get backdated to the date of the actual offence. This means that even if you pay the fine 6 months after the offence was committed, your traffic history will show that the demerit points were accumulated on the day of the offence.
What Is The Impact Of Demerit Points?
If too many demerit points are put onto a person’s traffic history, their licence can be suspended. The length of the suspension will start at 3 months and can be longer, depending on how many demerit points were accumulated.
The number of points a person can accumulate will depend on the type of licence they hold. Holders of Learner and Provisional licence holders can only accumulate 3 demerit points within a specified period. They will have accumulated too many demerit points if 4 or more demerit points are put onto their history.
Open licence holders are allowed to accumulate 11 demerit points – 12 or more demerit points will push them over the limit.
Please note that the above information is general in nature and there may be exceptions, so you should seek legal advice.
Will Your Licence Be Suspended?
If you accumulate too many demerit points, you will receive a notice from the Department of Transport to say that your licence will be suspended. You may, however, be eligible for a good driving behaviour period which will mean that you can continue driving but with just 1 demerit point for a period of one year. The accumulation of too many demerit points does not therefore automatically mean that you will lose your ability to drive.
If you are already on a good driving behaviour period when you incur 2 or more demerit points, you may be able to apply for a special hardship order which will allow you to keep driving for work or other purposes. There are strict requirements for this application so you should arrange for an experienced traffic lawyer to represent you.
If you have further questions about demerit points, do not hesitate to contact Harper Finch Lawyers. We are experts in traffic law and we can help with all types of offences, anywhere in Queensland.