Driver Licensing & Appeals
What to do if you have lost your license due to an accumulation of points: A guide for young people.
If you’ve just gotten your licence, you’re probably pretty stoked. You’ve done the hard yards practicing and passing the tests, and now you’re all set to make the most of your freedom. The last thing you want to do is lose it, right?
But that’s just what can happen if you get caught doing things like speeding, using your mobile, not wearing a seatbelt, or carrying too many passengers.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure you hold onto your licence, and what you can do if you’ve lost it.
Usually, more is better. Not with demerit points.
Everyone starts on zero. Each driving offence is given a points value, and every time you get caught that number of points is added to your total. The points stay on your licence for 3 years. If you reach your maximum number of points in that time, you lose your licence.
The maximum number of points you’re allowed depends on the type of licence you have:
Learner- 4 points
P1 (red)- 4 points
P2 (green)- 7 points
Unrestricted- 13 points
Any points you build up stay with you, even if you change your licence type within the 3 years.
Tom is a Learner driver. He gets caught not displaying his L plates, and receives a $236 fine and 2 demerit points. A year later he passes his driving test and moves onto his Red Ps (P1)- the points stay with him, so he only has 2 points left on his new licence. Tom gets caught again, this time for not wearing a seatbelt (3 demerit points). Normally he’d be OK (he’s allowed 4 points on a P1 licence), but because he already had those 2 other points he loses his licence.
Bronte is a P1 motorbike rider. She gets caught not wearing a helmet, and receives a $304 fine and 3 demerit points. A year later she gets her Green Ps (P2), and the 3 points carry over- she only has 4 points out of 7 left on her new licence. She holds her Green Ps for another 2 years without getting caught for anything more. Because it has now been 3 years since her offence, when she moves to her Unrestricted licence the points will be erased, and she’ll have the full 13 points.
Be aware: Any points or suspensions you get when you’re driving in another state will automatically be applied to your NSW licence.
You can check how many points you have on the Roads and Maritime Services (RTA) website: www.myrta.com
What Are the Penalties?
You can search the full list of demerit points and fines on the Roads and Maritime Services (RTA) website.
Some of the more common offences include:
Remember: if you get caught during a double-demerit period (usually around long weekends and holidays) you will get twice as many points, and can lose your licence even faster.
Your licence can also be suspended if you are issued a fine and you don’t pay it. If you are having trouble paying, you may be able to arrange for a payment plan- you should contact the State Debt Recovery Office on 1300 138 118.
Extra Penalties for New Drivers
If you are an L, P1 or P2 driver or rider there are also some extra conditions and penalties that only apply to you:
Learner, P1 and P2 driver and riders have a zero (0.00) blood alcohol limit
Learner and P1 drivers and riders automatically lose their licence for 3 months for any speeding offence.
P2 drivers and riders automatically lose their licence for 3 months after the second speeding offence.
If you use your mobile while driving you will get 3 demerit points and a fine (4 demerits if you do it in a school zone)
If you don’t display your plates the penalty is 2 demerit points and a fine.
Learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders cannot teach other people to drive (you must have a full, Unrestricted licence to be a supervising driver)
The following restricted speeds apply for young drivers. It is important to remember that this is the maximum speed you can go- you must observe the speed limit at all times.
Learner: 90 km/h
P1: 90 km/h
P2: 100 km/h
If you are a P1 licence holder and you’re under 25 you are only allowed to carry 1 passenger under 21 years old between 11pm and 5am. The penalty for carrying more than 1 passenger during these hours is 3 demerit points and a fine.
You may be able to apply to the RTA for an exemption if you need to:
Transport passengers as part of your paid job or volunteer position (eg Lifeline, SES)
Transport younger family members between 11am and 5pm, and there is no-one else who could take them
Passenger restrictions also apply for any P1 or P2 licence holder (any age) who has their licence disqualified by the court. For 12 months after your licence is restored you can’t transport more than 1 passenger of any age at any time. There are no exemptions for this category.
If you are a P1 or P2 driver you are not allowed to drive any of the following types of cars:
V8 or above
Turbocharged or supercharged engines (except diesel)
Any car with a performance enhanced modification that requires an engineers’ certificate
Some V6 models
The full list of restricted cars can be found on the RTA website here: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/licensing/downloads/201210_prohibited_vehicles_list.pdf
If you are a Learner driver you are allowed to practice driving (with a supervising driver) in a restricted car. You can even take the driving test to move up to your P1 licence in one. However, as soon as you are on your P1 licence (and can drive on your own) the restrictions apply.
How Long Will My License Be Suspended For?
If you are an L, P1 or P2 driver or rider your licence will be suspended for 3 months if you exceed your maximum demerit points. This time can be extended if you get caught for a serious speeding offence:
Speeding more than 30km/h over- additional 3 months (total 6 months)
Speeding more than 45km/h over- additional 6 months (total 9 months)
If you have an Unrestricted licence, the time depends on how many points you exceed your maximum by:
13 to 15 points - three months
16 to 19 points - four months
20 or more points - five months
If you drive while your licence is suspended you will receive heavy fines, and possibly even jail time
Can I Appeal?
If you are an L, P1 or P2 driver or rider you can appeal, but you have to act quickly. You have 28 days to appeal a licence suspension to the Local Court. The time starts from the day you receive the letter from the RTA notifying you of the suspension. You will need to fill in an application form, and pay an $85 fee. You should also get legal advice.
Once you have applied, you will be issued with a court date. It’s not a good idea to drive to court- if your appeal is unsuccessful the suspension will start immediately, and you won’t be able to drive home.
In court you will be asked to provide:
Reasons why you are appealing the suspension
Any other evidence to support your case (such as a letter from your employer explaining that you need to drive for work).
If you’re not happy with the decision of the Local Court you have 28 days to appeal to the District Court. Again, you should get legal help.
If you have an Unrestricted licence you can’t appeal a demerit points suspension. However, you might be able to apply for one of the following:
A good behaviour licence
Registration as a Professional Driver
For more information, visit the Roads and Maritime Services (RTA) website.
When Can I Drive Again?
If your licence is suspended, the RTA will send you a notification letter. The letter will include the date that your suspension will end- you can drive again after this date.
If your licence expires while you are on a suspension you will need to renew it at the RTA before you can drive again.
The time while you are suspended doesn’t count towards the time it takes to go between different licence classes (Learner to P1, P1 to P2 etc). This means that if you are suspended it will take you longer to reach your Unrestricted licence.
Emma is on her Red Ps (P1). Her 12 months will be up in August, and she’s looking forward to moving up to her Green Ps (P2). However, in July she gets caught speeding, and her licence is suspended for 3 months. Now she can’t drive at all until October, and she’ll need to stay on her Red Ps until November.
Roads & Maritime Services (formerly RTA)
115 Bagot St, Broken Hill
Ph: 132 213
Geared- Information for Young Drivers
Far West Community Legal Centre
5 Chloride St, Broken Hill
Ph: 08 8087 6766
Freecall: 1800 300 036
Warra Warra Legal Service
184-186 Argent Street
Broken Hill NSW 2880
Ph: (08) 8087 6766
Fax: (08) 8087 6765
Freecall: 1800 812 800
State Debt Recovery Office
Ph: 1300 138 118
Disclaimer: This information is a general guide to the law. It should not be relied on as legal advice. If you have a specific legal problem you should consult a lawyer.
It applies to people who live in, or are affected by, the law as it applies in NSW, Australia. The information contained in this publication is current at 1 January 2014.
The Points System