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Lost your licence following the double demerit points long weekend?

You might be able to get it back

If you have had your driver’s licence suspended as a result of accumulated demerit points, you certainly aren’t alone after the recent Easter long weekend.    

Double demerit points were in place from 1 April to 5 April 2021. That meant that if you were caught committing a certain traffic offence during this period, you would have or will receive double the normal amount of demerit points applicable for the particular offence. 

Unfortunately, for those who have already accumulated a number of demerit points who then received double demerits for committing a traffic offence over a long weekend, it could result in a lucence suspension.    

What can you do to get back on the road again after having your licence suspended? 

Having your driver’s licence suspended is a major inconvenience and can be incredibly disruptive to your life.  For many, they rely on their vehicle and being able to drive in order to do their job.  Losing their licence could also mean losing their source of income, their business or their job.   

The good news is that if you hold a provisional or learner’s drivers’ licence in NSW, and you have lost your licence due to an accumulation of demerit points, you may be able to appeal that decision in court.  Read more about provisional and learner licence suspensions

Unfortunately, if you hold a full, unrestricted driver’s licence in NSW you are not able to appeal the decision to suspend your licence.  It’s not all bad news though as there are other avenues you can take to get you back on the road sooner.    

For instance, if your suspension was as a result of an accumulation of demerit points, you can apply for a ‘good behaviour period’.  You will have your driver’s licence reinstated, however, if over the next 12 months you receive a further 2 demerit points due to traffic offences, you will have your licence suspended for double the original timeframe.   

Appealing a licence suspension decision 

An appeal is, essentially, a request for the court to review the suspension decision.  By appealing a driver’s licence suspension, it may be possible to have it reversed (i.e. you get your license reinstated) or reduced in time for the suspension period (i.e. get your licence back sooner).     

However, not all licence suspensions can be appealed.  

For more information about drivers’ licence appeals visit our licence appeals information or read on.

Driver’s licence suspensions that can be appealed to the local court 

  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h 
  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h 
  • Being charged with serious drink driving and other serious traffic offences 
  • Medical reasons 
  • Not being a fit and proper person to hold a license
  • If you are a provisional or learner licence holder and Transport for NSW suspended your licence due to accumulated demerit points. 

Driver’s license suspensions that can NOT be appealed to the local court 

  • Accumulation of demerit points if you hold a full licence 
  • Non-payment of fines 
  • Being charged with a serious drink driving offences
  • Charged with other serious traffic offences 

Possible Outcomes for a licence suspension appeal 

After hearing your case it is possible that the court might decide to do one of the following; 

  • Dismiss the appeal outright (no change to your licence suspension or period or suspension) 
  • Uphold the appeal (the suspension is quashed/overturned and your licence is reinstated) 
  • Vary the suspension (Generally means a reduction in the suspension period) 
  • It can also result in the court deciding to increase the suspension period, however, this uncommon. 

Things the court might consider when determining the outcome of your appeal 

While the courts may only have the same authority as Transport for NSW or TfNSW (previously known as the RMS) in deciding what to do regarding your suspension, they can take more matters into account when determining the appeal.   

Things the court may take into consideration when deciding what to do regarding the appeal include, but are certainly not limited to, the following; 

  • Your previous driving records 
  • Details of the offence and extent the law was broken 
  • If further driver education has been completed
  • Risk to public posed by the offending person if their licence was reinstated 
  • Benefits to the public and/or community if the offending person were to have their licence reinstated 

Appealing a driver’s licence suspension can be a daunting process.     A good traffic lawyer will be able to lead you through the complicated process and court proceedings, as well as, tailor your appeal submission to achieve the best outcome for you.    

For more information about drivers’ licence appeals visit our licence appeals information here 

What are the steps involved to appeal a licence suspension? 

Typically, you will follow the steps outlined below in order to appeal the decision to suspend your driver’s licence. 

  1. Traffic infringement notice is received for excessive speed or where the infringement results in your demerit point threshold being reached.   
  1. You pay the infringement notice or if you elected to have the matter heard in court, you are convicted.   
  1. TfNSW issues you with a notice of suspension which you receive.  
  1. Your traffic lawyer or you (if you chose not to seek legal representation) will draft and submit your appeal.  You have 28 days to do this.  
  1. Attend court for the licence appeal hearing where the magistrate will deliver their decision.   

Once an application for an appeal is lodged, you are able to continue driving until the Court finally determines the matter. 

How long do you have to lodge your appeal?  

All appeals must be made within 28 days of the decision to suspend your licence.  The magistrate will not be able to hear your case after this time period.  Even if the court accepts your application, your case cannot be heard if your appeal was not properly filed before the 28 day cutoff.  

The law assumes that all TfNSW Notices of Suspension sent by post were received four working days after it was posted. 

What is the ‘Good Behaviour Period’ 

Many motorists simply cannot afford to lose their licence.  They rely on their vehicles for work or for other important things like transporting their family to critical appointments and/or events.  That is why a ‘good behaviour period’ is available to most motorists via application.    

Motorists who have their licence suspended can elect to enter a ‘good behavriour period’ in order to have their licence reinstated.    The good behaviour period is a 12 month period.  Should the driver be caught committing another traffic offence and accumulate an additional 2 demerit points during that 12 month period, they will have their licence suspended for double the original suspension time.  

Applying for a ‘Good Behaviour Period’  

To enter a ‘good behaviour period’ you need to apply online at least 2 working days before the start date of your licence suspension.  All on-time applications are made online via the TfNSW website.   

Should you fail to submit your application by this time, you can still apply for a good behaviour period however it must be done in person at your local TfNSW branch.   You will need to bring with your driver’s licence and suspension letter in order to apply.  

What is the double demerits system? 

The double demerits system was introduced by the states to reduce the number of fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents over long weekend periods. The intention is to increase awareness of and encourage safe driving practice at times where high motor vehicle accidents and fatalities as a result of those accidents are typically seen. 

During a double demerit points period, double the normal amount of demerit points apply for certain traffic offences, should you be caught committing the offence.  They include;  

  • Not wearing a seatbelt,  
  • Speeding,  
  • Mobile phone and
  • Motorcycle helmet offences 

Double demerits periods normally happen during key public holiday periods, starting on the first date of a long weekend or other public holiday period to the end date of the long weekend or public holiday period.   

In NSW, the double demerit point periods happen during the following;  

  • Australia Day 
  • Easter 
  • Anzac Day 
  • Queens Birthday 
  • Labour Day 
  • Christmas and Boxing Days 
  • New Years Eve 

How many demerit points can be accumulated before having your license suspended? 

All drivers start with zero points on their licence.  They then receive demerit points when caught committing a traffic offence.  Once they accumulate a specific set number of demerit points, the driver’s licence is suspended. 

NSW drivers can accumulate the following number of demerit points, dependent on their licence, before they will receive a licence suspension notice. 

  • Unrestricted driver licence – 13 points 
  • P2 Provisional driver licence – 7 points 
  • P1 Provisional driver licence – 4 points 
  • L Learner driver licence – 4 points 
  • Professional driver licence – 14 points. 

How long do demerit points last? 

Once you have accumulated demerit points against your licence, they will remain there for a period of 3 years and 4 months.  The additional 4 months allows time for offences or delayed appeals within the 3-year period to be added to your driving record. 

Once the three year peroid has elapsed from the time you received the demerit points, they will no longer be counted towards a potential suspension.  They do, however, stay on your permanent driving record.  

How long can I have my licence suspended for?  

There are set suspension periods enforceable which vary dependant on the number of demerit points you have accumulated when your licence is suspended.   

The following outlines how long you could have your drivers’ licence suspended based on demerit points earned. 

  • 13 – 15 demerit points: 3 month suspension 
  • 16 – 19 demerit points: 4 month suspension 
  • 20+ demerit points: 5 month suspension 
  • For learner, P1 and P2 licence holders, the suspension period is 3 months 

Why contact Australian Criminal Law Group 

Australian Criminal Law Group are experienced traffic and criminal lawyers in Sydney with more than 60 years combined experience representing clients across all traffic offences.  Should you have your licence suspended, our expert team can advise on and assist in lodging an appeal to have the suspension decision reversed.   

Australian Criminal Law Group Sydney Criminal Lawyers have offices in Sydney, Parramatta and Blacktown.  Or traffic solicitors represent clients from across NSW in all courts.   

Get in touch with us today on (02) 8895 8167 or at info@aclawgroup.com.au  

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