An informative guide to demerit points on a Queensland drivers licence

Demerit points! We’ve all heard of them, but do you know how they work? If you’ve lost your licence due to an accumulation of demerit points, you may be wondering what happens next. We’ve put together this informative guide to share everything you need to know about demerit points here in Queensland.

How many points do you start with on an open drivers licence?

Here in Queensland, you start with zero demerit points. You get demerit points for committing an offence that includes a certain number of demerit points as part of the penalty. Typically, more serious offences or multiple offences result in a loss of licence from too many demerit points.

How soon after the offence do the demerit points go on my traffic record?

Demerit points are applied on the same day that the offence occurred. They will be recorded against your traffic history when:

  1. You have been charged with an interstate offence
  2. You plead guilty in court, or the court finds you guilty of the offence
  3. You have paid your fine in total or you’ve made a payment arrangement with the State Penalty Enforcement Registry (SPER)

How long do demerit points stay on my licence?

Demerit points are recorded for 3 years on your traffic history (open drivers licence).

What happens if I have too many demerit points?

If you have exceeded the maximum amount of demerit points, you’ll receive a letter from Queensland Transport. This is a notice, and it will outline the options available to you. Normally, it’s either a disqualification period or a good driving behaviour period. You only have a limited time frame to decide which of the two you are going to choose. If you don’t notify Queensland Transport of your choice in time, you will be given an automatic suspension period.

If I breach my good driving behaviour period, can I still drive?

You might be eligible to apply for a special hardship licence if you need your driver’s licence for work and you have committed a subsequent offence in your good driving behaviour period. You can only apply for a special hardship licence if your good driving behaviour period was for 12 months. There are some circumstances where you will not be eligible to apply, they are as follows.

In the last 5 years you have:

  1. Applied for a special hardship licence
  2. You have had a work licence
  3. Your licence has been disqualified, suspended, or cancelled

The Magistrate will need to see evidence that losing your licence would cause extreme hardship to you. If the Magistrate grants you a special hardship licence, they will typically impose restrictions on where you can drive and when. Additionally, they may also request that you keep a driving log, restrict the hours that you can drive and the days, cap the number of passengers (if any) you can take in the car, and prevent you from driving a certain type of vehicle.

If you happen to get even one demerit point while driving under a special hardship order, your licence will be suspended for 12 months.

Where can I check how many demerit points I have?

You can check to see how many demerit points you have on the Queensland Transport website. There is a link that says, “check my demerit points”. It’s a free service and only takes a matter of minutes to complete.

What is the maximum number of demerit points here in Queensland?

Queensland has similar demerit point systems to the rest of Australia. The maximum number of demerits points that an open drivers licence holder can have is 12 demerit points. Anything over this will result in either a suspension period or a good driving behaviour period.

How many demerits points will I lose for committing a traffic offence?

How many demerit points you lose for committing an offence will depend on the severity of the charge however, it can range from anything between 1 to 8 demerit points for the one offence.

Most common offences that carry demerit points

  1. Speeding is the most common offence that involves demerit points. The faster you are going over the speed limit, the more demerit points you will accrue, and the more costly your fine will be.
  2. Driving with a mobile phone, making a call, texting, even having it on your lap.
  3. Not wearing a seatbelt or a passenger is not wearing a seatbelt.
  4. Defective vehicle
  5. Driving an unregistered vehicle
  6. Failing to stop at a red light

There are plenty more, and you can find them here at the Queensland Transport website – www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/demerit/points

How do I go about getting a special hardship licence?

If you have lost all your demerit points and require a special hardship licence, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as you can. You need to have your application order before court, and hiring an experienced traffic lawyer can help you achieve an outcome you are satisfied with. Here at Drink Driver Lawyer Queensland, we specialise in this area of law and help people in your situation every day. We will explain all the legal jargon in a language you can understand and fight to keep you on the road. If you’d like to speak to one of our senior traffic lawyers, get in touch on 07 3999 8661 to request your confidential and free case review.

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