Victoria Legal Aid

Demerit points

You can get demerit points against your drivers licence for some traffic offences. If you get too many points your licence may be suspended.

This page explains demerit points and what getting demerit points might mean for you. It also explains the process if you decide to challenge the offence in court.

What are demerit points?

The demerit points system aims to encourage drivers to drive safely. You will get one or more demerit points (or penalty point) for some driving offences. The VicRoads website has a list of demerit point offencesExternal Link .

The points are recorded against your driver licence or learner permit.

If you get too many demerit points you risk having your licence suspended.

What are the demerit point limits?

There are different limits for how many demerit points you can get depending on what sort of licence you are on:

  • full licence-holders – no more than 11 demerit points within any three-year period
  • learner or P-plate driver – no more than 11 demerit points within any three-year period, and no more than four demerit points within any 12-month period.

Limits also apply for motorcycle learner permits and full licences, and for drivers with overseas licences. The VicRoads website has a full list of demerit point limitsExternal Link .

If you go over the demerit point limit for your licence or permit, VicRoads will send you a demerit point option notice.

What is a demerit point option notice?

This is a letter that sets out two options for you to choose from:

  • you can accept your licence suspension and stop driving for the suspension period, or
  • you can choose to extend your demerit point period, which means you can keep your licence or permit but you must not get any more points (or lose your licence for any reason) for the next 12 months. If you do get more demerit points or lose your licence you will be suspended for double the amount of time originally offered to you.

If you do not reply to VicRoads within 21 days, they will suspend your licence. The date that the suspension starts is written on the demerit point option notice.

VicRoads will send a reminder two weeks before the suspension period starts.

The VicRoads website has more information about what to do if you are issued with a demerit point option noticeExternal Link .

What if I choose the suspension period?

Your licence will be suspended for:

  • three months for the first 12 demerit points
  • one month for every four extra points.

What does being suspended mean?

If you are suspended from driving this means you have lost your licence and you must not drive at all during this time. There are no exceptions. For example, you cannot drive to work or to pick up your children. There are very serious penalties for driving while suspended.

You may:

  • be fined
  • have to go to jail
  • have your vehicle impounded (taken away) for 30 days.

What if I choose to extend my demerit point period but then get more points?

If you choose to keep your licence and then get another demerit point or have your licence suspended or cancelled for another offence during the extended 12-month period you get your licence will be suspended for twice as long as it would have if you had chosen the original suspension.

If your licence is suspended for exceeding demerit points and also for some other offence, both suspensions can be served at the same time.

When are demerit points added to my licence?

Demerit points are added to your licence when VicRoads is notified. For example:

  • when you pay an on-the-spot fine (or when a fine is not paid after the due date)
  • when an interstate road authority notifies VicRoads about a driving offence that happened when you were driving in that state
  • if a court finds you guilty of a driving offence.

Demerit points are counted from the date that the offence allegedly happened, even if they are not recorded by VicRoads until later.

You can check your demerit points and driver history on the VicRoads websiteExternal Link .

When are demerit points removed?

Demerit points will be removed from your licence after you have:

  • served your licence suspension period, or
  • driven for 12 months without getting any more demerit points or having your licence suspended for another offence.

If you have successfully completed the 12-month period without getting any more points, all demerit points on your licence when the option notice was issued will be removed. Any demerit points you got after this will remain on your licence.

Most demerit points expire and are removed from your licence after four years.

Demerit points and other suspensions or cancellations

If you get too many demerit points and also have your licence suspended for another offence, VicRoads will suspend your licence for having too many demerit points. You will not have the option of extending the demerit point period.

Drivers who are unlicensed or from overseas

If you are an unlicensed driver or you hold an overseas licence, you can be disqualified from driving if you get 12 or more demerit points while driving in Victoria.

If you are under 22 years old you can also be disqualified if you get five demerit points or more within any 12 month period.

A disqualification notice will tell you when the disqualification period begins. VicRoads may wait until you return to Victoria before sending this notice.

How do I nominate another driver?

If you were not driving your vehicle when the offence happened you can apply to Fines Victoria to nominate another driverExternal Link . You must apply before you get a notice of final demand.

How do I ask for the fine to be reviewed?

If you don’t believe you should have been fined for the offence that led to the demerit points, you can write to the agency that issued the fine to ask for a review. If the agency withdraws the fine, you won’t get demerit points. The agency cannot review your fine if it was for a drink-driving, drug-driving or excessive speed offence.

You may also be able to seek an enforcement review of the fine from the Director of Fines Victoria. If the director cancels the enforcement of the fine, then any demerit points added to your driver’s licence for that fine must be removed. If the agency decides to issue a charge and summons for the offence, then the points will be added again if you are found guilty in court.

Can I challenge the offence in court?

Unless VicRoads made a mistake when counting up the number of demerit points you have, the only way that you can do something about demerit points is if you decide to plead not guilty and challenge the offence in court.

Demerit points will not be recorded against your licence or permit if the magistrate finds that:

  • you are not guilty
  • the police made some mistake about your charge.

Points will be added if you are found guilty. The number of demerit points you get is set and recorded by VicRoads. Once a decision is made the magistrate has no power over demerit points and they cannot remove demerit points.

You can only appeal if there was a mistake in counting the demerit points. The VicRoads website has more information about the grounds for appealExternal Link . You should get legal advice before you appeal. If you lose the appeal, you might have to pay.

Other support

For more information, support and referrals, visit other support for fines and infringements.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 01 November 2023

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