Demerit points

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Demerit points

You will get one or more demerit points for some driving offences. The points are recorded against a drivers licence or permit. The demerit points system aims to encourage drivers to drive safely.  

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

VicRoads looks after the demerit points system, not the courts or the police. The VicRoads website has a list of demerit point offences.

Limits for demerit points

There are different limits for how many demerit points you can accumulate before you risk having your licence suspended. This depends 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.

If you get any more demerit points, VicRoads will send you a demerit point option notice.

Demerit point option notice

A demerit point option notice is a letter that sets out two options for you to choose from:

  • accept your licence suspension and stop driving for the suspension period, or
  • keep your licence or permit but do not get any more points (or lose your licence for any reason) for the next 12 months.

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 notice.

Suspension period

Your licence will be suspended for:

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

If you lose your licence 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.

If you keep your licence but then get more points

If you choose to keep your licence and during the extended 12-month period you get:

  • another demerit point or
  • have your licence suspended or cancelled for another offence,

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 your 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.

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

Drivers from overseas and drivers who are unlicensed can be disqualified from driving if they get 12 or more demerit points while they are driving in Victoria.

If the driver is under 22 years old they can also be disqualified if they get five demerit points or more within any 12 month period.

The disqualification notice tells the driver when the disqualification period begins. VicRoads may wait until the driver returns to Victoria before sending this notice.

Nominate another driver

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

Getting the fine 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. It may also be possible 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 then decides to issue a charge and summons for the offence, then the points will be added again if you are found guilty of the offence in court.

Challenging 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.

The 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. Once a decision is made the magistrate has no power over demerit points. The number of demerit points you get is set and recorded by VicRoads.

For example, the number of demerit points for a speeding charge depends on your speed. You could get between one and three demerit points for driving offences involving speeds of up to 25km/hour over the speed limit. If the magistrate decides that your speed was less than what your charge sheet says, you could get fewer points added to your licence.

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

Get help

Find out how you can get help with traffic offences.

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