Demerit Points – How does it work in Queensland?

Demerit Points System

Any person who commits a traffic offence in Australia, faces the risk of demerit points being applied and recorded on your traffic history. In Queensland, drivers do not lose points if we commit a traffic offence. As an alternative, drivers start with zero points, and whenever an individual commits a traffic offence, demerit points will be added to their traffic record. The amount of demerit points added to your traffic history will depend on the type of offence committed. This will apply to:

  • Speeding offences
  • Seatbelt offences
  • Traffic light offences
  • Using mobile phone while driving
  • Other miscellaneous offences

If you hold a Queensland licence and you commit a traffic offence outside of Queensland, demerit points may still be applied to your traffic history as if the offence was committed in Queensland.

Demerit points apply from the date you commit an offence. These points will be recorded on your traffic history when:

  • The fine has been paid or referred to State Penalty Enforcement Registry (SPER) for non-payment
  • A court has convicted you of the offence
  • You have been issued with an order for an interstate offence.

Demerit Points Limit

The type of licence you hold is important to determine the limit of demerit points you can receive. The maximum amount that is applicable for demerit points for each licence type is set out below:

Licence TypeDemerit Point Limit
Learner Licence (L’s)4 points within 1 year
Provisional/Probation Licence (P’s; P1, P2 & P)4 points within 1 year
Open Licence12 points within 3 years
Good Behaviour Licence2 points within 1 year

Losing/Exceeding Demerit Point Limit

Open Licence

If you have 12 or more demerit points within a 3-year period on your open licence, you will be sent a notice to choose either:

  1. Licence suspended for a certain; or
  2. Serve a good driving behaviour period

1. Suspended Licence

If you decide to have your licence suspended, it is generally for 3 months, but it can be up to 5 months if you have received more than 20 demerit points. If you do not comply with this suspension and have been caught driving, you will be charged with unlicensed driving and be required to appear in court.

2. Good Driving Behaviour Period

If you decide to choose a good driving behaviour period by the due date, you will then be subject to the requirements for 1 year. There are no restrictions on your driving, however you must not receive more than 1 demerit point during that period. If you receive 2 or more demerit points within the 1 year, you will be breaching the good driving behaviour period. You will then have your licence suspended for 6 months or more, depending on how many demerit points you have sustained.

Provisional/Probationary Licence

If you get 4 or more demerit points within a 1-year period while holding a Queensland provisional or probationary licence, then you will be sent a notice of ‘Accumulation of demerit points’ to choose either:

  1. Licence suspended for 3 months; or
  2. Continue driving under a good driving behaviour period for 1 year

1. Suspended Licence

If you decide to suspend your licence for 3 months, the suspension period will start from the day you select on the notice. If you are found breaching this suspension by driving, you will be charged with unlicensed driving and will be required to appear in court.

2. Good Driving Behaviour Period

Choosing this option means that you will continue to drive under a good driving behaviour period for 1 year and you can keep your current licence. If you receive 2 or more demerit points for offences committed during this period, your licence will then be suspended for 6 months.

Learner Licence

If you hold a Queensland class C learner licence and get 4 or more demerit points within 1 year, your licence will be suspended for 3 months. You will not be required to hand in your driver licence, and you will not have an option of a good driving behaviour period. You will be subject to a licence suspension which will start on the date advised on the notice.

If you are wanting to start your suspension earlier than what is stated on the notice, you must complete the relevant section on the ‘Accumulation of demerit points – notice of driver licence suspension’. You can either provide this notice:

  • By mail:
    • Department of Transport and Main Roads
    • Locked Bag 4100
    • Fortitude Valley Qld 4006

Driving while Licence Suspended through Allocation of Demerit Points

If you drive while your licence has been suspended, then you will be charged with unlicensed driving, with the circumstance of aggravation that it was through the allocation of demerit points. You will be required to appear in court and upon conviction the court will:

  • Disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driver licence for 6 months
  • Impose a fine of up to $5,500 or up to one year imprisonment

Once you suspension has ended, if your licence has:

  • Has not expired – it will be reinstated automatically
  • Has expired – you will need to renew it before driving again
  • Has been cancelled or suspended for any other reason – you must not drive

If your licence was disqualified by the court because you drove while it had been suspended, you will be required to attend the Department of Transport and be re-issued your licence before you drive.

Read about when double demerit points apply here

This post contains general advice only and is not intended as legal advice.