Good Behaviour Licences in NSW - Avoiding Suspension

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This article was written by Cara Maynard - Senior Associate – Canberra

Before joining the team at Armstrong Legal, Cara worked as a DNA expert preparing and giving DNA evidence in criminal trials. In this role she liaised with police, DPP and defence practitioner regarding a variety of matters including DNA transfer, deposition and recovery. Cara has reviewed and interpreted thousands of DNA profiles that were reported as intelligence to the NSW...

Good Behaviour Licence


Transport for New South Wales is responsible for the administration of driver licences in NSW. The agency has, amongst a wide variety of other powers, the power to issue, renew, cancel and suspend driver licences. It also has the power to issue a Good Behaviour Licence when a driver exceeds the maximum demerit points.

A licence can be suspended by Transport NSW if a driver exceeds their demerit point limit within a three-year period. Where a Learner or Provisional Licence holder receives a notice of suspension for exceeding their threshold demerit point limit, they have an automatic appeal of right to the court to review the decision of Transport NSW.

In contrast, full licence holders do not have the same right of appeal and instead have the option to elect to go on a ‘Good Behaviour Licence’ when the licence holder exceeds 13 demerit points (14 demerit points in the case of a professional driver). The election must be made prior to the commencement of the suspension and cannot be withdrawn after the election is made. A Good Behaviour Licence is in place for a period of 12 months.

It is a criminal offence to Drive While Suspended with the maximum penalties including jail sentences and further licence disqualifications.

Do I Have To Go To Court To Get A Good Behaviour Licence?

No, the application can be made online through the Service for NSW website or at a service centre. You will need your driver licence details and a copy of your notice of suspension. The notice of suspension also contains information about how to elect to hold a Good Behaviour Licence, where such an election is available to the licence holder.

Good Behaviour Licences are not available for a Learner, Provisional or International licence holders or to a driver who has been suspended due to a criminal offence, and the matter is to be determined at court.

Conditions Of A Good Behaviour Licence

The conditions are simple – don’t accrue two or more demerit points during the licence period (12 months).

What Happens If I Breach My Good Behaviour Licence?

If a Good Behaviour Licence is breached, for example by committing a mobile phone offence, speeding offence or red light camera offence and incurring 2 or more demerit points, you will be suspended from driving for twice the original suspension period. It is important to note that an offence committed within the Good Behaviour period, but not paid until the Good Behaviour period has finished, is still a breach of the Good Behaviour Licence. There is also no option for appeal against a suspension for breaching a Good Behaviour Licence.

The original suspension period and breach suspension period are calculated by the number of demerit points accrued:

Demerit Points AccruedOriginal SuspensionSuspension if Good Behaviour Licence Breached
13 to 15 points3 months6 months
16 to 19 points4 months8 months
20+ points5 months20 months

Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Avoid A Suspension?

The only way to avoid being suspended for breaching your Good Behaviour Licence) is by making a court election on the relevant traffic infringement(s). A court election means that the traffic infringement will be dealt with by the court sitting in its criminal jurisdiction.

When your matter is before the court, you will need to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty and are acquitted, receive the benefit of a non-conviction order no demerit points will be accrued for the traffic infringement, and your demerit point limit or Good Behaviour Licence won’t be breached.

There are consequences for making a court election, including the potential for increased fines and the recording of traffic infringements on your criminal record. Before you make a court election you should seek legal advice. Please contact Armstrong Legal.

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