When a person commits a traffic offence in Western Australia, they may have demerit points recorded against them. Some traffic offences can result in up to six demerit points being recorded against the offender. This can be doubled if the offence is committed during a holiday season. Demerit points in Western Australia are governed by the Road Traffic (Authorisation to Drive) Regulations 2014.
If a Western Australian driver reaches or exceeds the number of demerit points that is allowed for their class of licence, they will receive a demerit point suspension. This means they are not allowed to drive for a period of time. A demerit point suspension can only be overturned by having one or more of the offences which led to the suspension removed from their driving record.
Demerit point suspension
Where a person has been licensed to drive under a full licence for more than two years and has received 12 or more demerit points over a three-year period, they may be given a demerit point suspension. This means that their licence has been suspended and they must not drive for a stipulated period of time. The suspension period depends on how many points they have accumulated.
If a person has 12 to 15 points they will be suspended for three months. If they have accrued 16 to 19 points they will be suspended for four months and for 20 points or more they will be suspended for five months.
The driver will be served with an excess demerit point notice and their suspension will start 28 days after they receive the notice.
Different limits apply to novice drivers
A person is classed as a Novice Driver Type 1 until they have held a driver’s licence other than a learner licence for a total of at least one year. The holder of a learner’s permit is also a Novice Driver Type 1. A Novice Driver Type 1 only able to have three demerit points recorded against them. If they accrue more than that, they will be disqualified from driving for at least three months and their licence will be cancelled.
A Novice Driver Type 2 is a person who has held a driver’s licence for more than 12 months but under two years. During that time, they are only able to have seven demerit points recorded against them. If they accrue more than seven points, they will receive a demerit point suspension notice and their licence will be cancelled for a minimum of three months. This means that:
- they are disqualified from driving for that period, and
- they must also pass their theory and practical driver’s licence tests again before they can drive.
Double or nothing option
A person who is on a full licence and reaches or exceeds 12 demerit points in Western Australia, has the ‘double or nothing’ option that allows them to keep their licence. If a person reaches their points limit, they will be served with an Excessive Demerit Points Notice. To take advantage of the double or nothing option, they must choose this option within 21 days of the date they receive the notice.
The double or nothing option means that they undertake to be of good behaviour for a 12-month period, and, if they comply, they do not lose their licence.
Being of good behaviour means that they must not:
- get more than one demerit point, or
- commit any offence that results in disqualification from driving.
Any breach of the good behaviour period means that their licence will be suspended again and this time for double the period that it would have had they not made the election. The driver will also be penalised for the offence or offences which led to them to breaching the good behaviour period, and this may also include an additional period of licence suspension.
If a person wants to choose the ‘double or nothing’ option after exceeding their limit of demerit points in Western Australia, they must lodge an election form, which is included with the Excessive Demerit Point Notice sent to them. The election form can be lodged online, in person or by post to the Department of Transport, GPO Box 8090, Perth BC WA 6849. If it is lodged by post, be sure to call to confirm that they have received and accepted it before you continue to drive.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
WHERE TO NEXT?
Traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.