Offences and penalties Lessons Note

Traffic offences result in penalties including the loss or suspension of your licence, fines, demerit points and licence restrictions (e.g. passenger restrictions). In serious cases, you may be summoned to court - which could result in a prison sentence. Generally, penalties increase with the seriousness of the offence and for subsequent offences.

Demerit points

Demerit points are incurred when committing certain traffic offences in Australia and recorded against your licence. Once you reach a certain limit, which depends on your licence, your licence will be suspended. All demerit offences committed in Australia will apply to your licence.

Some traffic offences (e.g. speeding, or not wearing a motorcycle helmet or seatbelt) incur double demerit points during holiday periods.

The limits are as following:

  • Learner or P1 licence - 4 demerit points.
  • P2 licence - 7 demerit points.
  • Full licence - 13 demerit points

Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders will be suspended for 3 months if they reach their respective demerit point limit.

For full licence holders, the suspension period will depend on the number of accumulated demerit points:

  • 13-15 demerit points = 3 months
  • 16-19 demerit points = 4 months
  • 20+ demerit points = 5 months


Speeding penalties will depend on how much you exceed the speed limit and include fines, demerit points and licence suspension. You will always receive a minimum of 1 demerit point for speeding.

Speeding by:

  • 30-45 km/h will incur at least 5 demerit points, a hefty fine and a lince suspension for at least 3 months.
  • 45 km/h or more will incur at least 6 demerit points, a larger fine and a licence suspension for at suspension for at least 6 months.

If speeding, your licence will be suspended even if your demerit points are less than the demerit point suspension limit.

Furthermore, if the additional demerit points from the speeding offence bring your total to on or over the relevant limit, the suspension period will be longer.

Unlicensed driving

Driving without a licence or letting an unlicensed person drive your vehicle will incur heavy penalties. Unlicensed driving includes the following offences:

  • Driving with an expired licence
  • Driving a vehicle that isn’t permitted for your licence

If you drive while disqualified or with a cancelled or suspended licence - your case will be heard in court and you can face a long disqualification period, heavy fines and up to 18 months in jail.

Other severe offences

For more severe driving offences you may be tried by a court, which can result in you being disqualified from driving for an extended period (up to a lifetime), and/or jail time.

Serious driving offences include reckless speeding, refusing to take a breath test, driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving with a BAC over the legal limit, or not stop

If someone is injured due to your negligent or dangerous driving you can face:

  • heavy fines
  • disqualification
  • up to 7 years in jail for injuring another
  • up to 10 in jail if someone is killed

If there are aggravating circumstances, an additional 4 years may be added to the maximum penalties. Aggravating circumstances include trying to escape police, speeding by more than 45 km/h and having a BAC of at least 0.15.

Street racing

Your vehicle may be impounded on the spot if you’re racing or suspected of having been involved in racing. Police can also suspend and seize your licence to prevent further racing.

If later convicted in courts, your vehicle can be impounded for up to 3 months in addition to heavy fines.

If caught for a second similar offence, your vehicle may be sold. A ‘burnout’ will incur 3 demerit points.


Substantial fines can apply to the vehicle owner when litter is thrown or lost from a vehicle.


Failure to pay a toll will result in administration fees being put on top of your original toll fee.

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