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Double Demerits in New South Wales – Traffic Offences That Carry Heightened Penalties in NSW

If you’ve been charged with a traffic offence in NSW or are concerned about the potential consequences, this blog is designed to provide you with valuable information on how double demerits work in NSW. We’ll take a look at a handful of traffic offences and shed light on specific violations that attract double demerit points. Understanding these offences and their heightened penalties is crucial for anyone navigating the criminal justice system.

Repute Law is one of Australia’s premier criminal law firms, specialising in providing expert legal assistance for traffic offences. With our unmatched experience, we can guide you through the intricacies of the legal system, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

What is Double Demerits?

Traffic offences can have serious consequences, ranging from hefty fines to licence suspensions and even imprisonment. To further deter risky driving behaviour and encourage safe driving, Transport for New South Wales and the NSW police have created a double demerits enforcement road safety campaign.

The system applies during specific holiday periods, such as long weekends and festive seasons, when traffic volumes and the likelihood of accidents increase. This means that if a driver commits a traffic violation such as speeding, using a mobile phone while driving or not wearing a seatbelt during a double demerit period, they will receive double the usual number of demerit points on their licence. The initiative aims to promote safer roads by imposing additional double demerit points for certain traffic offences committed during these periods.

When Do Double Demerits Start in NSW?

In New South Wales, double demerit periods are enforced during holiday periods and the days around them. Here are the key NSW double demerit dates for 2024:

Easter 28th March to 1st April
Anzac Day 24th April to 28th April
King´s Birthday 7th June to 10th June
Labour Day 4th October to 7th October
Christmas and New Year 20th December 2024 to 1st January 2025

Do Double Demerits Apply To All Offences?

Some of the most common traffic offences that attract double demerit points can be found on the NSW Government website (Double Demerits) and are listed under the Road Rules 2014. They include:

  1. Speeding: Exceeding the speed limit is not only dangerous but also carries increased penalties during double demerit periods and up to eight demerit points can be imposed. In a number of cases in NSW, the Court has supported the imposition of double demerits for speeding violations, stressing the significance of deterrence in preventing accidents resulting from excessive speed.
  2. Seatbelt and child restraint violations: Failure to wear a seatbelt or properly secure a child can lead to tragic consequences. To combat such negligence, double demerit points are applied to these offences.
  3. Mobile phone use while driving: In an era dominated by smartphones, distracted driving poses a significant risk. Using a mobile phone while driving is another double demerit offence, attracting up to ten double demerit points.
  4. Driving under the influence (DUI) or drug offences: Impaired driving puts both the driver and other road users at great risk. During double demerit periods, DUI offences and drug related driving offences carry enhanced penalties.

Understanding the Severity of Different Traffic Offences in NSW

Several factors determine how many points will be doubled. These include the nature of the offence, the type of licence held by the driver, the class of vehicle they drive and the location and severity of the offence. To illustrate this, here are a few examples of offences that are double demerits:

Exceeding the speed limit by 10 km/h or less (full licence) 2 double demerits
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet (lone rider) 3 double demerits
Passenger or driver not wearing a seatbelt 6 double demerits
Using a mobile while driving (full licence) 10 double demerits
Using a mobile while driving (learner or provisional) 10 double demerits

Impact of Double Demerits on Different Licence Holders

The impact of double demerit points offences can vary for different licence holders. Each driver begins with a clean slate of zero demerit points. However, every time a licence holder commits an offence carrying demerit points they are added to their driving record. Once their demerit point limit has been reached, Transport for NSW can suspend or refuse to renew their licence. The limit depends on the type of licence you have:

Learner Licence 4 points
Provisional P1 Licence 4 points
Provisional P2 Licence 7 points
Full Licence 14 points
Full Licence
(Good Behaviour Period)
2 points

Unfortunately for some, the increase in demerit points could potentially mean a loss of licence, leading to disqualification.

What To Do When Charged With A Traffic Offence During The Double Demerits Period

Facing the prospect of a traffic offence charge in New South Wales can be daunting, but you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. Repute Law is your trusted ally in achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

Engage Repute Law at the earliest opportunity, so our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers can promptly gather evidence, interview witnesses and prepare the best possible defence. Our team will negotiate with the police, aiming to minimise reputational loss by seeking to have the charges reduced or even dismissed without going to court. Early representation could mean the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.

More About Double Demerits

Do You Lose or Gain Demerit Points?

You don´t lose demerit points on your driving record, you gain them. All drivers start with zero points and they´re added to when a driver commits certain offences.

If I Exceed My Demerits Limit, How Long Will My Licence Be Suspended?

If you exceed your limit within a three-year period, your licence will be suspended for at least three months. Full licence holders may receive longer suspensions of four or five months depending on how far they´ve exceeded their limit. Meanwhile, learner and provisional drivers will be suspended for three months.

When Do Demerit Points Expire?

Typically, demerit points expire three years from the date the offence is finalised, which is when:

  • You pay the penalty notice or
  • If the Court deals with the matter, the date a conviction for the offence is issued.

Demerit points are active for a period of 40 months, so offences older than this won´t count towards a suspension.

What If I Commit a Traffic Offence In Another State?

If you commit a traffic offence in another state, demerit points may be added to your driving record as if you had committed the offence in your own state or territory. Regardless of where the offence occurred, the demerit points will still be applied and could lead to penalties such as fines, licence suspension or other consequences.

What Is A Good Behaviour Period?

If you have an unrestricted licence and have accumulated more demerit points than your licence allows, you can apply for a 12-month good behaviour period. If approved, you will be given an extra limit of one or two demerit points. However, if you commit a driving offence that incurs this amount or more demerit points within this period, your licence will be suspended for twice the original suspension period.

Note that you must apply for a good behaviour period before your suspension starts.

Tips for Drivers During Double Demerit Periods

During double demerit periods, drivers need to be extra cautious for the safety of other road users and to avoid penalty points. The following tips can help:

  • Plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey to account for increased traffic and potential delays
  • Observe and obey all speed limits
  • Avoid distractions such as using mobile phones or other electronic devices while driving
  • Buckle up and ensure all passengers are wearing seatbelts at all times
  • Take regular breaks to combat fatigue and stay alert behind the wheel
  • Stay informed about road conditions and any potential hazards that could affect your journey
  • If you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transport to avoid drinking under the influence
  • Follow all road rules and traffic signs to ensure a safe and smooth journey.


If you are facing a traffic offence charge, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Repute Law, one of the leading criminal law firms in Australia, is well-versed in the intricacies of double demerit offences. Our team of experienced Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers, supported by Case Concierges® who are lawyers, ensures that every client receives exceptional service tailored to their needs.

Unlike other firms, we are exclusively composed of senior lawyers with vast experience in handling criminal matters. With a dedicated Senior Criminal Defence Lawyer and Case Concierge assigned to your case, we guarantee you’ll be Court Ready® before your day in Court. This unique process to Repute Law ensures there are no surprises during your hearing. We will fight for you to retain your licence.

Contact Repute Law today and let us start helping you right away. Remember, when it comes to traffic offences in NSW, beware of double demerits. But rest assured that Repute Law is here to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.


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