How Do Demerit Points Work in South Australia?
Your driver licence can be disqualified if you accumulate too many demerit points in any 3 year period.
The penalty for most traffic offences in South Australia is the fine specified in an expiation notice. Apart from other penalties that can be imposed, many common traffic offences also result in the assessment of demerit points.
What are demerit points?
When you are convicted of a traffic offense, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles will record a certain number of demerit points against your driver licence. The number of points that applies to each offence is stated in the Motor Vehicles Regulations.
Example of demerit points for common traffic violations include:
- Failing to stop at a red light - 3 points
- Failing to give way at an intersection - 3 points
- Turning at intersection with a “no turn” sign - 2 points
- Failing to use lights at night - 1 point
- Speeding by less than 10 km/h over limit - 2 points
- Speeding by 10 km/h to 20 km/h over limit - 3 points
A substantial number of points (usually 4 to 6) will be recorded for a drink driving conviction. The number depends on the specific offence and, in some circumstances, upon the driver’s blood alcohol concentration.
What happens when I receive demerit points?
Points are only recorded if you are convicted, but the points count against your driving record from the date of the offence. Three years after the offence date, the demerit points recorded for that offence will no longer count against your driving record.
In any three year period beginning with each offence date, if you accumulate at least 12 points, you will be disqualified from driving. The length of a disqualification depends upon the number of points you accumulate within the 3 year period:
12 to 15 points - 3 month disqualification
16 to 19 points - 4 month disqualification
20 or more points - 5 month disqualification
If the Registrar of Motor Vehicles determines that you are disqualified because of demerit points, you will be sent a notice telling you the date on which the disqualification will begin. That date will be about 28 days after the notice is sent to you.
Can I Avoid a Disqualification?
Some drivers are eligible to apply for an undertaking to engage in good driving behaviour for 12 months. If you are granted the undertaking, the disqualification will not take effect. If you receive more than one demerit point within one year after the undertaking begins, however, the length of your disqualification will be doubled.
If you are convicted in court of an offence that carries demerit points, the court has the option of reducing the demerit points that will be recorded, or of ordering that no points be recorded. You will have a better chance of persuading a court to act in your favour if you are represented by a lawyer.