Demerit points are a form of penalty that, in addition to fines, may be imposed for a range of traffic offences. The number of demerit points that are imposed will be dependent on the offence, and an accumulation of too many demerit points will result in the suspension of your driver’s licence. A list of offences and their allocated demerit points penalty can be accessed in the Department of Transport’s Drive Safe Handbook.
The imposition of demerit points can vary anywhere from one to six points depending on the type of traffic offence, except during long weekends and holiday seasons when the allocated demerit points are doubled. The Department of Transport allows you to check how many demerit points you have accumulated online through its Driver’s Demerit Points Enquiry page.
A person who accrues 12 or more demerit points within a three year period is liable to be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence. The length of this disqualification period is determined according to the number of points accrued within the three year period.
The relevant disqualification periods of accrued demerit points are as follows:
- the accrual of 12 to 15 demerit points attracts a disqualification period of three months;
- the accrual of 16 to 19 demerit points attracts a disqualification period of four months; and
- the accrual of 20 or more demerit points attracts a disqualification period of five months.
Once the disqualification period has ended your demerit point tally will revert to zero.
‘DOUBLE OR NOTHING’
Some drivers who accumulate 12 or more demerit points within a three year period are eligible for ‘Double or Nothing’. This is where a driver elects to undertake a good behaviour period of 12 months. By electing the ‘Double or Nothing’ option a person commits to driving for this 12 month period without committing any further traffic offences that attract demerit points. If a driver accrues more than one demerit point during this good behaviour period, they will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for double the original disqualification period. Additional information regarding ‘Double or Nothing’ can be found in the Department of Transport’s ‘Double or Nothing’ Fact Sheet.
DRUNK DRIVING & THE DEMERIT SYSTEM IN WA
Drunk driving is a traffic offence which attracts the imposition of demerit points. The number of demerit points imposed for the offence will vary depending on the driver’s ‘Blood Alcohol Content’ (BAC). The Western Australia Police have compiled a table which outlines how many demerit points are allocated for different levels of BAC. A level of 0.08 or more will result in an immediate suspension of your licence.
While drunk driving offences are very common it is still recommended that you contact one of our lawyers, specialising in drunk driving charges, for a free legal consultation.
DRIVING WITH BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT OF OR ABOVE 0.08
If you have a blood alcohol content greater than 0.079 you will be required to attend court and be sentenced by a Magistrate who will make a penalty determination. The court penalties associated with drink driving can be viewed on the Western Australia Police’s website. Where a driver is being sentenced for a second or subsequent offence of drink driving, the penalties imposed will be more severe.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL (DUI)
This category is the most serious of all drunk driving offences. The courts view this offence as very serious and individuals charged with this offence face severe penalties because they are a risk to society.
If you have a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more you will be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. You will be deemed to be a drunk driver. This offence attracts a disqualification period of not less than 10 months and the imposition of a fine up to $2,500.
Second and subsequent offences of driving under the influence of alcohol attract more severe penalties. A second offence will attract a disqualification period of not less than 30 months in addition to the imposition of a fine up to $3,500 or to imprisonment for nine months. A third or subsequent offence will result in the driver being permanently disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence in addition to the imposition of a fine up to $5,000 or to imprisonment for 18 months.
If you are convicted of drunk driving before a Magistrate, the conviction will appear on your criminal record. If you have received a summons or a Notice to Appear in Court in relation to a drunk driving charge it is highly recommended that you contact Lawson Legal for a free legal consultation.