In NSW, drivers who hold a full licence and have exceeded their maximum demerit points can apply for a good behaviour licence for 12 months to avoid a driving suspension. A good behaviour licence is a more suitable alternative than receiving a lengthy licence suspension. But what happens if you breach the conditions of the good behaviour licence? Conditions must be adhered to, and if you commit another traffic offence, it may result in doubling your original suspension period. Find out more about the good behaviour licence in NSW, what happens if you breach the agreement and the consequences.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is A Good Behaviour Licence In NSW?In New South Wales, if you risk having your licence suspended due to exceeding your demerit points, a more suitable alternative is available for eligible drivers. The Road Transport Act NSW 2013 contains a clause that allows full licence holders who have exceeded their maximum demerit points to apply for a good behaviour licence for 12 months to avoid a driving suspension. This can benefit individuals who need a driver’s licence for work purposes. Couriers, taxi drivers and transport workers, for example. A good behaviour licence lasts for 12 months, and during that period, you are not permitted to accrue more than two demerit points, or you will breach the licence and risk receiving severe penalties. Provisional or Learner driver licence holders have an automatic appeal of right to the court if they receive a notice of suspension, which can review the Transport NSW decision. Drivers with a full licence do not have the same option and can only opt for a good behaviour licence.
Who Is Eligible?Good behaviour licences are available to any of the following people;
- Individuals holding full driver’s licences
- Individuals who have exceeded their maximum demerit point limit
- Drivers who have not commenced their period of suspension.
Who Is Not Eligible To Apply For A Good Behaviour Licence?A good behaviour licence is only available to anyone holding a full or unrestricted driver licence in NSW. If you have any of the following licences; Provisional, learner or international, you are not permitted to apply and must have your matter determined in court.
Is It Possible To Obtain A Work Or Restricted Licence?If you have been suspended from driving for breaching your good behaviour period, there is no other alternative; you can not drive. No restricted or work licence is available, as those licences don’t exist. If you drive whilst your licence is suspended, you risk heavy penalties, such as fines, disqualifications, charges and possibly a criminal conviction.
How Do You Apply?If you decide to apply for a good behaviour licence, you must make your application before your suspension begins. In some circumstances, you may be required to complete a driver knowledge test. The penalty notice will contain information about how to apply for a good behaviour licence and where to apply. There is no need to attend court, as you can make an application through Service NSW or online through the Roads and Maritime Services – RMS website. When making your application, you must also provide your current NSW driver licence details and a copy of your notice of suspension.
Demerit Points In NSWIn New South Wales, an unrestricted licence holder can only acquire 13 demerit points over three years. You will receive a notice of suspension if you exceed the demerit point limit. You accrue points when you commit traffic offences. You will receive a penalty or infringement notice stating how many demerits your offence accumulated. For example, exceeding the speed limit in NSW by 10 kilometres/hour will accrue one demerit point. The more excessive the speed or offence, the higher the number of accrued points. With only 13 points permitted over three years, it can be very easy to exceed the limit.
What Happens To Your Demerit Points?Generally, your points will take three years to reset after having been incurred. But after completing a 12 month good behaviour period, the situation is a bit different. The road transport act states that all demerit points are deleted on the date of the suspension of the licence or at the completion of the good behaviour period.
What Happens If You Breach A Good Behaviour Licence?Breaching a good behaviour period occurs when someone does not abide by the conditions or terms attached to the agreement. A good behaviour licence requires you to refrain from accruing two or more demerit points during the 12 month good behaviour period. Which could occur by committing an offence such as; speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving, or a red light camera offence. If you incur two or more points whilst on a good behaviour licence, you will be suspended for double the original period. Suspension periods will differ depending on the number of demerit points accrued. For example, the original suspension period is five months if you have more than 20 demerit points. But if you breach your good behaviour licence, the breach suspension period becomes ten months. Essentially the more points accrued, the longer the suspension period. If you receive a traffic notice and pay the fine immediately, your licence will be suspended. If you wish to avoid a suspension, you should seek advice from an experienced traffic lawyer before paying the fine. They may be able to prevent the points from being incurred by seeking a review or taking the matter to court.
How Can You Avoid A Suspension?If you are on a good behaviour licence, have committed a traffic offence, and do not want to have your licence suspended, you have two options; Request a review with RMS or have the penalty notice deemed in the court.
Request A Review With RMSIf the penalty notice was issued incorrectly or you have particular circumstances, you can request a review with the RMS. You should explain your circumstances and why you seek leniency from paying the fine. It would be best if you supplied as much supporting documentation as possible. Details about requesting a review will appear on your penalty notice. The RMS will advise whether the penalty is waived and the reasons for the cancellation, if applicable.
Have The Penalty Notice Determined In CourtIf you have a good behaviour licence and have committed a traffic offence, you may opt to go to a local court to avoid having your licence suspended. You can file your case at your local court registry. You will need to enter a guilty or not guilty plea to the offence. If you did not commit the offence and elect to go to court and contest the penalty notice. Your case will be filed for a hearing, and if you are found not guilty, the court will waive the penalty. You will not have breached your licence and will not incur a suspension.
What To Consider If You Elect To Go To Court?Before you decide to make a court election, you must be aware of the consequences involved and the potential for increased fines, suspension and infringements appearing on your criminal history. If you go to court and decide to plead guilty with an explanation, there are circumstances that the court will consider, which may include;
- Nature of the offence and reasons why it was committed
- Current circumstances and why a licence is necessary
- Traffic record
- How long have you had the good behaviour licence
- Completion of a traffic offenders program