Why demerit point fraud is popular in NSW
With so many speed cameras across NSW, and areas of variable speed limits, it’s relatively easy to get a speeding fine…or two…within the three-year period we have under our demerit point system. There’s the single person without kids, travelling in an unfamiliar area, who momentarily forgets that school zone time kicks in at 2.30pm. The generally responsible driver who misses the sign on a main road dropping the speed from 80 to 70. The driver who cruises through the road work area thinking the 40 limit sign doesn’t apply because there are no road workers present at the time. Then there are the double demerit points on long weekends.
In NSW if an unrestricted driver reaches 13 demerit points, his or her licence may be suspended. For a provisional driver with a P2 licence, it’s just seven demerit points, and for the P1 licence holder, just four points. It’s not hard to see how an occasional lapse of attention could leave a ‘good’ driver on the verge of a suspended licence.
A suspended licence, even for a short period of three to five months is a major inconvenience for the average working person, and a potential disaster for the tradesperson or other worker who travels between clients daily. The parent who ferries the kids to school and sporting activities is also suddenly in dire straits. A suspended licence has the potential to result in loss of employment, a great deal of embarrassment, and plenty of irritation on the home front as others must take over tasks you would normally do. As traffic lawyers, we see plenty of situations where the consequences of loss of licence would have a serious impact on the well-being of an average family.
That potential impact is what makes it so easy for people to decide to engage in ‘demerit point fraud’. You’ve got just one point left when the dreaded fine arrives with four more, courtesy of you missing a speed limit reduction while away on the long weekend. Your partner has plenty of points left though, and it seems a whole lot easier – to both of you – if he or she simply takes the blame, and the demerit points.
This seemingly simple fib is a crime
Unfortunately, as you sign the declaration stating that your partner was driving the car at the time, you’ve knowingly made a false declaration – a criminal offence that can result in a large fine and a criminal conviction, or in serious cases, even a prison term.
If you are on the verge of losing your licence over a traffic matter, whether it’s due to accumulated demerit points or a drink driving offence, it may pay to speak to one of our experienced traffic lawyers. We may be able to assist you to get the best possible outcome in the circumstances.
If you need advice from a criminal defence lawyer, contact one of our criminal law specialists immediately at either our Sydney or our Parramatta offices. We have particular experience in all types of criminal proceedings. Call 1800 NOT GUILTY or fill in our contact form and arrange a free conference with a solicitor today.