Anyone can be pulled up for driving issues, and even good drivers can discover that they have accumulated sufficient demerit points to put their licence in peril of suspension.

But functioning without a driver’s licence is just not a viable option for many of us – work, family, many important things depend on transportation. The other choice, driving with a suspended license, can have serious legal consequences. Fortunately, there is a third option for many drivers.

Subject to some qualifications, drivers in NSW who have too many demerit points may be able to apply for a 12-month good behaviour licence and thus earn their way back to an unrestricted permit.

What is a good behaviour licence?

If you hold an unrestricted licence, but have accumulated 13 or more demerit points during a three year period and have had your licence suspended, you may be able to apply to the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) for a good behaviour licence. The licence runs for a 12-month period during which you may accumulate only 2 additional demerit points.

You must apply to elect a good behaviour period before your suspension is due to begin, and once you apply you cannot withdraw your election. You also cannot convert an existing suspension into a good behaviour licence.

If you have been notified that you must pass a driver knowledge test, your licence will be suspended until you pass the test.

Double or nothing

There is a risk, nonetheless. If you accumulate more than two demerit points during the good behaviour period, your license will be suspended for twice the length of the original suspension.

For example, if your permit was originally suspended because you had accumulated 13 demerit points within a three year period and the original suspension period was for three months, your suspension on failure of good behaviour will be six months. If your original suspension period was five months because you had accumulated 20 or more demerit points prior to the original suspension, your new suspension period will be ten months.

If extraordinary circumstances were somehow involved in your accumulation of demerit points during the good behaviour period, you can challenge the traffic offence (but not the re-suspension) by electing to have the matter heard in Court. This appeal to the court will present several additional choices, and you should consider pursuing this route only with the assistance of experienced legal counsel.

How to apply for a good behaviour licence

To be perfectly clear, you may not choose the good behaviour option if you hold a provisional or learner licence, or if you are already serving a good behaviour probationary period.

If there are two or more business days left before your suspension period is to begin, you may apply online through your MyServiceNSW Account. If your election is successful, you will be issued a digital receipt. Print and save this receipt until your formal letter of confirmation arrives in the mail within 14 business days

If there are fewer than two business days remaining, you must visit a service centre or motor registry. Whether you apply online or in person, you will need your driver licence and your notice of suspension letter.

The attorneys at Owen Hodge Lawyers would be happy to answer any further questions you may have about the suspension of your driving licence or the option of a good behaviour licence, especially if your situation is complicated by personal or other legal factors. We understand how essential your licence is to your ability to work and carry out responsibilities to family and the others who depend on you. Because you may choose the good behaviour option is only within a limited period of time, please call us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780. Do not delay.