Penalty Points, Fixed Charges and Driving Bans
Encouraging good road user behaviour is important and Ireland has adopted a system of penalty points to support this change. This system is a key part of road safety policy in this country, and is designed to save lives.
If you break the law, there's a price to be paid. The system will record your failure and the penalty on your driver licence record. For minor offences, the penalty is a sum of money, a fixed charge, and points that attach to your licence record: penalty points. For more serious offences you may be brought to court. The system applies to both full and provisional licence holders.
If you break the law and are caught, you will be fined and you will build up penalty points.
If you collect 12 points in 36 months, you will be banned from driving.
This section describes how penalty points and fixed charges work and outlines the points and charges that apply to road traffic offences. For a list of all current penalty point offences and fixed charges, see:-
Appendix 4 or www.penaltypoints.ie.
The penalty points system covers offences that relate to road safety. Offences can be detected either:
- by Gardai directly, or
- in the case of speeding, safety cameras.
If a Garda stops you for committing an offence
- You must show your driving licence and give your name and address, if asked.
- You will receive a fixed charge notice by post.
- You have the choice to pay the fixed charge within the time allowed or let the matter go to court.
- Penalty points will be applied to your licence record, either when you pay the charge or if convicted of the offence in court.
If your vehicle is recorded breaking the speed limit
- If you are the registered owner of the vehicle, you will receive the fixed charge notice.
- If you were not driving the vehicle when the offence took place, you must give the Garda. the name and address of the driver of your vehicle within 28 days. If you do, the named driver will receive the fixed charge notice. If you don't, you will be assumed to be the driver of the vehicle when the offence took place.
- Penalty points will be applied to the driver's licence record either when the charge is paid or when the driver is convicted of the offence in court.
Most penalty point offences attract a fixed charge. Some offences will result in a mandatory court appearance without the option of paying a fixed charge.
For more information on penalty points, visit the penalty point website www.penaltypoints.ie.
Fixed charge system
This system applies to many offences, including most of the penalty point offences.
How it works
- You receive a fixed charge notice setting out:
- the details of the offence,
- the fixed charge amount to be paid, and
- where that charge can be paid.
- You have 28 days to pay the fixed charge.
- If you do not pay the charge within this period, it increases by 50%. You then have another 28 days to pay the increased charge.
- If you do not pay it, the matter goes to court.
- If you build up 12 or more penalty points in 36 months:
- you will receive a notice telling you that you have been banned from driving for 6 months from a particular date, and
- you will have to hand in your driving licence to your local motor tax office within 14 days of the start of the driving ban.
- You will be banned from driving if you are convicted in court of an offence such as drink driving, dangerous driving or leaving the scene of a crash. You will be banned from driving as a result of the conviction alone, no matter how many penalty points are on your licence record.
- The courts can issue driving bans for any offences involving vehicles, not just the offences already resulting in automatic bans. The court will decide the period of the ban in each case.
- If you are convicted in court, you may be fined and, in some cases, face a prison term.
It is an offence not to surrender your licence. It is an offence to drive while banned from doing so.