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Negligent Driver

In California, What Is A Negligent Driver?

If the California Department of Motor Vehicles determines that you are a negligent driver, it is usually because you have accumulated too many “points” on your driving record. Points can be assigned for such actions as:

  • Moving violations
  • Accidents
  • Unsafe operation of a motor vehicle (including mechanical violations)
  • Criminal driving offenses

California Vehicle Code violations that equal one point on your record can result from simple infractions such as disobedience to a traffic officer or driving in a bike lane. Two point counts are for more severe infractions of the California Vehicle Code such as reckless driving and DUI.

The DMV may suspend, revoke or put your driving privileges on probation depending on the number of points you have accumulated and over what period of time. For example, you may receive an initial warning letter from the DMV if you accumulate 2 points in a 12-month period, or are convicted of a serious offense such as hit and run.

How Do Points Get on My Driving Record?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles keeps track of drivers’ points through a system called NOTS (Negligent Operator Treatment System) for any driver who is 18 years of age or older. The number of points over a certain time period determines the level of action taken by the DMV:

Level I (Warning Letter)
The California Department of Motor Vehicles will generate a warning letter based on the following:

Point Count Time Period
2 Within12 months
4 Within24 months
6 Within36 months

It is also possible that a warning letter will be sent to a driver when a major conviction is added to the driving record.

Level II (Notice of Intent to Suspend)
The California DMV will issue a Notice of Intent to Suspend letter to a driver when the following occurs:

Point CountTime Period
3Within 12 months
5Within 24 months
7Within 36 months

The Intent to Suspend notice may also be sent to a driver when a major conviction is added to the driving record.

Level III (Probation/Suspension)
The DMV in California will suspend driving privileges and an Order of Probation/Suspension will be sent to the driver under the following conditions:

Point Count Time Period
4Within 12 months
6Within 24 months
8Within 36 months

You must request a negligent operator hearing within 10 days of receiving any of these notices in order to preserve your rights. For example, if you are facing suspension of your driving privileges, the hearing request will postpone the suspension until the hearing can be held.

How We Defend You at a DMV Hearing

What are some of the defense available to you at a DMV hearing on negligent driving? You may be going through a difficult time personally (divorce, death in the family, change in work hours, etc.) that is having an effect on your driving. Our knowledgeable defense attorneys can present this change in circumstances to the hearing officer as a reason for your driving infractions, and demonstrate how this driving is an aberration from your normal driving record. Our defense focuses on convincing the hearing officer that you can and will be a better driver in the future. The hearing officer may consider a more lenient punishment such as probation rather than suspending your driving privileges.

Other defenses may involve proof that a ticket you received was not yours, or that you deserve an excessive mileage allowance because you drive more than the average 12,000 miles per year. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and that is the reason the California DMV has the discretion to suspend driving privileges. We work to get suspensions put aside or reduced to probation whenever possible.

Talk To Us — Don't Go To a DMV Hearing Alone

The loss of a driver’s license and driving privileges is a serious matter than can have a major impact on your life. Consulting with an experienced California DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney at Hoffman & Associates can make a big difference in the outcome of your DMV hearing. It may be possible for the DMV to issue a restricted license instead of an absolute suspension. We offer a office or phone consultation to discuss your case, and our skilled DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 30 years of daily courtroom experience to assist you. Our offices are located in Los Angeles and San Diego, and we also appear regularly in Orange County.