When you hear the term “earning points,” you probably think it is a good thing, but there is one scenario where earning points is not good for you. That is when you earn points on your driver’s license from the DMV.
You earn points on your driving record when you commit certain driving violations. If you earn too many points, a negligent operator hearing will likely be scheduled with the DMV where you could lose your license. However, an experienced attorney may be able to help you keep your license.
Points and the DMV
The California DMV uses the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) to grade how well you drive. As part of this system, the DMV adds negligent operator points to your driving record whenever you violate certain traffic laws (such as speeding) and when you commit a crime using a vehicle (such as DUI or hit and run). Depending on the severity of the violation, you generally receive one or two points for each violation.
You can think of NOTS as a pyramid with four levels:
- Level I: If you accumulate 2 points within 12 months; 4 points within 24 months; or 6 points within 36 months; you will receive a warning from the DMV.
- Level II: If you reach 3 points within 12 months; 5 points within 24 months; or 7 points within 36 months; the DMV will send you a Notice of Intent to Suspend. This is a letter that informs you that at your request, the DMV will hold a hearing to determine if your license should be suspended.
- Level III: If you receive 4 points within 12 months; 6 within 24 months; or 8 within 36 months; the DMV will automatically suspend your license for six months and you will be placed on a one-year probationary period.
- Level IV: If you violate the probation of Level III by receiving another point, failing to appear in court or failing to pay a traffic fine, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for an additional six months and place you on probation for another year. In some cases, the DMV may revoke your license.
The Negligent Operator Hearing
When you reach Level II, you can request a hearing to review your case and potentially stop or delay a suspension of your license. If you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, your chances at obtaining a favorable outcome at that hearing will improve significantly.
A Negligent Operator Hearing is an administrative hearing that functions similarly to a criminal trial. You are allowed to be represented by an attorney, present evidence and call witnesses. However, unlike a criminal trial, the DMV Hearing Officer need only find it more likely than not that you are a negligent operator. You will be presumed to be a negligent operator, which means you will have to fight against that presumption by showing evidence that you are not.
At your hearing, your attorney can present evidence to show that you were not responsible for any accidents on your record or there were factors beyond your control that led to any violations on your record. For example, you may have been cited for an unsafe lane change while avoiding another driver. These factors might be enough to persuade the hearing officer that you do not deserve to have your license suspended.
You can also assert other mitigating circumstances, such as the fact that you live in densely populated areas where accidents frequently happen, or that you spend more time on the road than the average driver and therefore are more likely to be put into situations where driving violations happen. These factors may not eliminate punishment, but they could lead to more lenient consequences, such as a restricted license or DMV probation.
Contact the DMV Hearing Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
In southern California, it is almost necessary to be able to drive. That is why it is important that you consider hiring an attorney to represent you at a DMV negligent operator hearing. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have been successfully helping clients at DMV hearings for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.