Negligent Operator

Are you a negligent operator? It sounds scary, but the DMV can label a driver a negligent operator for a variety of reasons, and the punishment may be severe.

The DMV uses a fairly straightforward point system in determining the status of drivers in California. Negligent driver points are given depending on the severity and type of accident or infraction. If the driver is deemed “at-fault,” 1 point will be gained. If the violation is a misdemeanor, like in a DUI, reckless driving, or hit and run case, 2 points will be gained. For a standard driver with a Class C license, the breakdown is as follows: 4 points in 1 year, 6 points in two years, or 8 points in three years. Any of those will earn the driver the label of negligent operator, and can result in suspension of one’s license.

Commercial drivers have a slightly different scale. Their negligent driver points are accumulated at 1.5 times the rate of that of a class C driver. Where a normal driver receives 2 points, the driver of hazardous materials, an ambulance or bus, or other certificate will earn 3. To take into account the larger volume of miles driven by these license-holders, they are only in violation for 6 points in 1 year, 8 points in 2 years, or 10 points in 3 years.

The one saving grace for drivers is the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) Hearing, which allows drivers to request a hearing from the DMV within 14 days of the mailing the DMV’s Notice to Suspend the Driver’s License. At this hearing, the defendant may have attorney representation and can plead his case. It is a system that factors in the drivers individual circumstances, such as his necessity for maintaining a license, the hardship that would stem from the loss of a license, and any other critical mitigating factor. At the end of the hearing, a judgment will be entered by the hearing officer. These judgments include No Action, probation, restriction, suspension, or even revocation of the license.Some accidents, like one that results in a fatality or serious injury, may result in an automatic suspension, regardless of “points,” or gross negligence. This means that even inattention or misjudgment that causes such a result could lead to a suspended license.

Review of such decision can be requested within 15 days of the decision or by petition for a Writ of Mandamus in the Superior Court within 30 days.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, or their professional license is at risk, contact Attorney Miranda McCroskey for an immediate consultation at (833) 865-6253 or email her at

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