When Your Status Changes
The California Department of Motor Vehicle's Negligent Operator Treatment System keeps tabs on all Californian drivers. Acting as a centralized database of driving records, the system assigns points for driving code violations and accidents and takes action when a driver incurs too many points in a specified period. If you incur four driving points within 12 months, six points within 24 months, or eight points within 36 months, the DMV considers you a negligent operator.
If the DMV has given you a negligent operator status, it will suspend your driving privileges for six months, and you will face a one-year probation. These run concurrently. During the probation period, the DMV can extend your suspension period by six months and your probation by one year if you incur any additional violations. Violations include any collision, any violation as outlined in the Negligent Operator Treatment System, failure to appear at a DMV proceeding or failure to pay a required fine. Drivers under the age of 18 will violate the terms of their probation if they violate their provisional probation or incur any of the above violations.
As you can see, a negligent operator status puts you in a difficult position. Not only will your license be suspended for six months, but you also have to be extremely careful when driving during your probation period. Even something as simple as a fender-bender or having an unsecured load could result in an additional six months of suspension and one more year of probation.
Despite these grave circumstances, you have a right to fight your negligent operator status. To do so, you need to request a hearing with the DMV, in which case the action will be put under review, and you will have a chance to defend yourself. The hearing is your best chance of saving your license. At the hearing, the administrative hearing officer will consider your driving record, evidence, and such factors as:
- Your use of your car. If you clock much more mileage than most people, your likelihood of incurring points increases through no fault of your own.
- Accident liability. If you were hit and weren't liable or partially liable, the accident might not count against you.
- Your efforts toward becoming a better driver.
- Your driving history overall.
If you do not request a hearing, the DMV will suspend your license as per the notice. So, as soon as you receive notice from the DMV regarding your status as a negligent operator, contact an attorney with experience in driving crimes and DMV administrative hearings right away.
Negligent operator status doesn't just keep you from driving while your license is suspended. Prior to reinstatement, you must submit proof of financial responsibility to the DMV. This is also referred to as SR-22 “insurance” or an SR-22 filing. Your current auto insurance provider might offer this, but many do not. There are insurers that specialize in SR-22 filing for those with a negligent operator status or those convicted of a DUI or reckless driving. But, no matter what company you get your proof of financial responsibility from, expect your insurance rates to go up significantly. You must maintain this status for three years after reinstatement, meaning you will be paying higher insurance rates during that time.
If you rely on your car to get to work or are a commercial driver, a negligent operator status could jeopardize your livelihood. Not only will your license be suspended, but you will also face at least one year of probation, during which time you must not incur any more driving points. Your employer will also be notified of your negligent operator status if you drive during your course of employment.
If you find yourself in this position and have received notice from the DMV regarding your negligent operator status, it is worth your time to speak with an attorney about your options. A skilled California criminal defense attorney can help you determine what you can do to fight your status and save your license.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about DMV proceedings, call experienced driving crime defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you fight your status and will defend your rights. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will fight hard for your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.