Navigating the complexities of the CA DMV's negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) hearing can be challenging. However, with the right approach, drivers can effectively manage and potentially reduce points on their motor vehicle driving record (MVR) to avoid suspension and probation.
In this blog post, we offer insights into how the NOTS system works and highlight the importance of having expert legal representation during a NOTS hearing.
Understanding the NOTS Point System in CA
The DMV uses the NOTS system to monitor and possibly suspend driving privileges based on the point system authorized by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 12810, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses.
For each conviction of a minor infraction or an at-fault accident where the driver was determined to be more than zero percent responsible for the crash, one NOTS point is assessed.
For major infractions, such as speeding 100+ mph, misdemeanors, and felonies, the DMV assesses two NOTS points.
The DMV tracks your point accumulation and issues warnings and notices along the way:
Level I: This warning is initiated when drivers accumulate 2 points within twelve months, 4 points within twenty-four months, or 6 points in thirty-six months. At this level, NOTS sends the driver a warning letter.
Level II: Here, drivers face a sterner reprimand. They reach this level with 3 points in twelve months, 5 points in twenty-four months, or 7 points in thirty-six months. Alongside the “Notice of Intent to Suspend,” the DMV also informs the driver about the provision of a NOTS hearing.
Level III: This is a more severe level, reached at 4 points within twelve months, 6 points within twenty-four months, or 8 points in thirty-six months. The DMV notifies the driver of their designation as a “prima facie”negligent operator and issues a provisional suspension of the driving privilege at this stage.
Level IV: This isn't about point accumulation but focuses on penalties for violating Level III restrictions. For instance, committing another violation or failing to appear in court can lead to an additional suspension/probation. Typically, the DMV orders suspension and probation for six and twelve months, respectively, served concurrently.
“Prima facie is Latin for ‘at first sight.’ Prima facie may be used as an adjective meaning ‘sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted.’”—Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII) WEX Page.
Therefore, the DMV assumption that the driver is a “negligent operator” can be rebutted during a DMV NOTS hearing.
It's essential to understand that the most crucial window of opportunity lies in the Level II phase. Here, drivers can influence their driving behavior to avoid further NOTS points through more careful driving and by using a traffic ticket attorney when they get a traffic ticket for a moving violation.
Preparing for Your NOTS Hearing
A NOTS hearing operates much like a trial, adhering to the Administrative Procedure Act, with evidence presentation, objections, and legal rules:
- The Hearing Officer acts as the judge and jury, examining the evidence presented.
- During a NOTS hearing, the primary focus is to review the driver's record and determine if the negligent operator classification is justified.
- Any DMV action post-hearing, such as license revocation or suspension, must be backed by substantial evidence.
In essence, a NOTS hearing offers an invaluable opportunity to present one's case and potentially avert a potential suspension and probation.
The Advantage of Hiring a Traffic Attorney
The intricacies of legal proceedings, especially during a NOTS hearing, can be formidable.
Many individuals avoid seeking legal help due to fears of complex jargon and potential misunderstandings.
We recognize these apprehensions. With our experience in traffic law, we demystify the process, providing clear, understandable guidance. By hiring us, you can gain clarity and significantly increase your chances of a favorable outcome at your NOTS hearing.
Protecting your driving privilege is paramount, and we're here to assist you every step of the way.
However, you must request your NOTS hearing immediately, as you only have ten days after receiving the Order of Suspension and Probation.
“Hearings must be requested within 10 days of receiving notice or 14 days from the date of the notice if the notice was mailed. Failure to make a request within this window will result in a forfeiture of your hearing rights.” The CA DMV.
If the deadline to request a hearing is miss, we still maybe able to get the driver an interview with the DMV to prevent or shorten the license suspension. However, the sooner the better offers the best chance of getting a hearing. There is no guarantee that the DMV will stop the suspension from going through while waiting on the hearing date.
Consult Bigger & Harman About a DMV NOTS Hearing to Avoid a Suspended License Possibly
Call Bigger & Harman in Bakersfield at (661) 349-9300 when you are scheduled for a DMV NOTS in Lamont in Kern County, CA. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The CA DMV NOTS Portal.
Cornell Law School LII WEX Definitions: Prima Facie.