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undefinedBefore you are subjected to a suspension of driving privileges, an understanding of the DMV’s negligent operator points could assist greatly in avoiding that situation. 

When convicted of a traffic violation, which includes paid fines, the DMV is authorized by the CA Assembly and the Governor to ensure accountability. This system, governed by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 12810, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses, prescribes an equitable assessment of negligent operator points to convicted drivers — those who have admitted guilt and paid fines or were found responsible for accidents. But what do these points imply, and how do they impact CA drivers?

The Mechanics of Negligent Operator Points

The DMV issues one negligent operator point for minor infractions and to those found more than 0% responsible for an accident.

On the other hand, major infractions such as speeding beyond 100 mph, misdemeanors like reckless driving, exhibitions of speed, and driving with a suspended license, along with felonies such as a hit and run accident involving injuries or death, are assessed two negligent operator points.

The accumulation of these points can tarnish a driver's record, with a six-month suspension and 12-month probation possible awaiting those who amass four or more points within a year, six within two years, or eight within three years. Such individuals are labeled as “prima facie” negligent operators.

Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII) defines prima facie as: 

“…sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted." Also, as an adverb, which is probably clearer, "…on first appearance but subject to further evidence or information."

Therefore, a DMV hearing could result in the reversal of that “presumption” through a presentation of additional evidence.  

The Prima Facie Negligent Operator Dilemma

A prima facie negligent operator designation implies that the driver is habitually negligent while driving. However, there is a legal loophole. The driver deemed a negligent operator must request (within ten days of the DMV mailing of the notice) and appear before a DMV NOTS hearing.

Engaging a seasoned traffic attorney can be a game-changer, especially when heading into a DMV Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) Hearing.

Traffic attorneys typically have vast experience in traffic court trials and know how to challenge negligent operator points, even when the driver admitted guilt by paying a fine.

By examining the circumstances surrounding each case, including whether accidents should have been accessed a point, if the record was a correct reflection of court convictions, or more points should be allowed for a driver because of their individual driving pattern, a traffic lawyer can change the outcome of a pending suspension. Such interventions can significantly alter the DMV NOTS panel's decision, potentially avoiding a suspension or probation of your driving privileges.

Although not required, employing the services of a traffic attorney can influence the outcome of a DMV NOTS Hearing, paving the way for a favorable resolution.   

Consult with Bigger & Harman When You Have Been Threatened with a Suspended License Due to Too Many Negligent Operator Points

Understanding negligent operator points sometimes requires a law degree. Contact Bigger & Harman at 349-9300 about representing you at a DMV NOTS Hearing.

Call Bigger & Harman in Bakersfield at (661) 349-9300 when you need assistance with a DMV NOTS Hearing in Kern County, CA. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Otherwise, use our convenient-to-use contact form or email


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

The CA DMV Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) Webpage. 

CVC 12810Issuance and Renewal of Licenses.

The Cornell Law School LII definition of Prima Facie.

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