Negligent Operator Actions
If the DMV charges that you are a negligent operator, you face the loss of your driving privileges. If you are deemed a negligent operator, your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked. San Francisco DMV lawyer David Uthman has extensive experience in defending drivers at DMV Hearings, often getting the charges dismissed. David Uthman has over two decades of experience as an attorney with a practice dedicated to criminal defense and traffic law, as well as almost a decade of experience as a police officer. He is able to fund weaknesses and inconsistencies in Police Reports that can be used to defend drivers at DMV Hearings and in Court.What is a Negligent Operator?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles can declare a licensed driver to be a negligent operator if the driver is assessed too many points on their license within a certain amount of time. Points are assessed for a variety of violations. If you are involved in an accident that is determined to be your fault, you will be assessed one point. You will also generally be assessed one point if you are found guilty of a moving violation, for example, speeding or failing to obey traffic devices. You can be assessed one point for mechanical violations for driving an unsafe vehicle. Some traffic violations, such as reckless driving, driving at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour, or driving with a suspended license, or other criminal traffic violations such as a DUI, will result in two points being placed on your license.Determination of Negligent Operator/Point System
The DMV is required to warn you prior to deeming you a negligent operator. If you receive two points in a one-year period, four points in a two-year period, or six points in a three-year period, the DMV will send you a Level I Negligent Operator Warning letter, advising you that you are in danger of being deemed a negligent operator.
If you are assessed an additional point in that year, bringing the total to three points in a one-year period, five points in a two-year period, or seven points in a three-year period, you will be sent a Level II Intent to Suspend letter by the DMV, notifying you that your license will be suspended.
If you receive an additional point, bringing your total to four points in a one-year period, six points in a two-year period, or eight points in a three-year period, you will receive a Level III Probation/Suspension letter from the DMV. This letter states that within 34 days of the date of the letter, you will be deemed a negligent operator, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months, and your operating privileges will be on probation for one year.
You may request a hearing on your negligent operator designation, but you must do so within 10 days of receiving the Level III Probation/Suspension letter. At the hearing, you may present your defense to the negligent operator designation. You will be presumed to be a negligent operator at the hearing unless proven otherwise. Consulting an experienced traffic attorney who can overcome the presumption of negligence is critical to defending these charges.Negligent Operator Hearing
At your negligent operator hearing, a DMV hearing officer will review your driving record to decide if you should be declared a negligent driver. The hearing officer can only consider evidence of the accuracy of your driving record, any pending traffic violations, whether you were responsible for accidents on your record, or whether alcohol or any medical condition caused any of your violations. A traffic attorney may argue that you were not responsible for an accident on your record due to weather conditions or other factors. Your attorney may identify other circumstances in your defense to prevent a designation of negligent operator.
If the hearing is successful, the DMV will set aside your suspension. They may also place you on negligent operator probation. Probation will prevent any suspension or revocation of your license unless you receive an additional violation. If the DMV is not persuaded that you are not a negligent operator, they will suspend your license. If you drive during the period of the suspension, you may face criminal charges.Review of License Suspension
If you were declared a negligent operator following your hearing, you may still be able to keep your license. You have 15 days from the date of the hearing to request a Departmental Review. Then, the Department of Motor Vehicles will review the hearing record to determine whether the hearing officer made the correct determination in finding you to be a negligent operator. Additionally, you can file a petition for alternative writ of mandate in the California Superior Court to object to a negligent operator designation. The procedures and deadlines for appealing a negligent operator designation are complicated. An experienced traffic lawyer who knows DMV Hearing procedures and has represented clients before DMV Hearing Officers can endure all your rights are preserved and deadlines are met.Consult with an experienced DMV Attorney in the San Francisco Area
David Uthman is regularly successful in helping clients avoid a negligent operator designation. The Uthman Law Office has assisted drivers throughout San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, and Marin Counties. Call us today at 415-556-9200, use our online form, or visit our office for a free consultation.