California’s Negligent Operator Treatment System, and What You Can Do if the DMV Suspends Your License

For many people, decisions by the DMV to suspend their driving privileges are massive and severe penalties. Many people must drive to earn a living, tend to their loved ones and even secure food to eat. Being left without driving as an option could potentially put them in a terrible situation. That’s why, as the state rolls out news law that impact what offenses can cost you “points on your license,” it is important to understand how that points system works, and what you can do if the DMV suspends your license based on those points. One of the first actions you may want to consider taking is to reach out to an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney about your situation.

The most recent change with regard to points relates to marijuana. Back on Jan. 1, 2018, the recreational use of marijuana became legal in California. That same day, another new law went into effect, which made smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana (or marijuana products) illegal for any driver or passenger in a vehicle, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The new law functions somewhat similarly to the state’s “open container” laws regarding alcohol. The penalty for violating this new law is that the DMV will assess negligent operator points for a violation.

With that in mind, you may be asking yourself how exactly the “negligent operator” points system works. The state’s negligent operator treatment system, also known as NOTS, is a program designed to curtail certain driving behaviors. A violation can carry anywhere from 0 to 3 negligent operator points. For example, speeding is generally a one-point violation (although it can be two if you were going more than 100 mph). Failing to yield to a pedestrian is a one-point offense. An unsafe vehicle can also be a one-point violation if it affects operational safety. Therefore, unsafe brakes could be a one-point offense. Driving under the influence and a hit and run are two-point offenses. A major conviction while you are behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle could result in a three-point assessment.

The DMV will issue you a warning letter for 2 points in 12 months, 4 in 24 months or 6 in 26 months. 3 points in 12 months, 5 in 24 months or 7 in 36 months will trigger a “Notice of Intent to Suspend” from the DMV. The threshold where things become extremely severe is at 4 points in 12 months, 6 in 24 months or 8 in 36 months, where the DMV will suspend your driving privileges.

So, what can you do if the DMV declares you to be a negligent operator and suspends your license? The first thing you should consider is contacting an experienced San Francisco DMV defense attorney. Then, you can elect to request a hearing where you can challenge the negligent operator designation. Your defense counsel may have a variety of options for getting your suspension thrown out, depending on the specific facts of your violations and the details of your overall driving record. For example, you may be able to argue as a mitigating circumstance that you were not responsible for one of your violations due to bad weather conditions.

If you’ve received a notice of intent to suspend, or a letter stating that your privileges have been suspended, you should reach out to the San Francisco DMV defense professionals at Uthman Law Office right away. Attorney David Uthman has over 20 years of experience as a litigation attorney and almost a decade of experience as a police officer. We are keenly familiar with the law and the system, and know how to use both for your best possible outcome. Put our knowledge to work for you. Call us today at (415) 556-9200 to schedule your FREE initial consultation to get the help you need.

More blog posts:

The California DMV Has Suspended My License. What Options Do I Have to Get Back on the Road?, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 27, 2018

The Risks You Take When You Handle Your DMV Driver’s License Suspension Case On Your Own Without a San Francisco Attorney, San Francisco Criminal Lawyer Blog, Feb. 16, 2018

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