Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to defend a client whose commercial driver license was in jeopardy of being suspended for one year because the Department of Motor Vehicles had identified him as a Negligent Operator. The department’s computer database was reporting that he had accumulated a total of 7.5 violation points in an eighteen-month period. The number had been achieved as a result of two out of state speeding tickets, one out-of-state stop sign violation and three equipment violations.
At the time all of these points were accumulated, he was living and working in the State of Texas. During that time, he was employed by a construction company with a horrible record of maintaining their trucks. When our Client moved from the State of Texas to the State of California, he applied for and was issued a Commercial Class “A” license. What he didn’t know was that just months later, his driving record from Texas would transfer to California and that California would now label him as a Negligent Operator.
As a commercial truck driver, our client’s livelihood is based upon his ability to operate a tractor-trailer combination to transport building materials from the City of Norwalk to Las Vegas. Our client’s income was based upon his ability to drive an average of 140,000 miles per year and as the father of two young daughters, several people rely upon his ability to drive.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. Under California Vehicle Code section 13953, the DMV is empowered to immediately suspend or revoke the driving privilege of any person who drives in a manner that is unsafe for himself or other persons on the roadway. Vehicle Code section 12810.5 identifies the maximum number of NOTS points a driver may accumulate in a given period of time. If that maximum number is exceeded, the DMV presumes the driver to be negligent and the process to suspend or revoke the driver license is initiated.
It is also important to note that commercial drivers accumulate points at 1.5 times the rate of a passenger car driver. So, a speeding ticket is a one-point violation for the average Class “C” driver, where the same speeding ticket accounts for 1.5 violation points for the Class “A” driver.
Furthermore, the Vehicle Code can vary tremendously from state to state and point counts can be different.
Based on our Client’s accumulation of points for his out-of-state driving, it was the DMV’s goal to remove him from the road unless we could convince the department he was not negligent.
Our Defense: When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to schedule his Negligent Operator Hearing at the Driver Safety Office in the City of Commerce. We also immediately requested and were granted a “Stay of Suspension” which stopped the intended suspension of his driver license until the conclusion of our hearing. This permitted our client to continue driving commercial vehicles while we prepared to fight his case.
Early in our investigation, we learned that our client’s driving history had been remarkably clean for years. Also, while interviewing our client, we learned that he did not possess any endorsements for hauling hazardous material or passengers. This is important because any Commercial Driver who does not haul Hazardous Material or Passengers may have their maximum point allowance increased, if certain criteria are met.
Through our investigation, we also learned that the Texas had inappropriately applied multiple points to our Client’s driving record from a single event. While that may be appropriate in the State of Texas, that violates the law here.
At the hearing, we introduced our client’s testimony in which he accepted responsibility for his poor driving behavior. We also argued that not only was our Client entitled to a higher point accumulation that an average Class “C” driver, but he also was not negligent because the Texas DMV had incorrectly assessed the actual number of points on his record. This immediately defeated the DMV’s case and we won.
At the conclusion of the Negligent Operator Hearing, the hearing officer completely agreed with our argument and took the extraordinary act of “Setting Aside” the allegation on the spot.
We were able to save our client’s commercial driving privilege and he is safely driving our highways today.
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The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates include former police officers, DMV Hearing Officers, Investigators and Scientists. Our training, our experience and our reputation provide any driver the best opportunity to win their Administrative Hearing. Whatever legal or scientific defense your case requires, CDA is ready to fight for you.