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DMV Win at a Negligent Operator Hearing in San Diego

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Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to defend a client whose driver license had been suspended because the Department of Motor Vehicles had identified him as a Negligent Operator.  Between October 2015 and November 2016, our client had received several citations for moving violations in Central and Southern California.

Because our client had accumulated a total of four points under the Negligent Operator Treatment System within a one-year period, the DMV suspected he was a careless or negligent operator and had summarily suspended his driver license.  Our client was completely unaware of this action until he received notification from his insurance company they would not renew his insurance policy because he license had been suspended.  Our client was completely flabbergasted.  When our client went to a DMV field office to investigate, he was told his license had, in fact, been suspended for 30 days after he failed to respond to a notice that was mailed.  Our client, of course, never received the notice and therefore the DMV suspended his license when they felt he had ignored their notice.

Because our client’s employment was directly tied to his ability to operate a motor vehicle, his financial future was on the line.  In fact, his employer notified him that the loss of his driver license would mean the loss of his job……….. Period!

DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. The department is empowered to be vigilant in the monitoring of any person’s driving record to identify patterns of behavior which may indicate they are not able to safely operate a motor vehicle.  Using an elaborate computer data base, the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) will assign a “point” to a person’s driving record each time they receive a citation for a moving violation; or are involved in an “at fault” traffic collision.

California Vehicle Code section 12810.5 establishes the maximum allowable NOTS point accumulation within specified periods of time.  If a driver’s NOTS point count exceeds the maximum, he or she will be labeled a Negligent Operator by the NOTS computer system and the department will act to suspend that person’s driver license.

Our Defense: When the client retained us, we immediately went to work making a Late Request for Negligent Operator Hearing.  Because the suspension had already gone into effect, the matter was reviewed by the manager of the San Diego Driver Safety Office.  We were able to provide evidence that our client had been completely unaware of the suspension action until alerted by his insurance company.  Based on this, our request for hearing was granted and a hearing date was set.

Early in our investigation, we learned that our client’s driving history had been remarkably clean for years.  We learned that he had, however, experienced a spat of citations occurring within a one-year period.  We also learned, however, that our Client had attended a traffic school to remove one of the accumulated points and had been assured by the driving school that the point would not appear on his driving record.

Through investigation, we learned the driving school had actually mailed the Certificate of Completion to the incorrect court.  Based on this, the point erroneously remained on the driving record thus triggering the Negligent Operator suspension.

After weeks of preparation, we presented our defense before the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Driver Safety Office in San Diego. At the hearing, we introduced items of affirmative evidence to demonstrate what had caused our client to be named a Negligent Operator.  Our client testified with great credibility and accepted full responsibility for his actions.  We also offered proof that the driving school had corrected its error and provided proof that our client had completed the driving course.

At the conclusion of the Negligent Operator Hearing, the hearing officer took the matter under submission.  One week later, we received official notice that the hearing officer had terminated the suspension of our Client’s driver license and had issued an Order of Set Aside.  This completely dismissed the allegation as erroneous.  Essentially, this returned our client to full driving privileges, without restriction and no period of suspension appeared on his record.

We were able to save our client’s driver license and thus he is still employed.


Call CDA Today.  We can reverse the DMV’s action. 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, including commercial drivers, the best opportunity to win their Administrative Hearing.  Whatever legal maneuver or tactic your case requires; we offer you the very best opportunity for victory.

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