The DMV has a system based upon points which are assigned to accidents and convictions that appear on your driving record.
The system of the DMV, for most drivers, age 18 and older, is that the DMV will begin a proceeding against a person's driver license when the driver accumulates the following point totals:
For drivers under 18, the Negligent Operator Points Systems begins when a driver receives two (2) points in twelve months.
How Point are figured by the DMV.
Convictions appearing on a driver record are assigned a point count of 1 to 2 point and in the case of a commercial driver can be as high as 3 points. Most moving violations like speeding are given a point count of 1. Some mechanical violations may count as points if they are safety items and affect the safe operation of a vehicle.
Major violations like drunk driving, speed contest, reckless driving, or hit and run count as 2 points.
Commercial vehicles which are assessed a higher point count. A normal violation that would be one (1) point, counts as 1.5 points. Violations which would be 2 points in a noncommercial vehicle, are 3 points in a commercial vehicle. Consequently commercial drivers can have a higher point count but it is easier to obtain more points.
Traffic accidents in which the driver has some responsibility are assessed one point. If DMV does not have enough information to determine fault, no points are assessed against the driver.
Notice of Intent to Suspend for Negligent Operator
The DMV will mail a notice of intent to suspend if you receive 3 points within 12 months, five points within 24 months and 7 points within 36 months.
Suspension because you are a Negligent Operator
If you are classified as a negligent operator, DMV sends a notice of suspension and probation by mail. The driver then has 14 days from the date of the notice to request a hearing. The DMV is very strict about this time limit and will routinely refuse a hearing unless there is a showing of good cause for failing to make a timely request to DMV. At the hearing, a Hearing Officer will review your driving record. You will be allowed to present evidence. Finally, the Hearing Officer will issue a decision after all evidence has been reviewed.
If you fail to request a hearing, the DMV will impose a six month suspension. The DMV will also impose probation for one year will start at the same time as the suspension. If you have an accident or violate the Vehicle Code and receive a conviction, this violation will violate the probation and will result in an additional suspension.
At the hearing, the issue of your being guilty of the traffic violations is generally not subject to review at this hearing and should be avoided. Accident responsibility can be contested and if DMV believes that there was no fault, the one point can be removed from your driving record.
If a hearing cannot be held prior to the proposed suspension date, a stay will be granted. This allows for a valid driving privilege until a decision is made following the hearing.
These suspensions are within the discretion of the hearing officer and in some cases, restrictions may be imposed in place of suspensions.
As a DMV Attorney who formerly worked at the DMV, I can discuss all your options with you and provide you with advice you can rely upon. It will be my job to present your case in the best light possible. In some cases it is necessary to point out that the Hearing Officer or the California Vehicle Code is being misinterpreted.
For example, one former client ran up against a provision of the California Vehicle Code that says out of state equipment violations are to be considered as a one point violation. And in his case, that one point was the difference in his being considered a negligent operator. Only by knowing the intricacies of the law were we able to overcome this problem at his hearing. As a DMV Lawyer who formerly worked for the DMV, I am uniquely qualified to fight on your behalf and counter any evidence being considered by the DMV Hearing Officer.