Understand Negligent Operator Suspensions

California Has a Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

Understand Negligent Operator Suspensions

A neg op suspension is the Level III penalty in California’s Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS). Unless a motorist demands a hearing, the neg op suspension happens automatically upon the accumulation of 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months.

Vehicle Code section 13359 allows DMV to suspend a motorist’s license based on “any of the grounds which authorize a refusal to issue a license.” One of those grounds is being a “negligent or incompetent operator” of a motor vehicle. (Section 12809(e).)

The most common negligent operator suspensions arise through DMV’s Negligent Operator Treatment System (or “NOTS”), which is a computer-driven scheme of warning letters and penalties that happen when a motorist accumulates “points” on their driving record. DMV assigns points to a driving record any time a motorist causes an accident or violates a traffic law. Accidents and minor moving violations such as speeding count as one point; more serious violations such as reckless driving or DUI count as two points.

A motorist who accumulates 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months triggers a Level III Order of Suspension/Probation, which becomes effective automatically unless the motorist demands a hearing within 10 days of the date of the order. (Section 12810.5.) If a motorist demands a hearing, they will be presumed to be a negligent operator and will have the burden of convincing the DMV hearing officer that they are not.

The term “negligent operator suspension” may also refer to the Level IV penalty for violating Negligent Operator Probation.

  • What are Points?
  • Understand Point-stacking
  • Understand the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
  • How to Win Your Negligent Operator Hearing

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