Negligent Operator Laws
While drivers who are convicted of a driving under the influence offense typically understand that they will face a driver’s license suspension, many do not realize that in some cases a conviction for DUI can trigger a negligent operator designation by the DMV. These drivers may face additional license suspensions or revocations in addition to those triggered by the DUI conviction. The DMV has begun cracking down on drivers in violation of negligent operator laws and anyone receiving a letter from the DMV regarding a negligent operator designation should contact a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible.DMV Assigns Points for Any Conviction
California Vehicle Code Section 12810 VC requires that the DMV assign “points” for any conviction involving the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Most traffic infractions will add one point to the driver’s record. In addition, an accident where the driver was deemed to have been at fault will also add a point to the driver’s record. A driver can be designated a negligent operator when he or she accrues four points over a twelve month period, six points over 24 months or eight points over 36 months.Challenge the Negligent Operator Designation
Unlike traffic infractions or accidents, convictions for driving under the influence under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC add two points to the defendant’s driving record. Two points are also added to drivers who are convicted of wet reckless pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, hit and run in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 20001 VC or any other driving related misdemeanor offense. This means that drivers who already have points on their record may automatically receive notice of an impending negligent operator designation and suspension as the result of a DUI conviction. The DMV usually sends out warning letters to drivers who are approaching a negligent operator designation to encourage them to change their driving behavior. However, drivers who are convicted of DUI may not receive a warning and may instead receive notice of an impending designation and suspension.
A driver can challenge the negligent operator designation by requesting an administrative hearing with the DMV. There is a limited deadline to request a hearing and anyone who receives a negligent operator letter should consult with an attorney immediately to ensure that the deadline is not missed. Like the DMV administrative hearings held for drivers in DUI cases, these hearings are conducted by a hearing officer who is neither a judge nor an attorney and who works for the DMV.
Unlike the DUI administrative hearing, the hearing officer has more options when conducting a negligent operator hearing and may be willing to consider mitigating evidence presented by the driver’s attorney regarding why driving privileges should not be suspended. Instead of suspending the individual’s driving privileges, the hearing officer can place the driver on probation. A driver can violate probation by committing any point count violating, failing to appear in court, committing any violation during any other license suspension, committing an alcohol or drug-related driving offense or being “at fault” in a traffic collision. It is important to remember that drivers who are placed on probation may still have to serve out any suspension triggered as a result of the DUI conviction.
If you have received a letter regarding a potential negligent operator designation, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer right away. Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how devastating loss of driving privileges can be and works hard to help his clients keep their licenses.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and negligent operator laws, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.