Point Count Values
- 1 point: Any moving violation involving the safe operation of a vehicle (speeding, stop required, traffic signals). Any traffic accident where a law enforcement officer concludes a driver caused or contributed to the cause of the accident. See California Vehicle Code Section 12810.
- 1 ½ point: Any violation in the operation of a vehicle requiring a Class A or B driver license (i.e., speeding = 1.5 points). Under certain circumstances, a higher point count may be allowed for Class A or B licensed drivers. See California Vehicle Code Section 12810.5(b)(2).
- 2 points: More serious violations because of the high risk (hit and run, DUI, reckless driving).
Note: You could lose your driving privilege from just one event. For example, if you accidentally struck 2 parked vehicles and left the scene of the accident without identifying yourself because you were nervous, you could accumulate 4 points!
The DMV has the burden to prove responsibility for the accident, and may not rely solely on your driving record. If the DMV cannot establish accident responsibility, a point may not count, even if it is already on your driving record. Also, your driving record could then be amended to show you were not responsible for the accident.
California Vehicle Code Section 12810.5 (b) (1) provides for a higher point count under certain circumstances. A Class A or B licensed driver could receive a point count of six points in 12 months; 8 points in 24 months or 10 points in 36 months.
However, under Sections 15300 through 15308 of the California Vehicle Code, certain offenses can result in a Class A or B licensed driver being disqualified from operating a commerical vehicle.
Mitigation vs. Aggravation
Mitigating circumstances lessen the degree of negligence, and aggravating circumstances increase the degree of negligence. The hearing officer will take these circumstances into consideration when determining what action should be taken against your driving privilege. Therefore, it is critical that mitigating factors be presented on your behalf. Mindy McQueen is an experienced attorney who will present evidence to mitigate the circumstances under which the traffic violations or accidents occurred.
At your hearing, the DMV hearing officer will determine whether or not your statements are believable. Nervousness, an inability to recall information, and unintentional discrepancies frequently occur when a driver does not seek legal help. As a result, the hearing officer may not find you credible, which will jeopardize your driving privileges. Mindy McQueen will help you prepare for the hearing (to avoid these problems), and she will be present with you at the hearing to solve these problems if they do occur.
Even if you have not been convicted in court or a violation is not yet on your driving record, the DMV hearing officer can still see it on your drving record and can find it to be an aggravating factor.
Medical vs. Negligence
For the purposes of determining whether a driver is negligent or in violation of probation, a medical condition can actually be considered a mitigating factor, and the point(s) can then be discounted. One must be cautious, however, since medical conditions discussed in a negligent operator hearing could result in further investigation by the DMV.
Violation of Probation Terms
If your driving record meets the negligent operator point count as defined in Section 12814.5 of the California Vehicle Code, your driving privilege is placed on probation for 1 year. If you are subsequently convicted on a traffic violation, involved in a responsible traffic accident or fail to appear in court for a citation during the probation period, this could violate the terms of probation and result in the probation term being extended. Your driving privileges are also subject to suspension again. Your driving privilege is at risk of being revoked (terminated) on a third violation of probation.
Under Vehicle Code Section 12810.5 (c), the DMV may require you to file proof of insurance with the DMV for three years following a negligent operator suspension. If you do not maintain insurance during this entire period, your driving privilege can be re-suspended. In addition, negligent operator suspensions and revocations can affect (increase or cancel) your insurance rates.
Other Negligent Operator Actions
The DMV takes action (suspension or revocation) against the driving privilege for an indefinite period when a driver:
- is involved in 3 accidents within a 12 month period (regardless of fault)
- is involved in a serious injury or fatal accident.
The DMV also restricts, suspends or revokes the “provisional” (under 18 years of age) driving privilege when the driving record shows:
- 2 points (restrict)
- 3 or more points (suspend)
- violation of negligent operator probation (suspend or revoke)
Learn more about Attorney Mindy H. McQueen.