Win Your Negligent Operator Hearing
While retaining a DMV attorney is always the best way to win your negligent operator (neg op) hearing, there is no reason you cannot do it yourself with a little preparation. We have compiled all the information you need to beat the Department of Motor Vehicles.
5 Steps to Winning Your Negligent Operator (Neg Op) Hearing
There are five steps you must follow to win your negligent operator hearing.
- Review for accuracy the points DMV believes are on your record. Identify any points that you didn’t really accumulate and try to figure out why DMV thinks you did. If DMV did not provide you a copy of your driving record, obtain an H6 printout from your local DMV office.
- Contact the courts that show traffic court convictions for you and make sure they are accurate. Similarly, if you have any at-fault accidents, you may consider obtaining the traffic collision reports filed by law enforcement to challenge the determination that the accident was indeed your fault.
- Identify any examples of point-stacking and be ready to explain or challenge them. With one exception, point-stacking is illegal and occurs where DMV assigns you multiple points for the same driving conduct. (The one place where they can point-stack is in adding an at-fault accident point to any other points for that same incident. Thus, an at-fault accident that results in a DUI conviction will add one point for the accident and two points for the DUI.)
- Review the number of miles you drive and if you drive more than most people, be ready to prove your mileage at the hearing. The hearing officer is allowed to consider the amount you drive in determining whether you are truly a negligent operator. Someone who drives tens of thousands of miles per year for work will almost certainly accumulate more points than the average motorist and should not be considered negligent at the same point level.
- Conduct your hearing with the attitude that you’re just going to explain why you’re a safe driver. Remember that the hearing officer is allowed to put you on probation. In this case,you will get to keep your license as long as you don’t get any more points in a set period of time. Unlike in other types of DMV hearings, in a neg op hearing, you do not ordinarily need to worry about rules of evidence or appellate case law. While neg op hearings are governed by the same rules as the more common administrative per se hearings, in practice they are less formal and somewhat less adversarial. You can help yourself by recognizing this fact and trying to help the hearing officer help you.
The Fine Print
Section 12810.5 provides that a motorist who accumulates too many points is presumed to be negligent and may have his or her license suspended. “Too many points” is defined as four points in a year, six points in two years or eight points in three years.
DMV finds out about points by receiving abstracts of convictions from the clerks of courts that enter a traffic court conviction in their computers, or from receiving reports of accidents where the motorist is alleged to be at fault. Once a motorist accumulates the prohibited number of points, DMV will send a suspension notice, which triggers the right to have a hearing to contest the negligent operator presumption. A motorist has 10 days from the date of the notice in which to request a hearing.
Understand Your DMV Hearing