License Suspension DMV Hearing

DMV Hearings on Drivers License Suspension

There are many different drivers license suspensions that can be issued directly by the DMV based on particular circumstances.  This page is not an exhaustive list, but some of the more common issues raised.  Feel free to contact me directly at (818) 336-1384 to discuss your situation in more detail.

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NEGLIGENT OPERATOR SUSPENSION – based on too many DMV points in a specified time frame




This is a brief summary explaining the action the California DMV can take against your license after being arrested for a DUI in California, even without a Criminal Court DUI conviction. Note that this is a generalized summary and there are exceptions which may not be discussed.

1. Two possible license suspensions for a DUI
There are two possible license suspensions associated with a DUI in California. The first is a license suspension based on a DUI conviction in criminal court. Once there is a DUI conviction, the DMV receives notification of this conviction and starts a license suspension. The length on the time of that suspension depends on some variables, such as whether this is a 1st offense DUI (6 month suspension), a 2nd offense DUI (2 year suspension), etc.

The second possible license suspension as a result of a DUI is issued directly from the California DMV, without the Criminal Courts involvement. Again, the length of time on that suspension depends on some variables, such as whether this is a 1st offense DUI (4 month suspension), a 2nd offense DUI (1 year suspension), etc. This article focuses on the suspension that would be issued directly by the DMV. Note that when both suspensions can run at the same time so there is no overlap, thus minimizing the time that your license is suspended.

2. Temporary license issued at time of arrest
If arrested for a DUI with a .08 Blood Alcohol Level or higher, generally speaking, the officer will take your California drivers license away and issue you colored piece of paper that acts as your temporary license for 30 days. If issued this piece of paper, if you do nothing about it, you can lawfully drive for 30 days after the arrest. There are exceptions to this, for instance, if your license is already suspended for something else.

In that case, you did not have a valid license to begin with, so you will not be able to lawfully drive with a temporary license. Also, if within the 30 days after your arrest, you get convicted in Criminal Court of the DUI, then a separate license suspension will be issued, over-riding the temporary license.

3. 10 days after arrest to request a DMV hearing in California
After being arrested for a DUI in California, you will have 10 days to request a DMV hearing. There are some potential exceptions to this for good cause, such as serious injury or incapacity immediately following the DUI arrest.

If the 10th day falls on a weekend or holiday, your time to request a hearing will go to the next regular business day. If you do not request a DMV hearing, the DMV will perform their own review of the file, which generally leads to a drivers license suspension at the end of your 30 day temporary license.

4. Who can request a DMV hearing? and where do you go to do this?
You can request a DMV hearing yourself within the 10 day time frame, or have a privately retained attorney request it on your behalf. At the time of this request, you or your attorney can also ask for a “stay” on the suspension of your license. After it is granted, you will receive a new temporary license that will be good for an extended period of time (usually 3-4 months) or until there is a adverse ruling on your DMV hearing.

Additionally, if there is a suspension on your license based on another factor (such as a DUI conviction in criminal court) your temporary license will not be valid.

5.  What are the issues considered at DUI related DMV hearings?

A. If you took a chemical test:

–  Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC §§23152, 23153, or 23154?
–   Were you lawfully  detained while on DUI probation or lawfully arrested?
–  Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.01% BAC or more while on DUI probation; 0.04% BAC or more while  driving a commercial vehicle; or 0.08% BAC or more while driving a noncommercial vehicle?

B. If you refused or failed to complete a chemical test:

–  Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC §§23152, 23153, or 23154?
–  Were you lawfully  detained while on DUI probation or lawfully arrested?
–  Were you told that your driving privilege would be suspended or revoked for 1, 2, or 3 years if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a chemical test?
–  Did you refuse to submit to, or fail to complete a chemical test or preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test (while on DUI probation) after being requested to do so by a peace officer?

6. Should you retain an Attorney to deal with this portion of your DUI?
As a DUI Attorney, when retained to handle the Criminal portion of the DUI, I include handling the DMV request, setting the DMV hearing date, getting an extended temporary license, and defending you at the DMV hearing as part of the retainer assuming that I was retained within the statutory time period of 10 days from your arrest date. Keep in mind that with few exceptions, you must retain the attorney within 10 days of the arrest to give the attorney time to request the hearing, etc.

Although anyone can represent themselves at a DMV hearing, if you are unfamiliar with the process and do not want to invest the time in learning the intricacies of fighting DUI’s at a DMV hearing, I recommend hiring an experienced DUI attorney in your area to handle this for you.

This Article is for informative purposes only
As there are many variables that can be involved in a DUI arrest, you should not rely on this article, as it is intended for general informative purposes only. There is no attorney-client privilege generated from this article. If you are in Los Angeles County, CA; Ventura County, CA; Riverside County, CA; San Bernardino County, CA or Orange County, CA, feel free to call me at 818-336-1384 or to have further correspondence about your specific case.

Also, note that you should speak to a DUI attorney in your area that is familiar with the Jurisdiction your case is filed in.


1.  What is a Negligent Operator Driver’s License Suspension?

 A Negligent Operator Driver’s License Suspension is based on the accumulation of DMV points over a certain period of time, or if involved in an accident causing fatality or serious injury.

2.  How are DMV Points Assessed?

DMV points are assessed based on a number of driving related issues.  This includes for infractions, driving related misdemeanor and felonies, and traffic accidents.

3.  How many points are assigned for each incident?

The amount of traffic points that can be assigned for each issue ranges from 0 to 3 points, and the amount of points charged can increase if you are a commercial driver.   For example;

–       many driving related infractions (ie. Running a stop sign, most speeding tickets, etc) are 1 point.  Some infractions, such as no light on a license plate are 0 points.  Yet still some infractions can be 2 points such as driving 100+ mph over the speed limit

–       Misdemeanor and Felony convictions for driving related matters such as DUI and Hit and Run are 2 DMV points.

NOTE regarding commercial drivers:  If you were driving a vehicle requiring a class A or class B (ie commercial vehicle) at the time the incident for which the conviction is based, the DMV points get increased by 50%.  For example, a DUI for someone driving a regular passenger vehicle is assigned 2 points.  If you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time the incident occurred, and subsequently convicted of a DUI, you would have DMV points assessed against you.

–       Responsible Traffic accidents can add 1 point to your DMV record.

4.  I was in a traffic accident but I was not at fault, does this mean that I will automatically get a DMV point?

No, driving points assigned to traffic accidents should only come into play if the driver contributed, was at fault, or responsible to any degree or in any amount for the collision.  It is possible that a DMV point will be assessed even if you were not at all responsible for the accident, but this can be refuted at a DMV hearing.

5.  Does the California DMV consider out of state convictions and out of state traffic accidents for DMV point purposes?

Yes, the DMV can use out of state convictions for infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies, as well as traffic accidents to form the basis or part of the basis for a Negligent Operator Driver’s License suspension

6.  What happens when I accrue DMV points?

There are several steps that may be taken prior to a negligent operator suspension.

Level I

First, the DMV may send a warning letter.  For example, if you receive 2 points in 12 months, 4 points in 24 months, or 6 points in 36 months.

Level II

Second, the DMV may send a notice of intent to suspend your driver’s license.  For example, if you receive 3 points in 12 months, 5 points in 24 months, or 7 points in 36 months.

Level III

Third, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license and send an order of suspension/probation.  For example, if you receive 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months.

Level IV

If your driver’s license is suspended based on a negligent operator issue, the penalty will initially last for 1 year of probationary status which includes a 6 month driver’s license suspension.

If you pick up a violation while operating a motor vehicle or collision regardless of fault during the driver’s license suspension period, An additional six month suspension will be imposed and the probation will be extended for one year from the violation of probation if the following occurs while the driving privilege is suspended:

Level IV

If you violate the probation for a negligent operator driver’s suspension, there will be a 6 month additional driver’s license suspension as well as another year of probation for a first or second violation of probation.  If there is a third violation of probation, a one year revocation of the driving privilege is imposed.

– The driving privilege will be suspended and a NOTS Violation of Probation Order will be sent to the driver if any of the following occur:

– Any violation or collision occurs during a suspension.

– Any one or two point violation or responsible collision occurs during a probation period.

– Any Failure To Appear (FTA) or Failure to Pay (FTP) violation during the probation period.

– A driver under the age of eighteen years violates provisional probation because of a responsible collision, an FTA or FTP, or any other reportable violation.

7.  Can Anything be done if I suffer a Negligent Operator Driver’s License Suspension?

Yes.  It is possible to request a hearing to fight the negligent operator driver’s license suspension from happening.  This can be done by mitigating the driving record, showing hardship, defending against collision caused points, as well as other factors.  It is possible to avoid a suspension all together, or in the alternative get a restricted driver’s license as opposed to a complete driver’s license suspension.

I realize how important a driver’s license is for people who rely on it for work, school, providing for themselves and their families, as well as other aspects. There are many factors to consider when handling a negligent operator hearing.  Call me at(818) 336-1384 to discuss your situation in more detail and how I can potentially help in saving your driver’s license.


If the DMV is notified that you have recently suffered a Seizure or other condition causing lapse of consciousness, the DMV can take action against your driver’s license.  Depending on the nature of the report, the DMV will do one of the following:

 (a)    Take no action (report insufficient to warrant any action);

(b)    Send driver a notice of reexamination pursuant to CVC §13801, without summarily revoking the privilege to drive;

(c)    Send driver notice of intention to revoke or withhold privilege, with notice to driver or applicant of the right to a hearing on the action. CVC §13950; or

(d)   Immediately revoke the driving privilege pursuant to CVC §13953, and notify the driver of the revocation and his right to a hearing on it.

It is possible to get approved for probationary driver’s license or to avoid a driver’s license suspension altogether.

Click onthe following link for more informtaion about Medical Condition Driver License suspensions and how they potentially can be avoided:
Fight your Medical Condition Driver License Suspension

Please contact me at (818) 336-1384 for a free consultation to discuss your medically based driver’s license in more detail.


Phil Hache
Attorney At Law