Many drivers know they can have their license suspended if they are convicted of DUI or certain other high-priority traffic violations. What many drivers may not understand is that they can also have a license suspended if they accumulate multiple convictions on lower-level traffic safety violations within a certain period of time.
California law enforcement uses a system called Negligent Operator Points to penalize repeat offenders and suspend the driving privileges of people who are considered unsafe drivers. If a driver is convicted of violating a safety-oriented traffic law, they can have from 0-3 points marked against their license. If a driver gets more than a certain number of points in a certain amount of time, they will receive a warning letter. If they get any more, they can at least temporarily lose their license.
A driver who is convicted of being responsible for a collision will have at least 1 point added to their license. If they were driving a commercial vehicle, they will get 3 points added. Speeding violations generally carry a 1-point penalty. Conviction on hit-and-run charges carries at least a 2-point penalty. Minor violations, such as driving with an inoperative tail light, may carry no points.
Generally, a driver’s license suspension becomes a real possibility if the driver accumulates more than 4 points in a 12-month period. The number of points and the period can vary quite a bit depending on the exact charges and the circumstances.
Defending a license
Drivers at risk of losing their privileges because of points can defend their license at a hearing. They may protect their license if they can show that the circumstances have changed and they are not a safety hazard to the community. A lawyer with experience in traffic violation defense can help.