Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

The Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) is the process the DMV must follow before it can suspend a person's license for being a negligent operator. The DMV can declare drivers “negligent operators” for “points” on their driving record. A motorist will receive points for such things as moving violations and criminal driving offenses.

The DMV can suspend driving privileges if motorists accumulate:

  • two points within any 12-month period,
  • four points within any 24-month period, or
  • six points within any 36-month period.

The Department, however, must follow the steps in NOTS before doing so. These include sending the motorist:

  • an initial warning letter,
  • a notice of intent to suspend,
  • an order of DMV probation suspension suspension, and
  • a violation of NOTS probation.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

suspended california drivers license
NOTS is the process the DMV must follow before it can suspend a person's license for being a negligent operator.

1. What is the Negligent Operator Treatment System?

NOTS refers to a process. It is the process that the DMV must follow before it can suspend a person's license. The suspension is for a person acting as a “negligent operator.”

The DMV declares motorists “negligent operators” if they:

  • earn a certain number of points,
  • on their driving record.

The DMV issues points for the following:

  • causing an accident (1 point),
  • driving with a mechanical issue that affects safe driving (1 point),
  • committing a moving violation (1 point), and
  • committing a criminal driving offense (2 points).

An example of a moving violation is running a stop sign, Vehicle Code 22450 VC.

An example of a criminal driving offense is a DUI.

The DMV can do the following if a person earns enough points within a 1-, 2-, or 3-year period:

  • declare the person a negligent operator, and
  • suspend, or even revoke, the person's driving privileges.

Example: Within a one-year time period, Paco is arrested and convicted for a California DUI. He also causes an accident and he gets a citation for speeding, per Vehicle Code 22350 VC. Here, Paco accumulated a total of 4 points in a year. Per California law, the DMV can declare him a negligent operator and suspend his license.

Note that the Department must follow NOTS before it can suspend or revoke a driver's license.

The Negligent Operator Treatment System involves four steps. These include the DMV sending the motorist:

  • an initial warning letter,
  • a notice of intent to suspend,
  • an order of probation/suspension, and
  • a violation of NOTS probation.

2. What is the initial warning letter?

This letter communicates a warning to a driver. The warning is of a possible suspension because of points on the driver's record.

The DMV sends a driver an initial warning letter if he accumulates:

  • two points within any 12-month period,
  • four points within any 24-month period, or
  • six points within any 36-month period.1

This letter is called a negligent operator "Level I" letter.

girl receiving letter from the dmv
The DMV sends the notice of intent to suspend to a driver to communicate its intent to suspend the person's license.

3. What is the notice of intent to suspend?

The DMV sends this letter to a driver to communicate its intent to suspend the person's license.

The DMV sends this notice once a driver accumulates:

  • three points within any twelve 12-month period,
  • five points within any 24-month period, or
  • seven points within any 36-month period.2

This notice is called a "Level II" letter.

4. What is an order of probation/suspension?

This letter is sent to drivers to communicate the following:

  • they are declared a negligent operator,
  • their licenses will be suspended for six months, and
  • they are on probation for one year.

This order is sent to a person if he accumulates:

  • four points within any 12-month period,
  • six points within any 24-month period, or
  • eight points within any 36-month period.3

This order is called a "Level III" letter.

Note that a driver violates probation if he/she:

  • commits any moving violation,
  • gets involved in any traffic accident,
  • receives any 1- or 2-point violation, and
  • fails to appear in court on a traffic violation.

5. What is a violation of NOTS probation?

Drivers receive a violation of NOTS probation letter if they violate probation. This is called a "Level IV" letter.

The following are the penalties for violating probation:

  • an additional six-month driver's license suspension,
  • an additional one year of probation, and
  • a possible one-year driver's license revocation.

A driver has to apply for a new license if a revocation.

6. What is a Negligent Operator Hearing?

A driver can request a DMV hearing to:

  • challenge a negligent operator status, and
  • get a driver's license suspension set aside.4

This request comes after receipt of either a:

  • Level III, or
  • Level IV letter.

A hearing officer may decide the following after a hearing:

  • a license suspension gets set aside.
  • the motorist gets placed on negligent operator probation. This means a suspension does not go into effect. It will though if the driver commits a violation or an accident.
  • the driver gets a suspension but is granted a restricted license, or
  • a license gets suspended.5

For additional help...

california criminal defense attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.


Legal References:

  1. California Vehicle Code 12810.5 VC.

  2. See same.

  3. See same.

  4. California Vehicle Code 14100 VC.

  5. California Vehicle Code 12813 VC.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370