For many people, driving is a fundamental aspect of daily life, offering freedom and flexibility. However, this privilege comes with significant responsibilities. Drivers need to follow California traffic laws, operate their vehicles safely for the road conditions, and keep an eye out for potential hazards.
When accidents happen, drivers can face significant repercussions, including fines, increased insurance premiums, and, in certain cases, license suspensions. A suspended license can greatly affect your daily life, so it is important to understand the potential repercussions.
The California DMV Suspends the License of Negligent Operators
In California, causing a car accident due to negligence can lead to points on your driving record. These points accumulate from traffic accidents, moving violations, and criminal acts such as driving under the influence. If you cause an accident, you earn one point on your driving record.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may label you a negligent operator and suspend your driving privileges if you accumulate:
- Four points within 12 months
- Six points within 24 months
- Eight points within 36 months
Your License Can Be Suspended If You Cause Serious Injury or Death
You do not have to cause multiple accidents for the DMV to suspend your license. The department may declare you as a negligent operator, regardless of your current point status, if you cause an accident that results in a serious injury or death. You do not have to be the primary driver who caused the accident; you only need to contribute to it in some way, such as speeding or driving under the influence.
Many injuries can qualify as serious injuries, especially the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Lapse of consciousness
- Deep wounds that require stitches
- Loss of function of a bodily organ
Driving under the Influence May Also Lead to a Suspension
Driving under the influence (DUI) in California is a serious offense that can not only result in criminal charges but also administrative penalties like license suspension. Even if no accident occurred, the DMV could still suspend a license for a DUI.
A first-time DUI typically triggers a four-month license suspension. The situation escalates when a DUI involves an accident that results in injury, with the suspension lasting between one and three years. Refusing a breath or blood test at the time of a DUI arrest also results in a mandatory one-year suspension.
Seeking Justice After a Car Accident in California
While these laws and penalties serve to deter negligent driving, they do not remove the risk entirely. If you are involved in a car accident caused by another’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a legal claim against them. These actions not only hold the at-fault driver accountable but also provide a means for you to recover compensation for any damages that you sustained.
In the wake of a collision, a Bakersfield car accident attorney can help you navigate the claims process and advocate for your rights and well-being. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible to learn more about your options and take your first steps toward compensation.