By Jeff McConnell & James Mennella, Attorneys at law
In this issue we discuss the failure to follow through when opportunity exists and the remorse when the opportunity is no longer there. Whether you represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you, make sure that you take advantage of any opportunity you have to change the outcome of your violation. Here is a loose transcript of a recent call.
Q. I recently received a ticket in Arizona for speeding 15 mph over the posted limit. Is this something that your office can assist me with?
A. Of course we can assist you with your traffic citation. It is important that, whether you hire us or go yourself, you don’t just pay this violation as it is a “serious” violation under the FMCSR and a point offense in your home state.
Q. What do I need to do from here?
A. We will need to be hired at least one business week prior to the initial court date on your citation. If you can’t get us hired before that date, please be sure to contact the court and ask that the matter be set for hearing.
120 days later ...
Q. I spoke to you guys about an Arizona ticket some time ago and need your help with a big problem I have.
A. What seems to be the problem?
Q. I went ahead and paid the citation in Arizona and now my CDL is being disqualified for 60 days for two serious violations in a two-year period. I need to pay you guys to fix this for me. Can you still help me?
A. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done at this time regarding your case. Once you enter and the court accepts a guilty or no contest plea to the violation, the matter is concluded in this particular court system.
Possible options are to file a motion to vacate your guilty plea and reset the matter or to “perfect an appeal” or take all the required steps. From experience in this court, we can tell you that there is about zero chance that a motion to vacate your guilty plea will be granted by the judge. Further, the appeal process does not offer a new trial once your case is appealed and only involves mistakes of the trial court. Since there was no trial, there is no record made for appeal purposes.
Q. Am I really going to have to serve the 60-day disqualification?
A. Unfortunately, yes. Since it is a CDL disqualification under the FMCSR, your licensing state does not have the authority to stay or modify the disqualification. If you had accumulated too many points in your licensing state, then you might have had other options to remain qualified to drive.
While it may or may not help, it is only your CDL that is disqualified during the 60-day time period. You will want to contact your licensing state and make sure that your license does not need to be turned in to them in order for the disqualification period to start. Some states do that. Also, ask if a reinstatement fee will need to be paid at the end of the disqualification period. LL
We invite you to send any questions or comments you may have regarding transportation law to: ROAD LAW, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; fax to 405-242-2040; contact us through our website at www.roadlaw.net; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call us at 405-242-2030. We look forward to hearing from you.