Road Law
When the chips are down

By Jeff McConnell & James Mennella, Attorneys at law

Everyone has those days. The ones when things just aren’t going right. We hear about those all the time here at Road Law. Often, we don’t have the ability to control every aspect of our lives and we rely on others to help. Sometimes what we expect or hope to happen doesn’t and we have to clean up the problem. Here are some of the most frequent failure questions we receive.

Q. I turned in a citation to my company who said they would help me with it. I called them last week since my court date is coming up soon and was told that they were backlogged and would get to it. I don’t have a lot of confidence that they will get the date covered. Should I contact the court myself?

A. Yes. Your name is on the citation, and you are the one who will suffer the consequences of non-payment or not responding to the court by the prescribed time. Someone else’s failure to respond timely is generally not a good excuse to the court when the date is missed.

Also, it is not uncommon for many carriers to have a citation/permit department that pays driver citations. The problem begins when the citations are not paid in a timely fashion or if they happen to be citations that you wouldn’t want to plead guilty to in the first place. Normally the person working in citations/permits has no clue as to the nature of the violation and whether you should pay it for employment or insurance reasons. Seek advice on any citation you receive before you just pay it.

Q. I mailed my ticket to the club that I belong to for assistance with my traffic tickets. I received a letter from the court that no one appeared on my case and that a warrant/suspension had been issued. I called the club and was told that they couldn’t help me based on the fact that one of my tickets was not “covered” under the plan. What can I do now?

A. Each court is a little different. Depending on the tickets, you may be able to just pay the violations and the court will recall the warrant/suspension, which is an easier way to fix this. If the court is more formal, you will likely need to hire a lawyer to get the warrant/suspension recalled and to have your case reset.

In relation to plans and being “covered,” you are in the same situation that countless other commercial drivers are. Much like an insurance contract, you are only covered by the items that are not specifically excluded in your contract. Yes, the book you received in the mail after you signed up usually includes all of the things that are not covered under the plan and that were likely not explained to you when you signed up.

Not having read your particular plan, it is not uncommon that even though one type of citation is normally covered, it is not covered when it is received in conjunction with another citation that is not covered. If all of this contract stuff makes your eyes glaze over, then do yourself a favor and just hire a lawyer from the start and avoid clubs all together. LL

 

Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to: Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; call 405-242-2030, fax 888-588-8983, or email roadlaw@att.net.

This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone's legal situation is different. Consult with an attorney for specific advice on your situation.