Road law
Misery loves company

By Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, attorneys at law

It’s not uncommon for us to deal with things that have gone from bad to worse. Sometimes the misery is the fault of the driver, and sometimes the misery is caused by someone else’s act or failure to act. Here are some recent questions we received and cases to unravel.

I was recently checked at a scale house in Missouri and although they didn’t find any problem with the vehicle, the officer said there was an outstanding warrant for my arrest for a traffic violation several years ago that I didn’t pay.

I was arrested and my truck impounded until I could bail out of jail. Did the officer have to arrest me and make the problem worse for me?

Generally an officer is going to arrest you if there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest, which is not a fun experience. If extradition to another state or to another county is in the cards, you may find yourself waiting around for a long while for transport or for the jurisdiction to choose not to extradite you. If you happen to be lucky enough to be in the same county and sometimes the same state as the warrant, then you may be able to get processed in a reasonable amount of time; however, even basic processing can take considerable time.

I received a violation for speeding, failed to take care of the citation many years ago, and thought it would disappear. I received another ticket the other day for speeding and for driving while suspended. The officer gave me a break and didn’t arrest me, but put me out of service until I correct the problem. Is it fair that the officer put me out of service?

Being out of service is better than being arrested. If you have a load that needs to move, then at least someone else can move the truck or take the load versus having to get the unit out of impound, etc.

Depending on the jurisdiction, the officer probably could have arrested you on the driving under suspension violation. Since you are only out of service, you have the ability to freely try and clean up the mess you have gotten into.

Whether you hire someone to help or you go about this on your own, you have several issues to be aware of.

Contact the original court and see if you can reset the speeding ticket by posting a bond, or if you pay it find out how to release the hold on your license.

Depending on how long the suspension notice has been out, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee to your licensing state as well as to the state where the violation occurred in order to clear the suspension to provide proof that the citation has been paid. The word “suspended” will likely remain on your record if you waited too long to clear the matter up, which has additional employment ramifications down the road.

Never just pay a driving while suspended/disqualified or revoked violation to get yourself out of a pinch. Once the court processes a conviction for those types of charges, your licensing state is then going to take administrative action against you. And then there may be no alternatives available to try to keep your CDL privileges. 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.