Commercial Driver’s License Holders Guide to Traffic Violations
If you are a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder that recently received a traffic violation, you are probably wondering what your rights are and what options you have moving forward. CDL holders are governed by both state and federal laws, meaning there are points assessed for traffic violations on your state license and your federal records. Here is what you need to know about violations as a CDL holder.
Federal Anti-Masking Laws and Traffic Citations
Due to federal anti-masking laws, courts are limited in what they can and cannot do to help CDL holders keep citations as well as points off their record. “Masking” is the term given to describe when a court tries to hide a citation from the federal board. So, then what are your options and how can you protect yourself?
The Outcomes We Fight For On Your Behalf: DPA or an Amended Citation
At Nichols Dixon PLLC, we try to achieve two main outcomes for clients to avoid going to trial: A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) or an amended citation. A DPA works like a deferred sentence except the case is dismissed and the district attorney (DA) promises not to refile if the terms of probation are met. Fines will still apply, but they will be paid to the DA. It should be noted that this outcome is not common, but it is possible.
An amended citation is the most common resolution we are able to reach for our clients. This is where the DA agrees to amend the citation to a non-moving violation. The driver will still be responsible for paying fines, but no points will be assessed. It is important to check your local state laws to determine if this could be a possible outcome for you. Some violations will still accrue points in your home state even if they do not do so in the state of Oklahoma.
Why a Deferred Sentence Is Typically Not a Good Outcome
Sometimes well-meaning attorneys offer their clients a deferred sentence, but unfortunately this does not help CDL holders achieve their goal of protecting their record. While this can be a great opportunity for clients in other criminal cases, it should be noted that a deferred sentence requires a plea of guilty and a payment of fines to the court clerk. Per federal guidelines, any conviction or payment of fines to the court clerk is reported.
Sometimes a DA or an attorney tries to treat a deferred sentence as a DPA, but they are not the same thing. When a deferred sentence is offered usually a CDL holder would be better off paying the citation. There are very few circumstances where this might not be the case, and our attorneys can identify the rare courts where a deferred sentence might be of benefit to the client.
Additionally, some courts will dismiss the citation without any costs in exchange for payment of administrative fees. If these fees are not considered court fines or require a plea, then this option should also result in a clean record.
At NICHOLS | DIXON PLLC we appreciate how important a commercial driver’s record is to their employment, and we always do our best to keep our clients on the road.
Schedule a consultation with our firm online today to learn more about how we can help you as a CDL holder.