CDL License Holders Are at Risk From Even One Violation

Mark: Yes, and to tell you the truth, for truckers, even having one violation on their record can be a disaster. This is due to the fact that there are a lot of companies that, because of their insurance situation, don’t want to have any violation on their drivers’ records. So, oftentimes just having one infraction would be enough to cause a commercial truck driver to lose their job. Like I said, there are easy scenarios where they could end up having three violations from one stop.

Interviewer: Anyone with a CDL license, including truck drivers, should definitely get an attorney to defend the ticket no matter what it is.

An Attorney Can Help Mitigate Penalties

Mark: Absolutely, and in Kern County, there are actually some courts where, while you can defend your license. You can contest the violation at your trial. But they will not allow an individual to represent him or herself and cut a deal with the officer. In other words, oftentimes what happens is an attorney be able to negotiate a deal for to reduce the violation to the level of a parking ticket or another low level violation and it would not be sent to the DMV.

It is not considered a moving violation, but in some of the courts here in Kern County, they don’t allow that negotiation unless an attorney represents the drivers, and for commercial truck drivers the outcome can be important to their livelihood.

Interviewer: Any other commercial drivers, such as taxi drivers or other kinds of commercially licensed people in any trouble?

The Point System Applies to All Kinds of CDL Holders

Mark: Yes, pretty much anyone in a driving industry that has insurance companies that are specifically looking at them as a risk. These insurance companies know that they are spending a lot of time on the road for business purposes and it’s going to hurt them badly if they have any violation.

I represent a lot of taxi drivers, both from the Bakersfield area and from outlying areas that’s just been passing through on their own private time, and say, “Hey, I got to keep it clean because I’m a taxi driver in San Francisco,” for instance. I represented several taxi drivers from San Francisco that were driving to Vegas on a regular basis.

Interviewer: I imagine this applies to FedEx or UPS drivers, or any kind of courier.

Mark: FedEx, UPS, yes, all those drivers rely upon that clean record.

Non-Business Driving Traffic Infractions

Interviewer: This brings to mind a question. If I have a commercial driver’s license, but I’m not driving for my job, I’m just driving the family car, am I still subject to the same penalties, the same problems as if I was in my truck or taxi?

Mark: If you’re a commercial truck driver and you’re in your private vehicle and you’re pulled over, the penalty would still hurt you. But the penalty would be a regular point instead of a point and a half for a violation. However, even a regular point can severely hurt you in your job.

There’s still insurance companies that will double the rates for a commercial truck driver because they have one violation, and if that’s the case, then there’s a lot of employers that will decide not to continue with that risk of having them in their pool.

Where Does This Attorney Practice?

Interviewer: So which courts do you typically appear in for all these traffic violations?

Mark: Mojave, Lamont, Bakersfield, Shafter, Delano, Taft, those are the most common, but I’ll also go up to Porterville which is in Tulare, the adjoining county, as well as in Hanford.

If You Receive a Ticket Will You Know What Court to Appear In?

Interviewer: Okay, and when someone gets a ticket, will it indicate on the ticket what court they have to go to, or do they have to call in?

Mark: Yes, it says at the bottom of the ticket. They will have the address and it normally has the phone number, but some officers leave that off, but they’re required to at least put the address of the court.

Do You Have to Appear in Court If You Are Ticketed?

Interviewer: What if someone has either speeding tickets or any of other infractions, and it’s hard for them to get off work or they’re coming from out of state. Are you able to go to court for people, typically, or do they have to show up with you?

Mark: I do all the appearances. The client does not have to appear. Basically, you talk to me and I take care of it and I keep you updated on the case every step of the way.

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Ticket?

Interviewer: Oh, that’s a great benefit. How long does it take, from the moment you get the ticket until you can resolve it? How long does that take on average?

Mark: It really depends on the court. I would say on average, probably about a two- to three-month period. There are some courts that take a long time to resolve things, particularly Mojave.

Sometimes it won’t even be possible to put the ticket on the calendar for three months. So it’s probably going to be about five months before it’s resolved, but, normally, two or three months is average.

Interviewer: Will people have points on their license before their court date or everything’s put on hold until the court date happens?

By Mark Bigger