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How a Misdemeanor Trucking Ticket Affects Your Career

undefinedMany drivers dread a misdemeanor trucking ticket. Whereas that is understandable, it might not be as tragic as it seems. The first thing the driver should do is consult a traffic attorney with criminal defense experience. 

Most truckers think they should retain a criminal defense attorney that charges by the hour and requires a sizable retainer. That is, of course, one method you could use. However,  a criminal defense attorney without the knowledge and experience received in traffic court might not know how to get a dismissal or negotiate a reduced charge. 

Plus, you could be paying a lot more than is necessary for an attorney without the knowledge or experience in traffic court required for a misdemeanor trucking ticket. Many traffic court judges do not want to saddle a truck driver with a criminal record because of a simple mistake while doing their best to deliver cargo to the American consumer. 

Misdemeanor Trucking Ticket Dismissal or Reduced Charge 

Often, misdemeanor trucking tickets are a “wobbler” or “wobblette.” The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LLI) defines a wobbler as “A crime that can be either a misdemeanor (a conviction punishable by a small amount of jail time, typically one year or less) or a felony (a conviction punishable by time in state prison).” A wobblette “is a California offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or an infraction.”  

Therefore, a misdemeanor charge of speeding more than 15 mph over according to CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22406.1Other Speed Laws, driving without a license or commercial driver’s license (CDL) or endorsement, failure to appear (FTA), or any of the other nearly 350 misdemeanor trucking tickets, could be downgraded to an infraction by the judge. These downgrades typically depend on several circumstances, such as severity, the driver’s cooperation with the arresting officer, prior arrests and convictions, or the strength of the state’s case. 

Another consideration is “before a wobblette can be charged as an infraction, the defendant must consent.” You might think why wouldn’t a driver accept a fine in lieu of a possible criminal record. Once again, the strength of the state’s case and the possibility of employment termination might make it smarter to be tried as a misdemeanor.

What good would it do to get off with a fine if the fine is for a moving violation and your fleet manager does not retain drivers with a moving violation conviction regardless of severity. This is particularly true with what the FMCSA considers a serious offense.   

A CDL holder should always consult a traffic attorney with criminal court experience before deciding to accept a “plea bargain” from a court official or make a statement when cited with a misdemeanor trucking ticket. 

Kern County & Bakersfield Attorneys Who Handle Misdemeanor Trucking Tickets

When you are charged with a misdemeanor trucking ticket in Lamont, Shafter, Mojave, Ridgecrest, Delano, or Bakersfield, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, immediately. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LLI)

CVC Section 22406.1Other Speed Laws