Make it dissappear
Jeff McConnell and James Mennella
It may seem strange, but representing companies and drivers on traffic ticket charges isn’t a magic act, and it’s usually a difficult task. The first thing to remember is that money doesn’t always buy your way out of the problem, and there certainly is less leniency toward the CDL holder in the court system these days. Everyone would like their problem or problems to disappear, but most of the time it’s a pretty formal ordeal. Sometimes that includes the driver/client helping us help them when the going gets tough.
Q. I received a speeding ticket for 80 mph in a 55 and need your help. Can you make it go away?
A. We certainly can help you, but we need to clarify what “make it go away” means. If the question is “can we make the problem disappear entirely, with no conviction, and no fine/costs,” then the answer is likely no. We certainly may be able to get the charge reduced or amended to another violation, which will be of benefit to you.
Q. I received a ticket in Oklahoma for speeding 65/55. Is there anything you can do for me?
A. It depends on the specific court where your citation will be processed. Many of the Oklahoma courts are misinformed and believe that they can’t help a CDL holder, although they do the same for regular motorists. Those who understand what the masking law is are more willing to help a CDL holder. In many of the Oklahoma courts, we need to be able to provide a “factual basis” for an amendment to a violation as well. So if you have a purchase receipt or shop invoice for a faulty speedometer, cable, calibration, etc., then perhaps an amendment to “defective equipment” can be negotiated.
Q. I am on the road all the time. Can’t you get the job done if I can’t or don’t want to take the time and effort to get you the information you need to get an amendment of my charge?
A. Of course we can represent you on the charge, but if we know that we need certain things in order to get the relief you need, then we aren’t likely to get the job done without them. We certainly can appreciate that sometimes it is difficult to get this done, but we wouldn’t ask if we didn’t need it to get the best result possible on your case.
Q. If I supply you with a clean motor vehicle record and a receipt for a new speedometer unit, can you guarantee a “defective equipment” amendment or get my charge dismissed?
A. The first rule as attorneys is that we can’t guarantee the outcome of any litigation. There is a greater likelihood that you will be a good candidate for an amendment or dismissal if you can supply that information, but there is no guarantee that a prosecutor or judge is going to help based on that information alone.
Q. I’m an owner-operator myself, and I have a small company with seven tractors. I’ve called Road Law for years for help, and they do a great job for me and my drivers. Just the other day, one of my drivers got a ticket and I called Road Law for help. Well, I just got a call from my driver, and he was found guilty when he went to trial. How come Road Law didn’t help with my driver?
A. Road Law always does the absolute best we can when we go to court for you, your company or one of your drivers. But, we’re the lawyers, not the prosecutor or the judge hearing the case. Even though we provide the best defense available, sometimes the prosecutor and/or the judge in a particular court just refuses to help you and finds you guilty at trial. Yes, these bad outcomes are very rare and we don’t like them any more than you do. Bottom line, your attorney should discuss your ticket with you and let you know what they can about your charge, the court, the prosecutor and the judge where your case is going to court. After you have all this information, then you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what to do. 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 contact us via RoadLaw.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.