Do I have options to fight a ticket as a CDL holder?

Question

Do I have options to fight a ticket as a CDL holder?

Answer

If you are a commercial driver's license holder (CDL holder), it is imperative you are familiar with and follow traffic ticket laws. Failure to do so can result in points on your license, fines, and even the temporary or permanent loss of your CDL. You generally are also required to notify your employer of violations, so even if you do not lose your license, you may lose your job. With the stakes so high, if you face charges or citations for wrongful acts while driving, it's important that you consider whether you have any possible defenses available to you.

Due process laws allow you to raise a defense to a ticket. In fact, you can raise a defense on everything from a ticket for speeding to criminal charges for DUI. However, you must have a valid defense available to you. Some options for defending yourself against a CDL ticket include:

  • An argument you didn't break the law. This might be hard to win, since it will often be your word against the word of the officer of the court. If you have witnesses on your side, though, or if the officer doesn't show up to your hearing to tell his side of the story, then this may be a successful defense.
  • An argument that the prosecutor's evidence doesn't prove the case. If there was some sort of problem with the actual evidence, like the breathalyzer machine in a DUI case wasn't properly calibrated or the officer missed his last required training session for using the laser to detect speed, you can argue that the prosecutor's evidence isn't good evidence and doesn't conclusively prove you deserved the ticket.
  • An argument that evidence was improperly collected. This comes up most often in DUI cases. Your fourth amendment rights protect you against unreasonable searches, so if the police arbitrarily pull you over and decide for no reason at all to give you a breathalyzer test, you can argue unreasonable search and seizure and have the evidence precluded from being admitted. Remember, though, having a CDL is generally considered implied consent for a breathalyzer, so you will have to prove that the officer had no reason to pull you over or to want to give it.

If you hope to use one of these defenses, you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer. Your attorney can assist you in exploring any and all possible defenses against the ticket or charges and can perhaps help you save your license and your job.

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