Local CDL Violations
Our CDL Violations Processes
- Immediately after you hire us, if your citation is in warrant we, we will immediately post an attorney bond. Whether in warrant or not, we will then file a Notice of Representation with the Court, enter a plea of not guilty and request that the case be scheduled for a pretrial hearing. This accomplishes many things. First, if your case was in warrant, the posted bond will immediately lift the warrant. Additionally, we are “entering an appearance” on your case with the court, so that all future communications from the court go directly to our office. And finally, the not guilty plea notifies the court that we are contesting the citation and that we want a hearing to discuss plea options or to set the case for trial.
- We will appear at the pretrial hearing to meet with the prosecutor. At this hearing, we will review the “complaint,” which is the legal instrument the State must file in order to begin a case against you. If we find any statutory deficiencies in the complaint, we will immediately ask that the case be dismissed. Although this is not overly common, the prosecution occasionally makes mistakes with the “complaint” providing us the legal basis to request a dismissal of the charge.
- If there are no statutory deficiencies with the “complaint,” we will present any and all legal and factual defenses to the prosecutor. If there is a “legal,” defense, the charge could be dismissed. Similarly, a factual defense can provide the basis for a dismissal, but not often. More frequently, a factual defense raises a factual discrepancy or issue, that if proved at trial, could result in a not guilty verdict. The stronger the factual defense, the more likely the prosecutor will be to either dismiss the charge or offer a favorable plea agreement, such as a lower fine, a low period of deferred disposition, a pretrial diversion agreement, an amendment to the “complaint” to a lesser charge, or a combination of these options.
- At this point, CDL citations are handled a bit differently than non-commercial cases. We are fully aware of the ramifications of “convictions.” Especially, “serious” violations and moving violations. If the only offer is a conviction of a “serious” or “moving” violation, we will reset your case for another pretrial hearing and promptly notify you of the unfavorable offer from the prosecutor and all options that you may have. Usually, at this point, the options are either to accept the offer or set the case for trial. This will be your decision. Of course, we will fully discuss with you the options and the ramifications of any options you choose.
- If you choose to accept the offer from the prosecutor, we will change your plea to either guilty or no contest, depending on the offer, and will get as much time as possible to make any fine payment that may be due. We will then send you a letter notifying you of the plea agreement, the terms of the agreement, and the due date of any fine payment.
- If you don’t want to accept the offer and don’t want to take the case to trial, another possible option is to appeal the case to the County Court. We frequently do this with CDL cases, since State and Federal statutes forbid plea offers on CDL cases that do not result in a conviction. However, the option to appeal is only available when the original court for the case is either any Justice of the Peace Court or a municipal court that is NOT a “court of record.” Please understand that some municipal courts are “courts of record,” which means that we cannot automatically appeal from that court without first having a trial. Additionally, we would only recommend an appeal if we already know, based on prior experience, that the County Court prosecutor is likely to make a better offer. If appealed and a favorable plea agreement is reached, we will change your plea to either guilty or no contest, depending on the offer, and will get as much time as possible to make any fine payment that may be due. We will then send you a letter notifying you of the plea agreement, the terms of the agreement, and the due date of any fine payment.
- If you do not want to accept the offer from the prosecutor or to appeal your case, you can request a trial. The only option you have at this point is to have a jury trial or a bench trial. The only difference is who will be determining the facts of the case; a judge (in the case of a bench trial), or a jury (in the case of a jury trial). Keep in mind that you MUST be present for any trial setting. At the end of the trial, a determination will be made as to guilt or innocence and if guilty, any punishment, such as probation and/or a fine.