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Have or Need a Commercial Driver’s License?

By Clyde Robinson (Flickr: Cement Mixer) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you have, or if you are planning on getting, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you need to know a little bit about how and why prosecutors take such a hard stance on traffic and other related violations when they involve drivers with a CDL. One way to get a good overview is to review, “Commercial Drivers Licenses: A Prosecutor’s Guide to the Basics of Commercial Motor Vehicle Licensing and Violations (Second Edition).” This guide was funded, at least in part, from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grant. Accordingly, it may be downloaded, free of charge, from the National District Attorneys Association website: http://www.ndaa.org/ntlc_commercial_vehicles.html.

This document discusses, among other topics: CDL basics from the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act; Driving Under the Influence of an intoxicant (driving while impaired); licensing requirements; driver responsibilities; considerations in charging certain offenses; distinguishes “convictions” and ”masking,” and the manner in which convictions are reported. The true importance of this document, though, is to alert the commercial truck driver to the fact that these laws can be complicated.

For instance, for the purposes of the laws governing commercial motor vehicle licenses, a “conviction” may occur even if a case is dismissed if the driver is required to pay the court costs. Accordingly, the definition of certain terms may be much broader then what is typically used in criminal justice systems. Moreover, masking, deferring imposition of a judgment, or allowing the driver to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a conviction for any violation, in any type of motor vehicle (even a personal vehicle), of most traffic control laws from appearing on the drivers record is prohibited for CDL holders.

Accordingly, if your CDL license is important to you, it is critical to hire a knowledgeable lawyer in your jurisdiction to properly defend you. Once the court has made its decision, it will likely be too late to change it.

About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants.  Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.  Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the NCDD.

He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 8th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen).  Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions.  He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in over 30 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.tndui.com

About Steve Oberman

Since graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1980, Mr. Oberman has become established as a national authority on the intricacies of DUI defense law. Steve is a former Dean if the National College for DUI Defense, co-author of a national treatise, ("Drunk Driving Defense" published by Aspen/Wolters-Kluwer) and author of "DUI: The Crime and Consequences in Tennessee" (published by Thomson-Reuters/West). He has taught thousands of lawyers, judges and members of the general public about the intricacies of this crime. As a Tennessee DUI attorney, Mr. Oberman has successfully defended over two thousand clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In 2006, Mr. Oberman became the first DUI lawyer in Tennessee to be recognized by the National College for DUI Defense as a Board Certified Specialist in the area of DUI Defense law.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.tndui.com


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