Those who drive with a commercial driver’s license are held to a higher standard than those who drive with a conventional Illinois driver’s license. Motorists who drive with a conventional driver’s license can plead guilty and request a sentence of Court supervision and potentially avoid a conviction on his or her driving record. This is not the case for CDL holders. If a CDL holder pleads guilty to 2 serious moving violations within a 3 year period of time they are subjected to a 60 day disqualification of their CDL privileges. The problem is that many if not most CDL holders drive for a living which makes the foregoing sanction potentially catastrophic to their livelihood and ability to support their families.
To make matters worse, the term “serious traffic offense” encompasses various offenses that many individuals may not deem serious such as a minor lane deviation or going 15 miles per hour above the speed limit. Police officers often write such tickets with no knowledge of the life changing ramifications in store for the CDL holder.
When I defend CDL holders in Court I always keep in mind the unique rules that apply to them and I never forget what’s at stake. The good news is that virtually all prosecutors are compassionate understanding people that are not seeking to destroy the life of an honest working man with a family. As a result many prosecutors are receptive to the suggestion of amending various tickets to non-moving violations and imposing a fine. The foregoing solution still holds the driver accountable for the traffic violation but the disposition is structured in a way so as to enable the CDL holder to maintain his employment.
In many cases the CDL holder has no choice but to go to trial. When I take cases to trial I focus on the elements of the offense that the state is required to prove. I ascertain what facts the state must elicit in order to prove the required elements. I use my client’s side of the story to attack the weakest element(s) of the state’s case and argue for a not-guilty verdict.