By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. | Last Updated:
Commercial drivers are afforded very little room for error. In many cases, a single offense can result in the suspension of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Most commercial drivers depend on their license to earn a living. As such, it is critical that a commercial driver takes every precaution to avoid a conviction that can lead to a suspension or disqualification. Further, if a judge does suspend a CDL, the driver should make every effort to appeal when possible.
When Can a Driver Appeal a CDL Suspension?
A commercial driver can appeal a suspension he/she believes was issued unfairly or unjustly. For example, federal law requires state licensing authorities to suspend CDLs when a driver commits two major traffic offenses within three years. However, in some cases, a miscalculation can result in an unwarranted suspension. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) code 49 CFR 383.51 requires states to use the date of conviction rather than the date of the violation when determining the three-year timeframe. However, if a judge uses the conviction date for the first offense and mistakenly uses the violation date for the second offense, a driver can be unjustly suspended. This can be corrected by filing an appeal.
Another time a driver may appeal a CDL suspension is if police broke procedure or mishandled evidence during a traffic stop, particularly those involving DWI in New York. An officer who fails to make certain disclosures to drivers, such as explaining that refusing a breathalyzer can result in an automatic suspension, can open the door for a reversal upon appeal. Commercial drivers are not legal experts, and often do not realize until after their license was taken away that certain rights were violated or that mandatory police procedures were not followed.
The key here is to realize that even if the decision to suspend a CDL cannot be argued with, the reason for the suspension can, upon appeal, be deemed invalid, thus resulting in a restoration of the license.
How to Appeal a CDL Suspension
Appealing any kind of traffic court decision is difficult in New York, but commercial drivers face even greater difficulty due to the higher standard they are held to. Successfully appealing a CDL suspension almost always requires the help of a skilled attorney. An attorney with experience helping commercial drivers will be familiar with the many different reasons a CDL can be suspended and all the ways in which such a suspension may be appealed. The right attorney can assess the facts of the case to determine the best possible strategy for appealing the suspension.
Can a Lifetime CDL Revocation Be Appealed
A lifetime revocation of one’s CDL is devastating and the rules surrounding it offer very little flexibility. Like with a CDL suspension, the only way to undo a lifetime revocation is to appeal the underlying conviction(s). This requires the help of a seasoned traffic ticket attorney who can successfully argue that the relevant charges are invalid or that the driver’s rights were violated during the process of obtaining evidence that was later used to convict him/her.
Who Should I Contact to Appeal My CDL Suspension?
If you or a loved one is at risk of having your CDL suspended, or if your CDL has been suspended and you would like to file an appeal, consult with an attorney. The attorneys at Rosenblum Law have helped many commercial drivers in New York and New Jersey retain their licenses and avoid suspensions. Email us or Call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.