A previous post on this blog talked about how what would for a private motorist probably be just a traffic ticket can be a serious affair for a commercial driver who operates trucks or other vehicles for a living.
That post pointed that in addition to facing consequences from their employer, who may have to pay higher insurance premiums because of the driver’s traffic offenses, a commercial operator can lose his or her credentials for a time even over violations that seem relatively innocuous or, at worst, like one-time mistakes any driver could make.
An additional complication when a commercial operator gets a traffic ticket is that, at least under federal transportation regulations, a state court is not permitted to do what is called masking a commercial driver’s traffic offense. This rule applies to anyone who holds a commercial license, even if they are only accused of committing a traffic violation in their personal vehicles.
What this means in practice is that a truck driver should not expect to walk in to a North Carolina court or prosecutor’s office and get a diversion agreement or, for that matter, anything short of a conviction for a traffic offense for which they admit to committing. Even if these sorts of deals would otherwise be standard, officials could easily take the position that they may not offer such incentives to commercial drivers.
This does not mean that a commercial driver should just feel stuck paying off a ticket. Legal options may be available to them, including the option of going to trial and making the state prove its case. However, this rule illustrates further how important it might be for commercial operators to have the help of an experienced traffic law attorney.