Friday, October 18, 2013

Road Law attorneys share legal tips with OOIDA members

For more than 20 years, attorneys Jeff McConnell and James Mennella have been putting their experience as criminal defense attorneys at the disposal of commercial drivers. On Friday afternoon at the Heart of America Truck Show, they shared that knowledge with dozens of OOIDA members in a Q&A session.

Both McConnell and Mennella spent plenty of time talking about “the green and white book,” aka the book of rules and regulations for drivers published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

They said drivers should dog-ear, paperclip, or whatever else they need to do to memorize Section 383.51, which details the disqualification of drivers. The section covers the five moving violations and three non-moving violations that can cost a driver his or her CDL.

McConnell had one valuable bit of free legal advice for attendees: “Always plead not guilty” when it comes to those serious violations.

“The burden of proof is on the state to prove you committed the crime you’re accused of,” he said.
Both men urged drivers to be familiar with the CSA website, and to have an account created with CSA in order to monitor their individual driving records.

There was also an extensive discussion of CSA’s Data Q challenge system, which is supposed to allow a driver the opportunity to dispute inaccurate information on a CSA report.

Under the current system, a driver wishing to dispute an incident on his or her CSA report must call into Data Q and report the dispute. The Data Q representative will then call the law enforcement agency or other party who reported the complaint against the driver.

“You’ve got a bureaucrat calling the fox about what he did in the henhouse,” McConnell said. “That’s not due process. It’s smoke and mirrors.”

Road Law, which is based in Oklahoma City, is a regular contributor to Land Line Magazine. They also offer a toll-free number for consultations: 888-276-8000.

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