Oklahoma CDL Violations - Tulsa CDL Violation Attorneys

DUI Series; Oklahoma CDL Violations

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a special license issued by the State of Oklahoma that allows an individual to drive certain types of vehicles. Drivers are required to have a CDL in order to drive vehicles over a certain weight, buses, and vehicles containing hazardous materials. In addition to passing certain medical requirements, an individual must pass a comprehensive written test and road test in order to earn the Oklahoma CDL.There are many federal and state laws applicable to commercial driver’s licenses: vehicle and trailer loading, record keeping, and many other CDL specific laws is necessary in order to keep the CDL. The rules are more stringent than rules for automobile drivers, in many cases. When an individual operates a commercial motor vehicle, he or she is giving consent to alcohol testing if pulled over. This law applies to everyone, residents and nonresidents alike. Refusing to take the alcohol testing upon request by a law enforcement officer will result in an automatic revocation of an individual’s driving privilege, even if he or she has not been drinking. The law applies to an individual who holds a CDL-even if the individual is operating his or her own personal vehicle or while operating a commercial vehicle. Under Oklahoma law, it is illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or more.

In addition, there are several other violations that could result in revocation of your CDL.

  • Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol.
  • Driving a CMV while under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV.
  • Committing a felony involving the use of a CMV.
  • Driving a CMV when the CDL is suspended.
  • Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV.

Any of the following violations will result in the individual losing his/her license and will be suspended as follows:

  • First offense — One Year
  • Second offense — Lifetime

An individual will also lose his/her CDL for at least three (3) years, if the offense occurs while operating a CMV carrying hazardous materials. You will lose your CDL for lifetime if you use a CMV to commit a felony involving controlled substances. Moreover, if you have any detectable amount of alcohol under .04%, you will be put out-of-service for twenty-four hours.[1]

In Oklahoma, any individual charged with DUI, DWI, or APC charge will not receive a work permit or a hardship CDL. You can request an administrative hearing within fifteen days of the date of arrest. If timely requested, you may be able to obtain a “modified” operator driver’s license. However, this is not a CDL.

Any DUI related CDL violation can adversely impact your freedom and future. The best course of action would be to enlist the help of qualified Tulsa DUI Lawyers.  Contact our Tulsa DUI  lawyers by phone at (918)592-1144 or online for a consultation. Our attorneys have been representing Oklahomans for more than 30 years.

[1] Commercial Driver License Manual, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1.3.2 (2005)

Oklahoma CDL Violations; Serious Traffic Violations

Oklahoma CDL Violations; Serious Traffic Violations

Oklahoma CDL Violations; Serious Traffic Violations

Serious Traffic Violations

In addition to the stiff penalties related to DUI when a person holds a CDL (link to prior blog), there are also serious traffic violations that may result in disqualification or loss of a CDL.[1] “Serious traffic violations” are the following:

  • Excessive speeding (15 mph or more above the posted limit).
  • Reckless driving.
  • Improper or erratic lane changes.
  • Following a vehicle too closely.
  • Traffic offenses committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic accidents.
  • Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL or having a CDL in the driver’s possession.
  • Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements.
  • Using an electronic communications device to read or send a text messages while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Using a hand held cellular telephone while driving a commercial vehicle.

Penalties include:

  • First Offense: No loss of license.
  • Second offense within a 3-year period: For at least 60 days, if you have committed two serious traffic violations within a three-year period involving a CMV.
  • Third Offense within a 3-year period: For at least 120 days, for three or more serious traffic violations within a 3-year period involving a CMV.[2]

Traffic Violations in Your Personal Vehicle

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA) of 1999 requires that a CDL holder be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if the CDL holder has been convicted of certain types of moving violations in their personal vehicle.

If your privilege to operate your personal vehicle is revoked, cancelled, or suspended due to violations of traffic control laws (other than parking violations), you will also lose your CDL driving privileges. If your privilege to operate your personal vehicle is revoked, cancelled, or suspended due to alcohol, controlled substance or felony violations, you will lose your CDL for one-year.

Additionally, in Oklahoma, the law requires the CDL holder to notify his/her employer within thirty days of a traffic violation conviction. In addition, if you get a traffic ticket in another state, you are required to inform your employer and the Oklahoma Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you have questions regarding Oklahoma CDL violations, or other Oklahoma traffic tickets, contact one of our Tulsa criminal attorneys for a consultation. Our firm has been protecting the rights of Oklahomans for over thirty years.

[1] 47 O.S. Section 6-205.2

[2] https://www.ok.gov/dps/Driver_License_Suspensions/Commercial_Driver_License_Disqualification/Serious_Traffic_Offenses.html

Texting While Driving; Textalyzer Legislation Proposed in New York

Texting While Driving; Textalyzer Legislation Proposed in New York

Texting While Driving; Textalyzer Legislation Proposed in New York

In Oklahoma, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on any street or highway within this state while using a hand-held electronic communication device to manually compose, send or read an electronic text message while the motor vehicle is in motion. Texting While Driving has been prohibited in some fashion by almost all of the states, and the New York Congress is currently considering legislation that would allow police at accident scenes in New York to immediately examine drivers’ cellphones with a device to determine if they’d been tapping, swiping or clicking. It’s been termed the Breathalyzer for texting.

Ben Lieberman, a father who lost a son in a crash where the other driver was texting and proponent of the legislation, has partnered with an Israel-based tech company Cellebrite to develop the plug-in device that’s been nicknamed the “textalyzer”. [1]

Of note, Deborah Hersman, the CEO of the National Safety Council and a supporter of the “textalyzer” legislation, noted that in 2016, 40,000 people died on the road, a 14 percent jump from 2014 and the biggest two-year jump in 50 years.[2]

Cellebrite said its technology sidesteps privacy concerns because it’s designed only to determine usage, not access data. Company officials said the device would only be able to tell if someone physically clicked or swiped the phone during the time of the accident, and then investigators could use that to determine if they should get a warrant for more detailed information.

We have discussed the Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless searches relating to stop-and-frisk, and breathalyzer testing in past posts. It would be interesting to see what restrictions would be put in the legislation in order to pass constitutional muster, if it is to pass constitutional muster at all. In all fifty states, an “implied consent” law exists when it comes to administering blood and breath tests, because states consider driving a privilege and not a right. Therefore, any change that would allow for such broad police power following a traffic accident, would be effected through the implied consent laws.

Our Tulsa criminal defense attorneys provide a thorough and aggressive legal approach. We begin by listening to you and analyzing every detail of your case before developing a strategy. From the first moment you reach out to us for help, you are treated with respect. To learn more or to schedule your initial consultation with an experienced defense lawyer in Tulsa, contact us today online or by telephone at 918-592-1144.

[1] http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/york-eyes-textalyzer-combat-distracted-driving-47401758

[2] Id.

Stan Monroe and Ann Keele - Tulsa Lawyers

Monroe & Keele at the Annual Tulsa County Bar Association Charity Golf Tournament

Stan Monroe and Ann Keele had the pleasure of participating in the Tulsa County Bar Foundation annual charity golf tournament on May 15 at LaFortune Park Golf Course. The event raised money to benefit Disabled American Veterans, Tulsa Lawyers for Children, and South Tulsa Community House. Monroe & Keele was a sponsor of the tournament. Team Monroe & Keele comprised of Stan Monroe, Ann Keele, and special guests Matt Schultz, Esq., and Tom Keele. It was a wonderful event!

Oklahoma DPS Supsensions; Defects in the Officer’s Affidavit

Oklahoma DPS Suspensions: Defects in the Officer’s Affidavit

Oklahoma DPS SuspensionsLast week we discussed the requirement of a statement of an officer contained in the Officer’s Affidavit that he/she had reasonable grounds to believe the person arrested for DUI had been operating (or was in actual physical control) of the motor vehicle. This week, we will discuss another issue related to the Officer’s Affidavit; whether the Officer’s Statement must be signed by the officer with personal knowledge of the facts contained therein, or if a signature by an officer with personal knowledge of the facts contained therein is sufficient basis for DPS to rely on in suspending an individual’s driving privileges.  This distinction may not seem clear, but is demonstrated by the facts of the Martinez case below.[1]

Mr. Martinez was observed being in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated by Officer A, who administered a field sobriety test. Because Officer A had been on a 10-hour shift, Officer B told Mr. Martinez he was under arrest and placed him in the back of his patrol car. Officer B transported Mr. Martinez to the jail and administered a BAC test. Officer B then made out the sworn report required by 47 O.S. 754(c) stating he had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been operating (or was in actual physical control) of the motor vehicle. The dispute in this case arises here; Does 47 O.S. 754(c) require the same officer(Officer A) who observed the conduct in the statement sign the form or is it allowable to for an officer who has personal knowledge of the conduct(Officer B) to sign the Officer’s Affidavit?

Mr. Martinez challenged the suspension contending the Oklahoma statutes require Officer A to sign the Officer’s Affidavit. In deciding that case of first impression, the Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma rejected Mr. Martinez’ contention and held that the form can be signed by any law enforcement officer with personal knowledge of the facts contained therein. In making the ruling, the Court noted that the form is one not used in making determinations of justification—the form merely establishes prima facie evidence for revocation which can be rebutted later—it therefore does not need to be made by the “arresting officer”.

If you have questions regarding a Tulsa DUI arrest or Oklahoma DPS Suspensions, contact one of our Tulsa DUI Attorneys at (918)592-1144 or online here for a consultation.

[1] Martinez v. State ex rel. Dept. of Public Safety, 2014 OK CIV APP 17.

DPS Suspension following a DUI; The Officer’s Affidavit

DPS Suspension following a DUI; The Officer’s Affidavit

DPS Suspension following a DUI; The Officer’s Affidavit

The Oklahoma Department of Safety (DPS) is tasked with suspending the driving privileges of persons arrested for DUI in Oklahoma. DPS relies on two documents to initiate such suspensions: a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) report and a sworn statement from the arresting officer (Officer’s Affidavit). 47 O.S. 754(c) requires that the Officer’s Affidavit contain a statement the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been operating (or was in actual physical control) of the motor vehicle. Upon receipt of these two items—the blood or breath alcohol concentration report and the Officer’s Affidavit—DPS revokes the individual’s license effective 30 days following notice of the suspension.

The Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma recently decided a case where the facts of the underlying DUI stop were not in dispute, but the arrested person challenged the DPS suspension on the ground the officer did complete the Officer’s Affidavit with the statutorily required statement the officer reasonably believed the person had been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.[1] While the Officer’s Affidavit in question identified the driver, the breath-alcohol analysis, and the driver’s behavior and circumstances of arrest, the only personal attestation contained in the form was that the officer administered the BAC test. The Court held a failure to include a statement the officer reasonably believed the person had been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol rendered the Officer’s Affidavit insufficient for DPS to rely on in suspending the individual’s driving privileges.

What is the moral of this story? It’s always advisable to immediately seek the opinion of a qualified DUI attorney to investigate every aspect of your DUI arrest. The Oklahoma statutes are very clear when it comes to the requirements of a DUI arrest, accompanying paperwork, and the administrative suspension which results. If you have questions regarding a DUI arrest or DPS license suspension, contact one of our Tulsa DUI Attorneys at (918)592-1144 or online here for a consultation.

[1] Tucker v. State ex rel. Dept. of Public Safety, 2014 OK CIV APP 45.

Plain Feel Exception - Tulsa Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers

Motorists May Not Resist, Even if Traffic Stop is Illegal

Even if an Oklahoma police officer stops a motorist on an invalid charge, the driver must submit to the officer. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals addressed this issue in a ruling handed down September 18, 2015. State v. Nelson, 2015 OK CR 10.

Nathan Charles Nelson was stopped for Failure to Signal a left hand turn on March 19, 2014. There were only two cars on the road at the time of the turn: the car driver by Mr. Nelson and the police officer’s car. Mr. Nelson, feeling he was the victim of a bogus stop, refused to cooperate with the officer. He immediately parked his car and began to leave as the officer was writing a ticket. Despite being ordered to stop, Nelson attempted to walk away. The officer arrested Mr. Nelson and charged him with the following offenses:

  • Obstructing an Officer (Count 1), in violation of 21 O.S., § 540;
  • Resisting an Officer (Count 2), in violation of 21 O.S., § 268;
  • Failure to Carry Insurance/Security Verification Form (Count 3), in violation of 47 O.S., § 7-606; and
  • Failure to Signal (Count 4), in violation of 47 O.S, § 11-604.

The trial court ruled the traffic stop was illegal and therefore, all charges were dismissed. The state prosecutors appealed, and this decision followed.  

Under Oklahoma law, turn signals are only necessary when other traffic is affected:

“No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal as provided in subsection B of this section, in the event any other traffic may be affected by such movement,” 47 O.S., § 11-604.

The court held the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the stop illegal:

“…the record surrounding the initial stop in the present case is less than ideal…the mere fact that Officer Turnbough’s police car and Appellee’s vehicle were the only two vehicles on the roadway at the time of the alleged traffic infraction does not dictate a finding that the initial stop was illegal. However, the record does not provide any indication of where Officer Turnbough’s vehicle was in relation to Appellee’s vehicle to determine if Appellee’s failure to signal may have affected other traffic for purposes of § 11-604. Moreover, Officer Turnbough testified Appellee could make the left turn safely into the parking lot….Thus, based upon the limited facts presented in this matter, we cannot conclude the trial court abused its discretion when it ruled the initial stop was illegal.

However, even though the court agreed the stop was illegal, it refused to suppress the obstruction charge.

“We cannot find that [Nelson’s] alleged obstructive behavior to be the product of Officer Turnbough’s illegal stop,” Judge Hudson wrote. “[Nelson’s] decision to behave as he did was an independent and voluntary act which broke the link to any taint caused by the illegal stop.”

“The typical motorist simply is not equipped to make a determination of whether there is a legal basis for a traffic stop,” Judge Hudson concluded. “Whether the officer did, in hindsight, have probable cause to make the traffic stop should be resolved in a courtroom, not in the streets. To permit otherwise would effectively encourage drivers to engage in potentially explosive self-help methods. This, in turn, would increase the risk of escalating what should be a relatively benign interaction between law enforcement and a driver into a potentially dangerous or violent interaction.”

Walk and Turn Test - Tulsa DUI Lawyer

DUI Field Sobriety Series; Walk and Turn Test

In past weeks, we have discussed the three types of field sobriety tests sanctioned by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that comprise the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST): the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. This week, we will examine the Walk and Turn test in greater detail.

When a person is pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Oklahoma for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer may order the individual out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. The purpose of field sobriety testing is to allow an officer to observe a suspect’s balance, ability, attention level, and/or other factors that the officer may use to determine whether the suspect is driving under the influence.

In the Walk and Turn test, the person suspected of DUI is instructed to listen and follow simple physical movements. Standard NHTSA instructions for the Walk and Turn Test are as follows[1]:

  1. Put your left foot on the line, then place your right foot on the line ahead of your left, with the heel of your right foot against the toe of your left foot.
  2. Do not start until I tell you to do so.
  3. Do you understand? (must receive affirmative response)
  4. When I tell you to begin, take 9 heel-to-toe steps on the line (demonstrate) and take 9 heel-to-toe steps back down the line.
  5. When you turn on the ninth step, keep your front foot on the line and turn taking several small steps with the other foot (demonstrate) and take 9 heel-to-toe steps back down the line.
  6. Ensure you look at your feet, count each step out loud, keep your arms at your side, ensure you touch heel-to-toe and do not stop until you have completed the test.
  7. Do you understand the instructions?
  8. You may begin.
  9. If the suspect does not understand some part of the instructions, only the part in which the suspect does not understand should be repeated.

The officer looks for eight indicators of impairment:

  1. Can’t keep balance during instructions
  2. Starts too soon
  3. Stops walking
  4. Misses heel-to-toe
  5. Steps off line
  6. Uses arms for balance
  7. Improper turn
  8. Incorrect number of steps

NHTSA research indicates that 79 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.08 or greater (Stuster and Burns, 1998).[2]

If you have questions regarding field sobriety tests, or have been accused of DUI, contact our office to speak with a qualified DUI lawyer in Tulsa. Because we believe that everyone deserves equal access to qualified legal counsel, we offer free consultations. We will provide an honest and straightforward analysis of your Tulsa DUI case and devise a plan to fight your charges, if possible. Our firm has been representing Oklahomans for over 30 years. Contact us at 918-592-1144.

[1] http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/SFST_Procedures.pdf

[2] http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/sfst/appendix_a.htm

Tulsa DUI Lawyer - One-Leg Stand Test

DUI Field Sobriety Series; One-Leg Stand Test

In past weeks, we have discussed the three types of field sobriety tests sanctioned by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that comprise the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST): the horizontal gaze nystagmus test or HGN test, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. This week, we will examine the one-leg stand test in greater detail.

When a person is pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Oklahoma for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer may order the individual out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. The purpose of field sobriety testing is to allow an officer to observe a suspect’s balance, ability, attention level, and/or other factors that the officer may use to determine whether the suspect is driving under the influence.

One-Leg Stand Test - Tulsa DUI LawyersIn the One-Leg Stand test, the person suspected of DUI is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud until told to put the foot down. The officer times the suspect for 30 seconds. Standard NHTSA instructions are as follows[1]:

  1. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your side
  2. Maintain position until told otherwise.
  3. When I tell you to, I want you to raise one leg, either one, approximately 6

inches off the ground, foot pointed out, both legs straight and look at the

elevated foot. Count out loud in the following manner: 1001, 1002, 1003,

1004 and so on until told to stop.

  1. Do you understand the instructions?
  2. You may begin the test

The officer looks for four indicators of impairment:

  1. Sways while balancing; side-to-side or back-and-forth motion while the suspect maintains the one-leg stand position.
  2. Uses arms for balance; suspect moves arms six or more inches from the side of the body.
  3. Hopping; suspect is able to keep one foot off the ground, but resorts to hopping in order to maintain balance.
  4. Puts foot down; the subject is not able to maintain the one-leg stand position, putting the foot down one or two times during the 30-second count.

NHTSA research indicates that 83 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more such indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.08 of greater (Stuster and Burns, 1998).[2]

If you have questions regarding field sobriety tests, or have been accused of DUI, contact our office to speak with a qualified DUI lawyer in Tulsa. Because we believe that everyone deserves equal access to qualified legal counsel, we offer free consultations. We will provide an honest and straightforward analysis of your Tulsa DUI case and devise a plan to fight your charges, if possible. Our firm has been representing Oklahomans for over 30 years. Contact us at 918-592-1144.

[1] http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/SFST_Procedures.pdf

[2] http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/sfst/appendix_a.htm

Tulsa DUI Lawyer - HGN Test

DUI Field Sobriety Series; HGN Test

In past weeks, we have discussed the three types of field sobriety tests sanctioned by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that comprise the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST): the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. This week, we will examine the HGN test in greater detail.

When a person is pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Oklahoma for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer may order the individual out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. The purpose of field sobriety testing is to allow an officer to observe a suspect’s balance, ability, attention level, and/or other factors that the officer may use to determine whether the suspect is driving under the influence.

With the HGN test, the person suspected of DUI is instructed to follow a slowly moving object such as a pen or small flashlight horizontally with his/her eyes. The officer observes the movements of the eyes. The test is premised on the fact the automatic tracking movements of the eyes are affected by drugs and alcohol. A normal eye will produce some “jerking” of the eyeball when following an object from left to right. However, one who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol (or suffers from certain medical conditions), there is more “jerking” when the eyeball is closer to center position.Standard NHTSA instructions are as follows[1]:

  1. Please remove your glasses (if worn)
  2. Put your feet together, hands at your side. Keep your head still and look at and follow this stimulus with your eyes only.
  3. Keep looking at the stimulus until told the test is over.
  4. Do not move your head.
  5. Do you understand the directions?

The officer looks for eight indicators of impairment:

  1. Lack of smooth pursuit: Left eye
  2. Lack of smooth pursuit: Right eye
  3. Distinct and sustained nystagmus (“jerking” or involuntary movement) at maximum deviation: Left eye
  4. Distinct and sustained nystagmus (“jerking” or involuntary movement) at maximum deviation: Right eye
  5. Onset of nystagmus (“jerking” or involuntary movement) prior to 45 degrees: Left eye
  6. Onset of nystagmus (“jerking” or involuntary movement) prior to 45 degrees: Right eye
  7. Check for vertical gaze nystagmus (“jerking” or involuntary movement)

NHTSA research found that this test allows proper classification of approximately 88 percent of suspects (Stuster and Burns, 1998).[2]

A question may arise regarding this test: As it seems like a scientific test, how is it admissible when an officer administers it? How reliable is it? In Anderson v. State, the defendant challenged the admissibility of the HGN test based on the fact the court allowed the testimony without scientific foundation by an expert witness.[3] The Oklahoma Court of Appeals held “a scientific foundation for the test was not required as field sobriety tests are not based upon scientific evidence and are not “a scientific test in the sense it requires a certain scientific reliability”, so that neither Frye, Daubert or any other test establishing reliability or trustworthiness is applicable.[4]

If you have questions regarding field sobriety tests, or have been accused of DUI, contact our office to speak with a qualified DUI lawyer in Tulsa. Because we believe that everyone deserves equal access to qualified legal counsel, we offer free consultations. We will provide an honest and straightforward analysis of your Tulsa DUI case and devise a plan to fight your charges, if possible. Our firm has been representing Oklahomans for over 30 years. Contact us at 918-592-1144.

[1] http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/SFST_Procedures.pdf

[2] http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/sfst/appendix_a.htm

[3] Anderson v. State, 2010 OK CR 26.

[4] Id.