How Can I Repair My MVR
Jim C. Klepper
Attorney at Law
My boss just pulled my MVR and it showed a traffic violation that was not mine. How can I get that conviction off my record?
You would be surprised at how many calls I get each week from drivers just like you with the same problem. You must be familiar with 49 CFR §391.25 which says: “… each motor carrier shall, at least once every 12 months, make an inquiry into the driving record of each driver it employs, covering at least the preceding 12 months, to the appropriate agency of every State in which the driver held a commercial motor vehicle operator's license or permit during the time period.” Therefore, at least every year your company runs an MVR on you to see what shows up.
I looked at the type of calls we get each week to see just how often this type of MVR problem occurs and was amazed to find that almost 20% of my law business comes from mistakes and errors on MVRs. The errors are committed in the Court system by the judge or his secretary, the court clerk’s office, the DMV in the state where the violation occurred, or the DMV in the driver’s CDL home state.
It is not that the people working in the system want to hurt the driver, but people do make mistakes. The judge may check the wrong box when sending in the result of a case, marking it a guilty verdict as opposed to the actual not-guilty or amended verdict. The clerk may fail to make the changes to the amended charge and send the original charge to the DMV. The DMV may notify the CDL home state that the wrong person received a conviction. The home state DMV may not have the same charge available to them as the conviction state DMV has, which makes them guess what the charge would be in the driver’s home state.
I have witnessed and been involved in correcting all of the above errors. Sometimes dealing with people who care about getting the mistake corrected and at other times getting the stereotypical government employee that really doesn’t give a spit about the driver, or whether the mistake is even corrected. Their only concern is not having to do any work and getting home before rush hour. Most of the time, these mistakes can be corrected so your MVR is really correct.
We do what we call a MVR Review in my office. That means that we get a driver’s MVR and review it to see if there are any convictions on there that can be removed or modified. We get a lot of calls from drivers that have received a notice from their DMV that a suspension is imminent or from drivers with incorrect convictions on their MVR. We charge $100 for an MVR Review. That $100 is a non-refundable fee, however if we are able to reopen any case on the MVR, then we apply that $100 toward that reopening fee so it is not lost. We have been able to reopen the majority of cases that are within the last year.
To get the case back in front of a judge, we file a Motion to Reopen the original case with the court. The judge will either grant or deny the motion to reopen based upon the facts of that particular case. When he grants the motion, then he sets a date for the case to be heard. On the appointed date, we defend the driver on the original charge. This whole matter can take weeks or months to accomplish.
During the time the case is open with the court, the DMV can not suspend a driver’s license. Because there is not a conviction on the open case to warrant a suspension when the judge reopens that case, the conviction is recalled from the DMV and the conviction becomes void while the DMV waits on the final outcome of the case. You can never have a conviction until the matter before the court has become final. That means that any open case or case on appeal has not reached its full and final completion and can not be held against you.
As you can imagine, reopening a case and amending the conviction to something less damaging is of great value to both the driver and his company. In fact, some drivers must have a conviction removed or reduced before they can go to work for some companies. On several occasions, we have been able to reopen more than one case on the driver’s MVR. We have found that many drivers receive undeserved tickets in speed traps, or where the driver receives a ticket in the mail telling them they were involved in some type of accident.
I often have drivers ask how to obtain a copy of their MVR, “DAC Report”, criminal record information and other information that potential employers will see. You may order and obtain your information on-line at (www.DOTJobHistory.com). I have known Derek Hinton, President of DOTJobHistory since the 1990s when he was with DAC Services.
DOTJobHistory also has tools that allow you to correct inaccuracies, add supporting documents and use the information to obtain employment. Even if you’re not currently looking for employment, it’s a good idea to know and correct any inaccurate information before you need it.
Your CDL license is your meal ticket. Lose it and you lose your job. Don’t sit back and wait on a problem, be proactive and fix the problem before it costs you lots of money or your job.
Jim C. Klepper is President of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm entirely dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. Interstate Trucker represents truck drivers throughout the forty-eight (48) states on both moving and non-moving violations. Jim is also president of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at greatly discounted rates. Jim, a former prosecutor, is also a registered pharmacist, with considerable experience in alcohol and drug related cases. He is a lawyer that has focused on transportation law and the trucking industry in particular. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking and life over-the-road and has his Commercial Drivers License. 800-333-DRIVE or www.interstatetrucker.com and www.driverslegalplan.com