When you receive a citation through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency gives you the opportunity to contest it under its adjudicated citation policy. The term adjudicated citation refers to a proceeding of due process conducted at the local, state, or administrative tribunal level. When you have an adjudicated citation, it means that you have contested it and the matter has resolved at one of the three levels. This is true regardless of whether the matter resolved in your favor or not. It also applies whether a prosecutor, judge, or another authority figure ruled on your challenge.
Steps involved in challenging a citation
If you wish to challenge a recent citation you have received, the first thing you need to do is navigate to the FMCSA website and complete a form called Explanation of Request for Data Review in the DataQs system.
Before the FMCSA considers a violation for change or removal, you must obtain and submit certified documents from the initial judicial proceedings and submit them through the Request for Data Review. Here you will need to provide the following information:
- Location of the data you want the FMCSA to review
- Violation code(s) you want to challenge at the federal level
- Description of the federal violation
- Associated ticket or citation number at the state level if applicable
- Outcome in court related to the violation
- Description of federal violation
- Citation code at state level if applicable
- Brief explanation of why you feel the FMCSA should review the violation
After submitting your citation challenge, the FMCSA requests, reviews, and confirms all supporting documentation. It then confirms the accuracy of all documents with the appropriate court and uploads the adjudicated citation outcome into its SAFETYNET program. Lastly, the FMCSA uploads the citation with any amendments made to its Management Control and Management Information System (MCMIS).
Amended citations and severity ratings
If you challenge a citation and the FMCSA finds you not guilty and dismisses it, it will no longer reflect in the agency’s Safety Management System (SMS) or Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). The FMCSA may also find you guilty of a different charge than the one listed in the original citation that you decided to challenge. In this case, the severity rating becomes 1 and it will show as a conviction with the new charge listed instead of the old one. All ratings and displays remain the same if you challenge a conviction but the FMCSA upholds it.
Keep in mind that the federal adjudicated citation policy went into effect on August 23, 2014. Any violations before this time went through the process at the state level. You have three years from the date of the citation to challenge it.
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