Commercial License Lawyer: How to Avoid Losing Your CDL for Tickets
August 23, 2022at7:00 AM
To operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you must possess a commercial driver’s license. CMV drivers are subject to several of the same rules and regulations as non-commercial drivers. We’ll explain some of the state and federal regulations CDL drivers face regarding the suspension of driving privileges and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
Serious traffic violations for commercial drivers
Some traffic offenses are classified as serious traffic violations by the federal government. If you are a commercial driver and have two serious traffic violations within three years, you will face a minimum 60-day CDL revocation. Having three serious violations within three years carries a minimum 120-day CDL suspension.
Serious traffic violations include excessive speeding (more than 15 miles per hour), improper lane changes, following too closely, reckless driving, distracted driving violations, driving a commercial vehicle without a license in your possession, and any traffic violation that results in a fatality.
In addition to federal law, some states also have additional traffic violations that may result in a license suspension, like a hit-and-run accident or keeping alcohol in your commercial vehicle.
Major traffic violations for commercial drivers
Any major violation committed by a commercial driver also carries a minimum one-year CDL suspension from the federal government. This increases to three years for any driver who operates a commercial hazmat vehicle.
Under federal law, significant violations are classified as driving under the influence (DUI), refusing a chemical test, leaving the scene of an accident, using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, driving a CMV while revoked, and causing a CMV-related fatality. Any of these violations can lead to CDL revocation, even if it’s committed in a non-commercial vehicle. A second or other major offense will result in a lifetime suspension of a CDL license, though many states allow reinstatement after ten years. Using a CMV for control substance distribution or human trafficking results in a lifetime suspension of a CDL with no chance for reinstatement.
Additionally, many states expand on the federal definition of major violations, including offenses like fleeing and eluding an officer and vehicular manslaughter.
Are there specialized rules for commercial drivers?
In addition to the standard rules of the road, CMV drivers are also subject to special regulations. These relate to railroad crossings and temporary “out-of-service orders.” Failing to stop at or obey railroad signs properly can result in a 60-, 120-, or 365-day CDL suspension, depending on your record. Law enforcement may also issue an out-of-service order for certain safety violations prohibiting the driver from operating a CMV.
What should you do if you are at risk of losing your CDL?
If you are at risk of having your CDL suspended, you should contact a commercial license lawyer. They can help you fight CDL revocation and advise you of your rights. They may also be able to help you appeal the suspension of the court.
How can you avoid losing your CDL?
As a commercial driver, you can avoid losing your CDL by knowing and following the rules of the road. Be sure to know the laws of the state you are driving in as well as federal regulations that can cause you to have your license revoked or suspended for a period of time.