What A Traffic Ticket Can Do to Your CDL in California

May 9, 2017

What A Traffic Ticket Can Do to Your CDL in California

For a professional truck driver, the CDL is essential for being able to earn a paycheck. Loss of your CDL could have serious consequences for you in California, which is why you need an attorney who can help you with these charges as soon as you have been accused. Failing to understand the implications of a traffic conviction for your CDL could jeopardize your ability to make a living. Both know these consequences in advance and having a lawyer you can turn to after being accused is essential for anyone who drives professionally.

You might be under the impression that one traffic violation is a minor issue, but that’s not true even if you don’t hold a CDL. Depending on the charge, the consequences of a conviction can be far-reaching for your life personally, but the stakes are even higher if you drive for a living.

Responsibilities of CDL Holders in California

Any individual in California who holds a commercial driver’s license has an enhanced responsibility to follow all the rules and guidelines of the road. This is particularly true because any traffic citation including speeding or even serious violations in your traditional vehicle could lead to the suspension or revocation of you California CDL. This could impact not just your personal life by inconveniencing you and causing you to pay fines and deal with other penalties, but it could also mean a substantial impact on your livelihood.

Commercial drivers across California are responsible for maintaining appropriate licensing and training and following all federal regulations as it relates to driving vehicles, including:

  • Special use construction vehicles
  • Semi-trucks
  • Semi-truck trailers
  • Cement trucks

The rules for driving these vehicles are separate than for the drivers of regular automobiles in California. Recently, the rules changed as it related to dealing with citations for those truckers and CDL holders who received a ticket. Until recently, those individuals who got off-duty traffic violations were unable to have their citations suppressed or dismissed and were not able to attend traffic school in order to reduce or eliminate these. This means that drivers had their commercial driver’s licenses and their livelihood put at risk. In 2013, however, truck drivers were unable to qualify for traffic school in certain situations as a result of California AB1888.

Off-Duty Traffic Violations Can Impact Your Professional License, Too

Those individuals who have off-duty citations still going to have a significant impact on their ability to earn an income as well as their CDL depending on their employer’s individual tolerance and policies. Traffic violations, even in a personal vehicle, could subject a CDL holder to getting in trouble. Employers may also have mandatory probation periods or have a zero-tolerance policy for any driver in their fleet and could fire the driver outright. AB1888 allows certain individuals to attend traffic violators’ school after the driver has had points added for violations withheld from a personal driving record. However, the new law does not hide infractions, meaning that the insurance company can still see these and it is mandatory that they still be recorded in a commercial driver’s driving records. If you are convicted twice, however, within a three-year period associated with off-duty traffic violations, serious penalties may apply.

These include:

  • Following another car too closely
  • Reckless driving
  • Excessive speeding of more than 15 miles of the limit
  • Any violation involving alcohol or drugs
  • Erratic or improper lane changes

Suspended CDLs in California

There are many different reasons why your CDL could be suspended in the state of California. You can expect to find your CDL being suspended for at least one year for a first offense when:

  • Refusing to take a BAC test
  • Negligently operating a CMV
  • Committing any felony with your CMV
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration at 0.04% or higher
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving your CMV
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while your CDL is suspended or revoked

You can also face suspensions for up to three years, if the offense occurs while operating a CMV carrying hazardous materials. If any felony was being committed involving controlled substances, you could lose your CDL for life.

Drivers are subject to federal regulations as well as California state laws, including potential suspensions of your CDL. If your license were suspended by the California DMV for driving under the influence, you are eligible to contest it within 10 days of receiving your order of suspension, but you will be charged with DUI if you refuse to submit to a BAC test or if you are apprehended driving any commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04% or higher.

You may be eligible to receive a restricted commercial license if your CDL has not previously been suspended and if you are driving a non-commercial vehicle when you receive the CDL suspension. Don’t run the risk if you have been suspended. Make sure you understand all the penalties if you’ve been convicted of a DUI in California.

Reinstating Your California CDL

You may be eligible to apply to have your CDL reinstated, even if you had a restricted commercial driver’s license. The fees to reinstate your license will differ based on the charges. It is important to identify a California traffic ticket attorney who can assist you with any serious violations that occurred in your personal vehicle, that impact your CDL as well as your professional license.

Different Types of Violations

Speeding is one of the most common violations incurred by California CDL holders. Truckers in California are not able to remove a moving violation from their driver’s record by taking traffic school. Other violations are classified as more serious ones when they are committed by a commercial driver, like improper lane changes, excessive speeds or following another vehicle too closely. Your California driver’s license may be suspended if you have two such violations within a short enough time-period.

It is illegal to drive without a license and you cannot be insured without a CDL so any situation in which you are facing potential suspension or revocation of your license could be serious. A violation while driving a commercial vehicle could lead to points on your license in California. Any violations that incurs while driving a commercial vehicle could lead to one and half points when compared with a typical violation. This is why it is important to defend yourself by retaining an experienced California traffic ticket attorney to assist you through this situation.

A knowledgeable defense attorney can help to assess your situation and gather all of the facts from the outset to help guide you through the complicated legal process. When you are accused of any traffic violation in California that could impact your ability to drive and your ability to earn a living, it is imperative that you act quickly and hire an experienced defense attorney to assist you with navigating this case.

There is too much on the line for your future to leave this up to chance. Simply paying the ticket is essentially the same as acknowledging your guilt and this could compromise your ability to maintain your CDL and continue working for your company. Make sure you understand all of the implications of a potential conviction or a traffic citation by hiring a California traffic ticket lawyer immediately. Call 1-800-248-2846 for a free consultation.