Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
If you drive a commercial vehicle, a traffic offense could lead to a Disqualification of your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and could affect your employment. Depending on the driving infraction charged, it may not matter whether the violation occurred while you were driving a commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle. A “disqualification” of your Commercial Driver’s license is a temporary or permanent withdrawal of an individual’s privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Depending on the offense the disqualification could last for a minimum of 60 days and could last a lifetime in certain circumstances. If your Commercial Driver’s is disqualified, you would be prohibited from operating a Commercial Vehicle and you would have to obtain a regular driver’s license in order to be permitted to drive.
A disqualification of a CDL occurs from a conviction of a “Major Offense” or several convictions of “Serious Traffic Offenses” within a certain period of time. The following offenses are defined as “Major Offenses” and result in a one year CDL disqualification for first offenses (3 year disqualification with Hazmat):
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. This disqualification occurs if the DUI happened in a commercial vehicle or a personal vehicle. 2nd or subsequent conviction result in a lifetime disqualification. Entry into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for DUI is also considered a conviction for purposes of CDL disqualification.
- Refusing to submit to blood or breath testing your suspected of a DUI. This disqualification also would occur if driving a commercial vehicle or a personal vehicle. 2nd or subsequent conviction result in a lifetime disqualification.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Hit and Run), Using a vehicle to commit a felony, using a vehicle involving drug distribution, driving under suspension and causing a fatality through negligent operation of a commercial vehicle are considered major offenses and carry a one-year disqualification. Entry into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is also considered a conviction for purposes of CDL disqualification.
If a driver accumulates two serious traffic offenses within three years, there is a mandatory disqualification of the Commercial Driver’s License for 60 days. If a driver is convicted of three or more serious traffic offenses within three years, the disqualification is for 120 days. Most serious traffic offenses must occur in a commercial motor vehicle, but there are a few exceptions. The most common Serious Traffic Offenses are:
- Speeding 15 mph or greater.
- Reckless Driving (Commercial or personal vehicle).
- Improper or erratic lane changes.
- Following too closely.
- Texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
- Using a hand held telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
There are also disqualifications for convictions involving railroad crossings. If you are convicted of a railroad crossing offense, your privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle would be disqualified for 60 days for a first offense, 120 days for a second offense within three years, and a one year disqualification for a third or subsequent convictions.
Additionally, convictions for traffic violations can affect your employment as many employers check their drivers’ records routinely. Some companies have policies in place disciplining an employee for any type of moving violation, not just a serious or major violation.
No matter what traffic citation you are cited with, if you have a Commercial Driver’s License, you should enter a plea of not guilty and obtain an attorney to represent you in court. Do not delay as under Pennsylvania law, you only have 10 days to respond to the ticket and enter a plea. The experienced attorneys at Ellis B. Klein & Associates have handled thousands of traffic tickets, many involving Commercial Driver’s Licenses. Many courts will permit us to appear in court in your place, so you may not even have to attend the court hearing to get the points reduced on your moving violation. Call us at 800-536-0501 for a free consultation and we will gladly review your case and guide you in the right direction.