A driver holding a Class A, B, or C Commercial Driver License (CDL) is licensed to drive a combination of vehicles, including commercial vehicles and noncommercial motor vehicles or personal vehicles using one license. However, if a commercial license holder commits a traffic offense that causes the suspension or revocation of their driver’s license, they’ll lose their commercial driving privileges. A commercial driver, whose license is suspended or revoked, can’t drive any type of commercial vehicle during the period of suspension or revocation. A commercial license holder can only apply for the limited driving privilege to drive non-commercial vehicles.
If you’re a commercial driver and you are accused of breaking traffic law in driving violation in Illinois, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in how a traffic conviction can affect your CDL license. Some traffic convictions, such as an alcohol-related conviction, can affect your commercial license even if the traffic violation occurred in your non-commercial vehicle. Commercial drivers have invested a lot of time and energy into a profession that helps them to fend for their families.
If you or someone you know is a CDL license holder and has received a traffic citation, have our experienced Chicago traffic attorneys for a free attorney consultation. Our legal team will guide you through the best possible outcome and fight to let help keep a clean driving record. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact our team of skilled CDL traffic ticket lawyers today at (708) 465-1040.
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What Is the Difference Between CDL Disqualification and Suspension?
Some traffic offenses and other traffic violations will cause a CDL disqualification, while others will result in a CDL suspension. A disqualification allows the CDL holder to continue operating a standard vehicle but not a CMV. A CDL suspension means the CDL holder can’t operate any type of vehicle.
While the two terms are often used correspondently, they are different. The conditions that result in a commercial license disqualification don’t cause a CDL suspension, although some traffic violations can result in both, depending on state laws. For instance, DUI convictions can cause a CDL suspension and a CDL disqualification.
What Traffic Offenses are Classified as Major Traffic Violations?
Major driving offenses include speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, reckless driving, erratic lane change violations–improper passing and improper lane usage, texting while driving or using a mobile phone while operating a commercial vehicle and following too closely.
Major offenses that result in CDL disqualification include intoxicated driving or the refusal to submit to a breath-alcohol test in either a commercial vehicle or non-commercial vehicle, driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident in any vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked or canceled commercial license, or while otherwise disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle. A second conviction of a major disqualifying traffic offense will result in a lifetime disqualification.
Related: Will a Ticket Affect Your CDL?
How Can I Lose My CDL?
Losing a commercial license can have a long-lasting impact on your life than losing your personal driver’s license. If you have made a career out of driving commercial vehicles, your job and finances could suffer significantly if you’re disqualified from holding a commercial license. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed traffic guidelines for how commercial license violations are categorized and how they should be punished.
Certain traffic offenses attract more severe criminal penalties than others, and major traffic offenses often have the most severe penalties, with the first offense receiving a one-year disqualification. Again, major traffic offenses include:
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
- A drunk driving charge with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or more while operating a commercial vehicle
- Refusing to take a chemical blood-alcohol test.
- Fleeing the scene of an automobile accident.
- Using a commercial vehicle or another vehicle to commit a felony offense.
- Causing personal injury or death to another person because of negligent conduct or criminal operation of a commercial vehicle.
Committing a serious traffic offense often results in a 60-day suspension of a commercial license. Serious traffic violations include:
- Reckless driving.
- Excessive speeding.
- Changing lanes erratically or improperly
- Tailgating or following other vehicles too closely.
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial license, or without a commercial license in the driver’s physical possession.
- Driving a CMV with improper endorsements or classes of the CDL.
Any traffic violation involving taking improper actions during a railroad crossing can cause a 60-day CDL disqualification for a first-time offense. Railroad-highway grade crossing offense may include:
- Not slowing down to check if the tracks are clear before crossing.
- Not stopping before reaching the crossing if the tracks aren’t clear.
- Not stopping before driving onto the crossing.
- Not waiting until there’s sufficient space to prevent stopping on the tracks.
- Ignoring a traffic control device.
Can I Qualify for Limited Driving Privileges After a CDL Suspension?
Limited Driving Privileges won’t be issued to operate a commercial vehicle during any period of CDL suspension, CDL revocation, CDL cancellation, or CDL disqualification.
Limited driving privileges:
- Allow you to continue driving a noncommercial vehicle or personal vehicle, for specified reasons, such as employment, during the CDL suspension or revocation period.
- Aren’t available during a period of disqualification of CDL privilege.
- Aren’t available for certain CDL suspensions or CDL revocations, such as alcohol-related offenses and felony offenses.
- Applications can be obtained from a local license office, or you can file a petition with the circuit court in the county of employment or county of residence.
Contact Our Skilled Chicago CDL Traffic Ticket Attorneys Today for Legal Advice!
The criminal defense attorneys at our firm represent commercial truck drivers and trucking companies from across the country on a wide variety of traffic violations and criminal convictions throughout the greater Chicago area.
From intoxicated driving charges to overweight truck offenses, we understand the ever-changing landscape of Illinois’ traffic law and our legal team will fiercely defend your CDL and driving record. Often, we’ll work to secure an amendment or reduction to the original traffic charges or take your case to trial if necessary. Regardless of the circumstances of your CDL charges, CDL drivers must consult with an experienced traffic ticket lawyer for help. To schedule a consultation with an experienced Chicago traffic lawyer, contact our law office today at (708) 465-1040.