How Will This Ticket Affect My Cdl?

Almost every citation can negatively affect your status as a commercial driver.

The effects of a traffic conviction on a commercial driver are surprisingly difficult to pin down. Commercial drivers often find that not even their lawyer can tell them exactly what the effect of a conviction will be. That's because the effects of a traffic conviction depend on factors such as your driving history, federal regulations, and your home state's laws and regulations. 

For example, if you reside in Michigan and receive a ticket in Tennessee, you need to hire a Tennessee lawyer to handle the ticket. Odds are the Tennessee law does not know what Michigan will do if you are convicted. And a Tennessee lawyer will be hesitant to talk about Michigan law.

Here is what we can tell you: The federal government sets out certain minimum standards governing how certain offenses must affect your commercial license. This web page outlines some of those federal standards. Keep in mind that your state may have even more stringent standards. Also remember that even though the law may not disqualify you for a certain conviction, it may negatively impact your insurance rates and your ability to obtain or keep work. So even if you are not legally disqualified by the standards listed here, you may be practically disqualified by employers.

Most visitors to this site want to know about Speeding. Speeding can disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle. If you have a clean driving record, one Speeding ticket probably won't disqualify you. But a combination of moving violations like Speeding may. A second conviction of any combination of the following within a three year period could result in a 60-day disqualification:

  • Speeding (15 m.p.h. or more over the limit)
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper lane change
  • Following too close
  • Any violation involving a fatal accident
  • Driving without a license in possession
  • Driving without proper class or endorsement
  • Texting while driving
  • Cell phone violations

A third conviction of any combination of the above offenses within a three-year period could result in a 120-day disqualification.

More serious violations, such as alcohol-related offenses, carry stronger penalties. Specifically, any of the following could result in a one-year disqualification (three years if while transporting hazardous materials):

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The blood alcohol concentration in excess of 0.04 while operating a commercial motor vehicle ("CMV")
  • Refusing tests
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Commission of a felony while using CMV (Note: if that felony involves the illegal drug trade, the disqualification is for life, with no opportunity for reinstatement)
  • Driving a CMV while disqualified
  • Driving on a suspended, canceled or revoked CDL
  • Negligently causing a fatality while driving a CMV

A second conviction of any combination of the above offenses could result in disqualification for "life," which in most cases allows for reinstatement eligibility after ten years.

If you have received a traffic citation, the best way to protect yourself against increased insurance rates, license points/suspension, and negative impacts on your employment is to call an attorney experienced in handling cases like yours. 

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