Commercial drivers throughout the nation rely on approval from their state licensing boards to operate legally. Typically, this is the Department of Motor Vehicles. Without a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), commercial drivers can't make a living and it can also mean the tens of thousands of dollars spent on vehicles, trucks, or even tractor-trailers just sinks down the drain. Without the ability to drive for work, commercial drivers can't realize that return on investment.
If your CDL is at risk, you need to speak with a professional license defense attorney-advisor right away. The Lento Law Firm is a national license defense firm that can help you protect your professional license and maintain the ability to work in any state.
How We Can Help Commercial Drivers Defend Their Licenses
The Lento Law Firm Team works with commercial drivers throughout the country, helping them to overcome challenges to their CDLs. Defending your commercial driver's license can be a process that's full of red tape and nuance. Often, it's a bureaucratic issue that requires patience, attention to detail, and strong communication skills.
When you're on the cusp of losing your CDL, you need someone who can act as an efficient and experienced go-between. Often, those in trouble are worried about too many other stressors, like bills and their future, to effectively communicate with the licensing boards of their state. An experienced license defense attorney-advisor will help you understand what your next best step should be, and how you can proceed in a manner that helps safeguard your CDL.
State Licensing Board Issues for Commercial Drivers
CDL holders can only be licensed in their home state, even if they drive cross country regularly. This means that each driver's situation can be different. States have varying rules for their CDL holders and what amounts to a ban in California may not carry the same penalty in Florida. Though the weight of the penalty may differ, generally the same acts will be considered a violation by any jurisdiction.
Issues that can result in suspension, banning, or revocation of your commercial driver's license include:
- Driving recklessly
- Drinking and driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Failure to service or maintain your vehicle
- Carrying unapproved cargo
- Weight violations
- Incorrect logging
- Medical records disclosure dishonesty
- Driving without insurance
- Refusal to submit to drug testing when required
- Accruing too many traffic points
What many don't realize is that you don't have to be operating in your professional capacity as a commercial driver to jeopardize your CDL. In California, you could lose your CDL even if you're convicted of a DUI while off the job. Neither do you have to be in your commercial vehicle when you commit the violation to lose your CDL. In fact, if you lose your regular driver's license, you'll probably also lose your CDL.
What to Expect if You're Investigated
If you're accused of committing an act that violates your CDL license, you'll be subject to investigation and discipline. Often, the traffic citation itself can serve as evidence that you committed the wrongful act. Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will enforce the disciplinary action involving your CDL. This primarily means they will revoke or suspend your CDL as they deem necessary.
Another issue to consider is that a violation in another state will count against you in your own home state where your CDL is registered. Accordingly, you can't ignore tickets, warnings, or other brushes with the law just because they occurred out of state. Doing so will only worsen the odds that you'll be able to keep your CDL in good standing.
Importantly, some states are considered Driver License Compact states while others aren't. Treatment of violations can differ depending on (1) whether you're licensed in a member state or not and (2) whether your violation occurred in a member state. For example, the Missouri Department of Revenue provides:
- “The ‘non-member states' (those that are currently not a member of the Driver License Compact) are Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Wisconsin. If a Missouri CDL driver fails to appear in court or pay for a traffic ticket received in a non-member state, Missouri will disqualify the driver upon notification from that state. The disqualification will remain in effect until Missouri receives notification that the driver has satisfied the ticket.”
How Long Can CDL Suspension Last?
The serious question most CDL drivers have pertains to the duration of the suspension. Using Missouri as an example again, CDL disqualifications are broken out as follows:
- 60 days
- 90 days
- 120 days
- 180 days
- 1 year
- 2 years
- 3 years
- Lifetime ban
The shorter bans lasting 60 to 120 days may be imposed when a commercial driver commits between two and three serious traffic violations within two years or three years, respectively. When a CDL holder commits a felony, drives under the influence, or acts in other ways that constitute a serious safety risk, they could face a multi-year ban.
The rules are strict, and often CDL holders aren't able to rely on driver improvement programs to reduce the ban.
National Professional Commercial Driver's License Defense
When you're facing a ban on your commercial driver's license, you need to act right away. The sooner you seek help from an experienced professional license defense attorney-advisor, the better. For example, many times the bans come after a driver has accumulated violations over the course of a few years. If you work with an attorney-advisor as soon as you receive notice of the first violation, you will be better positioned to avoid a future ban.
Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento and his dedicated Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm have experience defending licenses throughout the nation. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you protect your CDL, call 888-535-3686 or contact us online today.