CDL Defense Details
Dangerous Myths About CDL Suspensions and Disqualifications That Could Cost you your CDL
If you have a CDL, you know that the reasons the Texas Department of Public Safety (“TxDPS”) can suspend or disqualify your CDL are plentiful. Losing your CDL, even temporarily, can result in temporary or permanent loss of employment and/or future employment as a CDL driver. With so much at stake, it makes sense to try to fully understand what actions will or will not be considered a suspendable or disqualifying violation. Nobody wants to lose their CDL, but it can happen if you don’t understand what types of violations can result in a suspension. Being proactive can save you a lot of time, expense, and heartache.
Every day, we hear a lot of myths and untruths about CDL suspensions and disqualifications.
Myth 1: Since TxDPS sent me a letter notifying me of a disqualification, there’s nothing I can do.
This myth is totally untrue. The very purpose of the TxDPS letter is to notify you of their actions so that you can challenge their actions. As stated in the letter, you have 20 days from the date of the letter within which to request a hearing of the matter. Failure to request a hearing will absolutely result in a suspension or disqualification. Timely requesting a hearing will preserve your right to continue to fight TxDPS’s actions. If you do so, you will have your day in court and will have a full opportunity to defend yourself. The hearing will be scheduled in one of the Justice of the Peace courts in the county of your residence. You will be notified of the date and time of the hearing and should be provided with all evidence TxDPS has against you. With the risk of losing your CDL, you should consult with a qualified attorney with the experience to effectively defend you. TxDPS has attorneys and you should too.
Myth 2: If I did exactly what TxDPS accuses me of doing, my CDL will be suspended or disqualified.
FALSE! With all types of legal proceedings, the person or entity bringing the charge has the burden of proof. With disqualification hearings, TxDPS has the burden to present evidence of its’ allegation against you. Failure to do so mandates a dismissal of the proceeding. At Todd E. Tkach, P.C., evidence is only one of the things that we attack when defending a CDL driver against a TxDPS suspension hearing. There are procedural, evidentiary, jurisdictional, and common law issues that we carefully examine in our efforts to mount a successful defense. Our record of success is exceptional! Do not do this alone. We can help!
Myth 3: My CDL is suspended while I challenge TxDPS’s action against me.
This myth is untrue. If you timely request a hearing, the suspension or disqualification of your CDL is “stayed,” or stopped during the court battle. So, requesting a hearing of TxDPS’s attempt to suspend your CDL allows you to continue to drive for pay until the court makes a decision after a hearing.
Myth 4: If I lose my hearing, the judge can “probate” the disqualification of my CDL, so that I can continue to drive.
This myth is not true, but with a caveat discussed below. At a disqualification hearing, the judge will make an “Affirmative Finding,” or a “Negative Finding.” If the finding is Negative, you win and your CDL remains active. With an Affirmative Finding, your CDL will be suspended. The judge has no discretion to “probate” a “disqualification” of a CDL holder who violates the CDL disqualification statutes.
The caveat is this: TxDPS can probate an Affirmative finding with a CDL holder, but only for non-CDL “suspendable” violations. For example, all Texas drivers are subject to a suspension of their driver licenses for receiving 4 convictions in a 12-month period. This is commonly referred to as a “habitual violator.” The judge has discretion to probate an affirmative finding of a habitual violator, even if the habitual violator has a CDL. The judge loses the discretion to probate affirmative findings regarding CDL drivers only when a “disqualification” is sought as a result of a violation of the CDL “disqualification” statutes.
Myth 5: My Texas CDL can’t be suspended or disqualified for traffic violations occurring outside of Texas.
FALSE! As a Texas CDL holder, the State of Texas, and TxDPS, have the jurisdiction and statutory authority to suspend or disqualify your Texas CDL for out of state violations. All states report traffic violations in their State to the licensing authorities of out of State violators. So, don’t just pay your out of state tickets. Always retain legal counsel to try to avoid a conviction.
Myth 6: My Texas CDL cannot be suspended or disqualified for violations while driving a non-commercial vehicle.
Unfortunately, this is not true. Texas statutes make it very clear that CDL drivers suffer the same consequences whether driving a commercial vehicle or personal vehicle. Many times in the last 20 years or so, the Texas legislature has considered changing the laws to allow CDL holders to receive the same punishment as non-CDL holders for violations while driving their personal vehicle as opposed to a commercial vehicle. So far, the Texas legislature has refused to make the change.
Myth 7: I don’t need to fight some tickets because they won’t count toward a suspension or disqualification.
This is not true. Even the most innocuous appearing tickets, such as a parting violation, should be challenged. While there are some violations, standing alone, that will cause a suspension or disqualification, there are many others, that, if taken together within a specific time period, will cause a suspension or disqualification. For example, the Texas Transportation Code sets out a category of violations which it defines as “serious.” Having 2 serious violations in a 3-year period will cause a disqualification of a CDL. Likewise, 4 convictions of anything within a 12-month period can cause a suspension. Accepting a conviction of any traffic violation starts you on the road to a possible suspension or disqualification. So, don’t just pay a traffic ticket. Challenge them ALL!
Attorney, Todd E. Tkach Can successfully represent you at a CDL suspension/disqualification hearing.
Hire attorney Todd E. Tkach, to protect your CDL. Your livelihood is at stake. TxDPS has professionals representing their interests and you should too. With a proven track record of success, attorney Todd E. Tkach will aggressively attack the evidence against you and will painstakingly explore all possible defenses, including procedure, substance, evidence and common law. Just call us at 214-999-0595 to talk with one of our courteous staff members.
CDL Revocation, Suspension or Disqualification
In addition to defending you for your CDL violations, we can also defend your CDL itself in any revocation, suspension or disqualification action almost anywhere in the State of Texas. For further information, see the pages linked below.
For information about defending your CDL Violations, also see Our CDL Violations Practice.