Have You Received a CDL Violation?

CDL drivers are quite unique; not only for the qualifications required to obtain and hold a commercial driver’s license, but also for the high standards to which they are held by traffic law enforcement. Those who hold a CDL are well aware that their livelihoods depend on maintaining an active and valid Commercial Driver’s License. Receiving traffic violations can quickly put a CDL license holder in serious jeopardy of losing their job, either because the licensing authority suspends their CDL or their insurance company refuses to insure them.

Have You Received a CDL Violation

All Texas driver’s licenses, including Commercial Driver’s Licenses, are issued by The Texas Department of Public Safety, which imposes severe penalties for CDL holders who are convicted of traffic violations. Not only are there significant financial penalties, but more importantly, there are temporary and lifetime suspensions of commercial driving privileges for convictions of certain traffic violations and/or a combination of traffic violations.

The Texas Transportation Code provides for 5 separate term lengths of CDL suspensions, including 60 days, 120 days, 1 year, 3 years and lifetime suspensions. As you can imagine, the more serious the violation and the more frequent, the longer the suspension. “Serious,” in fact, is the defined category of violations by the Texas Transportation Code that will garner a suspension. These violations include excessive speeding (15 m.p.h. over the limit), reckless driving, violations of laws involving motor vehicle traffic control, improper or erratic lane change, following too closely, and driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL. In a 3 year period, convictions of 2 of these violations is punishable by a 60 day CDL suspension; 120 days for convictions of 3 violations. Similarly, violations involving the operation of motor vehicles at railroad grade crossings are punishable by a 60 day CDL suspension for 1 violation and 120 days for 2 violations. The suspensions lengthen to 1 year, 3 years or lifetime for repeated violations and for certain violations involving, among other things, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony, and/or committing some of these violations when transporting hazardous cargo.

The problems for CDL holders in Texas is compounded by the fact that the courts are prohibited by law from offering plea agreements that don’t result in convictions. Some of the most common plea bargain agreements offered to non-CDL drivers are prohibited for CDL holders. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, 45.051(f) specifically precludes municipal courts and justice of the peace courts from deferring an adjudication of guilt for CDL holders who are charged with traffic violations. This includes ALL violations, including non-moving and non-serious violations. So, when faced with alleged traffic violations, the options for CDL drivers include either pleading guilty, which results in a conviction, or taking the case to trial, which may also result in a conviction. If the violation is “serious,” a CDL holder could be facing a CDL suspension. Even if the alleged violation is not a moving or serious violation, if convicted, a CDL holder may could face insurance rate increases, denials of coverage or termination from employment.

Insurance rate increases, CDL suspensions and loss of employment. The stakes for CDL drivers couldn’t be higher. If you have a CDL and have been charged with a traffic violation, you need an experienced attorney who can guide you through the Texas mine field of CDL traffic violation laws.

In spite of the overbearing laws and punitive environment of Texas courts, attorney, Todd E. Tkach has successfully dismissed thousands of CDL traffic violation cases throughout the State of Texas. The attorneys with the Law Office of Todd E. Tkach represent CDL drivers state-wide. With a firm command of the substantive and procedural laws regarding CDL holders, we carefully navigate the system to achieve the best results for our clients. In most cases, that involves completing the case without a conviction. We handle your case from beginning to end. In most cases, you will never have to appear in court. This is particularly attractive for those out-of-state CDL drivers, who would find it extremely difficult to return to Texas for a scheduled court hearing.

If you have a CDL and have received a traffic ticket, you know that you only have a few days to either pay the ticket or request a court setting before that traffic violation becomes a warrant for your arrest. Paying the ticket is not an option. It results in a conviction, which is the worst possible outcome. Don’t hesitate! Call us now for your free consultation.