CDL Drivers: Is That Simple Moving Violation a “Major Violation?”

If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you already know that you are not only subject to the State of Florida traffic laws, but also subject to Federal Code and Regulations. Because of this double set of statutes and regulations, if you receive a “minor” moving violation, certain dispositions that would have no bearing on your Florida Operators License, can have a devastating result in your inability to work and provide for your family – CDL Disqualification.

Most CDL operators realize that the following will result in the disqualification of a CDL permit, regardless if they are committed in a commercial motor vehicle or in a passenger car:

  1. Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol,
  2. Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Level .04% or higher,
  3. Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony,
  4. Refusing to take a breath, blood or urine test,
  5. Driving a commercial vehicle while CDL permit is suspended, canceled, revoked or disqualified,
  6. Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

Fla. Stat. §322.61(3).

In addition to the above reasons to support the disqualification of a CDL permit, Fla. Stat. §322.11 mandates suspension(disqualification) of CDL privileges due to certain driving offenses that occur in commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.

For example, if you are convicted of 2 of any of the following moving violations in separate incidents in a commercial vehicle in a 3-year period, you will be disqualified for 60 days. If you receive 3 such violations, then you will be disqualified for 120 days. If any of these violations occur in your passenger vehicle, and your operator’s license results in a suspension, then you are facing an additional CDL disqualification of either 60 or 120 days.

The following civil infractions can result in a CDL disqualification, even if the Court withholds adjudication (points), or you attend Defense Driving School through the exercise of the clerk’s option:

  1. Any violation of the traffic code resulting in death,
  2. Reckless driving,
  3. Unlawful speed >15 mph over the posted speed limit.
  4. Improper lane change,
  5. Following too closely,
  6. Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL,
  7. Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class, learner’s permit or proper endorsement,
  8. Driving a commercial vehicle without CDL permit in possession.

Fla. Stat. §322.61(1).

Further, Florida has a provision that if you qualify to elect traffic school pursuant to Fla. Stat. §318.14, and you properly elect that option, the moving violation will be dismissed. That does not help your CDL privileges. 49 C./F.E. Part 383.5 defines conviction to includes “ . . . the payment of a fine or court cost, . . . “. This provision has been interpreted by Florida DHSMV that either the court imposing a withhold of adjudication or the exercise of the clerk’s option to attend Defensive Driving School, amounts to a conviction for purposes of CDL qualifications.

For example, if in a period of 3 years you receive (1) Speeding ticket 15 mph, (1) Following Too Closely ticket, and (1) Improper Lane Change ticket in your commercial vehicle, and you go to traffic school 2 times, and convince the Traffic Judge to withhold the adjudication, you will have no points on your Operator’s License. You will, however, receive notice that your CDL permit has now been disqualified for the same three tickets in which you have received “0” points.

Because of this combined operation of Florida Law and United States Federal Code, and its drastic impact on CDL operator’s ability to drive a commercial vehicle to earn a decent wage, it is now more important than ever to consult with an experienced Tampa Traffic Attorney for even “Minor” traffic violations.

Call the Attorneys at Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897, for your FREE CONSULTATION, so that we can discuss the steps necessary to resolve your civil infraction in the best manner, and we will work to help you avoid a drastic impact on your CDL qualifications and your ability to provide for you and your family.

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