In Virginia, all drivers are expected to adhere to the rules of the road. This is for their safety and the safety of others. It is especially true for those who drive for a living and have a commercial driver’s license, referred to as a CDL.
For drivers on a conventional driver’s license, a traffic offense or other illegal act can result in a suspension, fines and, if the infraction is serious enough, jail. CDL drivers might be confronted with similar penalties, but their thresholds for being charged are lower and losing their license can also mean losing their livelihood. It is essential to fight the charges to avoid the worst consequences.
Drivers can lose their CDL for many reasons
In Virginia, CDL drivers can face major violations, serious violations, out-of-service orders, imminent hazard orders and allegations of driving under the influence. Drivers operating a commercial vehicle who are convicted of a major violation will be disqualified or prohibited from using their CDL.
Major violations include registering at least a 0.04 blood alcohol content; refusing to submit to a breath or blood test when asked to do so; leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or fatality; committing a felony using the commercial vehicle; and making a false statement when applying for the CDL license.
These offenses will result in being disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If they happen while the driver has hazardous materials, it is a lifetime disqualification.
Serious violations are not as severe as the above-listed acts and the disqualification for a conviction is far shorter. Examples include texting and driving; exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 15 miles per hour; tailgating; and driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL.
The disqualification will be for 60 days if there are two convictions for serious violations within three years. It is 120 days for three or more within three years. For DUIs, the driver will be disqualified from holding a CDL for at least 60 days and it can extend the rest of their life.
With the potential penalties, CDL drivers should have a strong criminal defense
Drivers who are accused of any of these violations while operating a commercial vehicle could lose their livelihood and deal with an uncertain future. In some cases, such as a DUI, the investigation could have been problematic, the evidence might be faulty or there could be other issues to call it into question.
There are avenues to try and address these charges and keep a CDL. Contacting professionals who are experienced in DUIs, drug charges, traffic offenses and more can be vital to planning a criminal defense and reaching a positive result.