Do You Have a Georgia Traffic Ticket and Have a Commercial Driver's License?
Georgia CDL Driver Traffic Ticket Lawyer - Georgia CDL Traffic Ticket Attorney
When a person has a CDL they must be far more careful than ordinary passenger vehicle drivers. Even what most consider minor traffic offenses can cause a suspension of a commercial driver's license and the loss of a person's very livelihood. When a CDL Driver is cited for a traffic offense, even while driving his personal vehicle, he must hire a Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyer as soon as possible.
If a CDL Driver pays his ticket online or pays his ticket in court, that is an admission of guilt. The consequences of admitting guilt to a Georgia Traffic Ticket can include the loss of a CDL license from anywhere from 60 days to a year depending on a person's record.
In convicted of DUI in Georgia, a CDL Driver will lose his license for a year for a first DUI and for life in the event of a second DUI. Additionally, a CDL Driver cannot drive a commercial vehicle on a limited permit or an ALS permit. A CDL Driver must be fully licensed in all situations in order to drive.
There is hope. No person charged with any traffic-related offense is automatically guilty of anything. Your Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorney can challenge the evidence against you. More commonly, your Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyer For CDL Drivers can negotiate an alternative punishment that will prevent the ticket from being reported on your driver's history. In the case of speeding, your Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorney For CDL Drivers can negotiate a reduction in the speed on your ticket so that the case is not reported on your motor vehicle record (MVR).
Richard Lawson has been defending CDL Drivers in Georgia more than 25 years. He is a Former Prosecutor and the top-rated DUI Defense Attorney in Georgia. His reviews can be found on Avvo. His team of Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyers For CDL Drivers will help you get an outcome that will save your license and your livelihood.
A Comprehensive Review Of Georgia's Commercial Driver's License Laws - CDL Laws:
A commercial driver's license is required in Georgia to operate a single vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating of over 26,000 pounds, vehicles designed to transport more than 15 persons, and any size vehicle which requires hazardous material placards.
The following drivers are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a commercial driver's license prior to operating a commercial motor vehicle:
- Active duty military personnel, members of the reserves and national guard on active duty (including personnel on full-time national guard duty), personnel on part-time training, and national guard military technicians (civilians who are required to wear military uniforms and are subject to the code of military justice);
- Firefighters and operators of emergency equipment operating vehicles equipped with audible and visual signals while in the employ of a volunteer or paid firefighting organization. Emergency equipment such as a fire truck, hook and ladder truck, foam or water transporter, or other vehicles used only in response to emergencies are included;
- Farm vehicle operators, provided, the vehicle is controlled and operated by a farmer, farm employee, or farmer's family member; used to transport either agricultural products, farm machinery, farm supplies, or both, to or from a farm; not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier; and used within 150 miles of the farmer's farm;
- Operators of recreational vehicles.
Commercial drivers are held to higher and stricter standards than other licensees. Both federal regulations and Georgia law establish the criteria for commercial disqualifications, which withdraw the commercial driving privileges. Commercial disqualifications are generally triggered by traffic-related offenses and these offenses are divided into four distinct categories:
- Major Traffic Offenses
- Serious Traffic Offenses
- Railroad Grade Crossing Violations
- Out-of-Service Order Violations
A limited permit is not available for operating a commercial vehicle. A nolo contendere plea will not be accepted for any conviction received in the operation of a commercial vehicle and will not prevent a disqualification or suspension.
Major Traffic Violations:
Major Traffic Violations will result in the disqualification of your commercial driving privileges for a minimum period of one year for any person regardless of license class, whether the offense was committed in a commercial vehicle or non-commercial vehicle, and if the offense was committed in a jurisdiction other than the State of Georgia. Major Traffic Violations include the following offenses:
- Driving a vehicle under the influence in violation of Code Section 40-6- 391;
- Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident in violation of Code Section 40-6-270;
- Failure to report striking an unattended vehicle in violation of Code Section 40-6-271;
- Failure to report striking a fixed object in violation of Code Section 40-6-272;
- Failure to report an accident in violation of Code Section 40-6-273;
- Except as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 40-5-151, any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used; Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the person's commercial driver's license or commercial driving privilege is revoked, suspended, canceled, or disqualified;
- Homicide by vehicle in violation of Code Section 40-6-393;
- Racing on highways or streets in violation of Code Section 40-6-186;
- Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer in violation of Code Section 40-6-395;
- Fraudulent or fictitious use of or application for a license as provided in Code Section 40-5-120 or 40-5-125;
- Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked, canceled, or suspended registration in violation of Code Section 40-6-15;
- Theft of a commercial vehicle or of the cargo contained thereon or therein as provided for in Code Section 16-8-12(a)(8); or
- Refusing to submit to a state administered chemical test requested by a law enforcement officer pursuant to Code Section 40-5-55.
A first conviction of any Major Traffic Violation will result in a one year disqualification of all commercial driving privileges. A second conviction within a five year period will result in a lifetime disqualification, unless the second conviction occurred as part of the same incident as the first conviction of a Major Traffic Violation.
A conviction for using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving the manufacturing, distributing, trafficking, or dispensing of a controlled substance will result in a lifetime disqualification that cannot be shortened or otherwise reduced even for a first offense.
If a Major Traffic Violation was committed in a commercial vehicle that was transporting quantities of hazardous material sufficient to require a placard you will face a three year disqualification for a first offense.
A lifetime period of suspension may be reduced to 10 years after an applicant furnishes proof of rehabilitation, approved by the Department of Driver Services.
Serious Traffic Violations:
Serious Traffic Violations may result in the disqualification of your commercial driving privileges for any person regardless of license class, whether the offense was committed in a commercial vehicle or non-commercial vehicle, and if the offense was committed in a jurisdiction other than the State of Georgia. Serious Traffic Violations include the following offenses:
- Speeding 15 or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit; Reckless driving;
- Following another vehicle too closely;
- Improper or erratic lane change, including failure to signal a lane change; Any traffic violation in connection with a fatal accident, excluding homicide by vehicle as defined in Code Section 40-6-393;
- A railroad grade crossing violation in a non-commercial motor vehicle; Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license;
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license in the driver's immediate possession; or
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license of the proper class and endorsements for the specific vehicle being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo transported; or
- Use of a wireless telecommunications device in violation of Code Section 40-6-241.2 while driving a commercial vehicle.
For a first conviction, there will be no disqualification. For a second conviction within a three year period as measured by the violation dates for the convictions, there will be a 60 day disqualification. For a third or subsequent conviction within a three year period, there will be a 120 day disqualification.
A second or subsequent conviction for a Serious Traffic Violation will not generate a disqualification if it occurred as part of the same incident as a previous conviction for another Serious Traffic Violation.
All Serious Commercial Disqualifications will run consecutively to any other Serious Commercial Disqualifications on record meaning that any other Serious Commercial Disqualification must end before the new disqualification will begin to run.
Out-of-Service Order Violations:
An out-of-service order is a temporary withdrawal of the privilege to operate a commercial vehicle and can be imposed against either the driver or the vehicle. Disqualifications for violating an out-of-service order will be applied when violations occur within a 10 year period as measured from the violation dates for the convictions.
For a first conviction for an out-of-service order violation, the disqualification is 180 days. For a second conviction for an out-of-service order violation, the disqualification is 2 years, or 3 years if the violation occurred while transporting quantities of hazardous material sufficient to require a placard or operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers. For a third or subsequent conviction for an out-of-service order violation, the disqualification is 3 years.
Railroad Grade Crossing Violations:
These offenses include:
- Failing to slow down and check the tracks are clear of an approaching train before proceeding;
- Failing to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear;
- Failing to stop before driving onto the crossing (if required to do so);
- Failing to leave sufficient space to drive completely through a railroad crossing without stopping;
- Failing to obey a traffic-control device or the directions of an enforcement official at a railroad crossing; or
- Failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.
A disqualification for a Railroad Grade Crossing Violation will be imposed when the violations occur in separate incidents within a three year period as measured from the violation dates for the convictions.
For a first conviction, the disqualification is 60 days. For a second conviction, the disqualification is 120 days. For a third or subsequent conviction, the disqualification is one year.
Failure to weigh a commercial vehicle at a weigh station when required will result in a 90 day suspension of non-commercial driving privileges as well as a 90 day commercial disqualification.
Hazardous Materials Endorsement:
If you require a hazardous materials endorsement you will be required to submit your fingerprints and will be subject to a background check.
An applicant for a hazardous materials endorsement must be one of the following:
- A citizen of the U.S. who has not renounced his/her U.S. citizenship;
- A lawful permanent resident of the U.S. as defined in section 101(a)(20) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101);
- A lawful non-immigrant in possession of valid, unrestricted employment authorization;
- A refugee admitted under section 8 U.S.C. 1157 in possession of valid unrestricted employment authorization;
- In asylum status under section 8 U.S.C. 1158 in possession of valid, unrestricted employment authorization
A driver will be disqualified from holding a hazmat endorsement if convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity within the last 7 years or was released from prison within the last five years for any of the following offenses:
- Assault with intent to murder;
- Kidnapping or hostage taking;
- Rape or aggravated sexual abuse;
- Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon;
- Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud;
- Immigration violations;
- Violations of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations);
- Act or a comparable state law of an Interim Disqualifying crime;
- Distributions of, possession with intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance (State laws vary on the quantity of marijuana required for the offense to be considered a felony. Typically, however, to be convicted of felony marijuana possession, a person must possess a quantity of marijuana greater than an amount considered for "personal use");
- Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these crimes
A driver will be permanently disqualified from holding a hazmat endorsement on a CDL if he or she was ever convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the following crimes:
- Any crime listed in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 113B – Terrorism or a comparable state law;
- A crime involving a severe transportation security incident (i.e., security incident involving a significant loss of life, environmental damage, transportation system disruption, or economic disruption in a particular area);
- Improper transportation of a hazardous material under 49 U.S.C. 5124 or a comparable state law (minor infractions involving transportation of hazardous materials will not disqualify a driver. For instance, no driver will be disqualified for minor roadside infractions or placarding violations);
- Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive device;
- Murder as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1111;
- Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these crimes;
- Violations of RICO (Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations) Act or a comparable state law of one of these Permanently Disqualifying crimes.
Other CDL Rules:
There are other federal and state rules that affect drivers operating commercial vehicles in all states. Among them are:
- Cannot possess more than one license;
- Requirement to notify your employer within 30 days of conviction for any traffic violations (except parking). This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were driving;
- Requirement to notify your motor vehicle licensing agency within 30 days if you are convicted in any other jurisdiction of any traffic violation (except parking). This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were driving. Requirement to notify your employer within two business days if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving;
- Requirement to give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job;
- Requirement to notify and surrender your hazardous materials endorsement to the state that issued your CDL within 24 hours of any conviction or indictment in any jurisdiction, civilian or military, if found guilty, or found not guilty by reason of insanity, of a disqualifying crime listed in 49 CFR 1572.103.
Never Pay Your Ticket Or Plead Guilty Without First Seeking the Help of Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorneys For CDL Drivers:
We are here to help. No situation is hopeless. Do not despair if you are charged with a traffic ticket, and you are a commercial driver. Hire the Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorneys at our office. Our Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyers will get to work right away to help resolve your case favorably. Remember, your case will not defend itself. Call now and we will put our experience to work for you.
Georgia CDL Resources:
Georgia Department of Driver's Services
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration