Tuesday, August 3, 2010

“BUT I’LL LOSE MY JOB!:” TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS AND THE COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE

If you drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), then getting stopped for a DUI or even a simple traffic violation can cost you your livelihood.

In Illinois, you can lose your commercial driver’s license (CDL) for at least one year if you are stopped for certain driving-related offenses, even if you weren’t in a CMV at the time! You may be penalized for refusing a breath or blood test, having blood alcohol of at least .04 when driving a CMV or at least .08 when driving a non-CMV. Furthermore, your CDL can be suspended if you knowingly leave the scene of an accident, commit a felony when driving any vehicle or if you drive a CMV on a revoked or suspended license. If you were driving hazardous materials when any of the above happened, you can lose your CDL for at least 3 years.

If you are convicted a second time, you can say good bye to your CDL for life, although the Secretary of State can under certain circumstances reduce the suspension to a period of 10 years.

Even less severe traffic offenses can play havoc with your CDL. You can lose your CDL for at least two months if you receive convictions for two serious traffic violations (such as speeding) within three years, and for at least four months if you have three convictions in three years, even though you weren’t driving a CMV at the time

If you continue to drive a CMV after the Secretary of State has issued an “out of service” order suspending your CDL, you can receive additional suspension penalties.

If you are stopped for any traffic-related offense, you should not speak about the incident to the police or anyone else, and you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your options. It is critical that you rigorously pursue any defense you might have if you wish to maintain your CDL. The State still has the burden of proof to show that you were guilty of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can help expose weaknesses in the state’s case. Even if your case seems hopeless, an experienced attorney may be able to work out a plea arrangement for a lesser offense, with a shorter suspension time.

If you are threatened with the loss of your CDL or have other questions, feel free to contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See our related DUI blog at http://duilawyerskokie.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves clients in the communities of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Palatine, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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