If you have a commercial driver's license and you drive a truck for a living, it is very important to know exactly how any traffic infraction will affect your ability to keep your CDL in Illinois. Even a simple speeding ticket can largely affect your ability to continue driving in order to put food on the table for your family. As a truck driver, you can save more money by hiring our Chicago CDL Lawyers at Ktenas Law than what you normally spend on legal fees all on your own.
Currently, there are approximately 3.5 million people in the United States who have a commercial driver's license and every year thousands of individuals lose their CDL due to traffic infractions.
If you have a commercial driver's license, it is important to know exactly what types of traffic tickets and crimes will affect your ability to keep your CDL in Illinois.
Types of Commercial Drivers License in Illinois
You can have three different classifications of an Illinois commercial driver's license. The classifications are generally based upon the weight of the truck and will require you to pass a skilled and a knowledge test in order to obtain your CDL.
The three types of classifications are based upon the federal guidelines that are regulated nationwide. CDLs are regulated nationwide under the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Under federal guidelines, a CDL holder in Illinois can either have a Class A, B, or C commercial driver's license and each class has been characterized as the following under Federal and Illinois law.
Class A. Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Class B. Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle, not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
Class C. Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous. Note: A bus may be either Class B or Class C depending on whether the GVWR is 26,001 pounds or more.
It is important to know the weight and size of the truck that you are driving and make sure that you have the right CDL classification for the weight of the truck you are driving. If you do not follow the correct classifications you can face disqualification or even a revocation of your CDL.
For example, if you have a class B commercial driver's license and you are driving a truck that is carrying a load of 12,000 LBS, then your CDL can be suspended for 60 days if you have had a previous violation. It is very important to know the qualifications of your CDL and the weight of your truck and cargo at all times.
Types of violations that lead to disqualification of CDL in Cook County
In Illinois, a CDL violation that can lead to a suspension or revocation of your CDL privileges can be classified into one of several types of violations. The type of violation you receive will generally determine the type of suspension or revocation you will likely face. If you are faced with major or more serious Chicago violations, your CDL privileges will likely be revoked or even permanently disqualified. In order to successfully appeal a Cook County traffic ticket, you will need the help of an experienced CDL lawyer that specializes in Illinois CDL laws.
Disqualification for a major violation
If you have a commercial driver's license and have been charged with a major violation, you will be facing a one-year revocation of your CDL for a first-time violation and a lifetime revocation of your CDL for any second or subsequent violation.
If you are facing a lifetime ban of your CDL, you may be eligible for reinstatement after 10 years in certain circumstances. Remember in Illinois, before your CDL can be disqualified you will need to be convicted of these crimes. Simply being charged with a crime will not lead to the disqualification of your CDL. Here is a list of major violations that can lead to the disqualification of your CDL.
Being under the influence of alcohol under Illinois law
Being under the influence of a controlled substance
Refusing to take any field sobriety tests while being investigated for driving under the influence of alcohol
Leaving the scene of an accident
Using the vehicle to commit a felony
Driving a commercial motor vehicle when your CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle
Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a Commercial drivers license, (such as manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide)
Using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance
Serious traffic violations
If you have a commercial driver's license and you are charged with a classification of a serious traffic violation you will not be suspended for a first-time violation. If you have committed a serious traffic violation for a second time within three years, you are looking at a 60-day disqualification, and a third violation within three years will result in a 120-day disqualification.
All serious traffic violations must be served consecutively, which means that if you have a second and third violation within one week, you would be disqualified for 180 days total. Here is a list of serious traffic violations that can disqualify your commercial driver's license.
Violating Illinois law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with a fatal accident
Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a CDL
Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL in the driver's possession
Driving a commercial motor vehicle without the proper class of CDL
Railroad-highway grade crossing (RRHGC) offenses
If you have a commercial driver's license, there are specific guidelines and regulations that you must follow when it comes to crossing railroads. Driving through a railroad crossing is very dangerous for a truck because of the limited visibility of the approaching train and the length of a full semi-truck.
If proper procedures are not followed by CDL holders while crossing a railroad track, many people's lives can be in jeopardy. The first violation of RRHGC results in a disqualification of at least 60 days.
The second violation, within three years, results in a disqualification of at least 120 days. The third and subsequent violations, within three years, results in a disqualification of at least one year. The types of railroad-highway grade crossing offenses are as follows:
The driver is not required to always stop but fails to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train
The driver is not required to always stop but fails to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear
The driver is always required to stop but fails to stop before driving onto the crossing
The driver fails to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping
The driver fails to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing
The driver fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance
Specific CDL violations
There are specific violations that only apply to an individual with a commercial driver's license. Unlike the other violations listed above, CDL specific violations can only suspend an individual for a violation while they are using their CDL license. There are four major CDL specific violations.
Overweight. Vehicles must have specific permits if they carry an oversized load. Permits can be issued annually or per-trip and cannot be transferred from vehicle to vehicle. If you are charged with an overweight violation in Cook County, the fines can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on how much your vehicle was overweight.
Log Books. CDL drivers must have a logbook that is up to date and that reflects hours driven. If you falsify or fail to keep a logbook, you can be facing federal penalties, which are punishable by up to six months in jail.
Speeding while towing a trailer. If driving above 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, this can result in the suspension of a license.
Grade restrictions. A commercial driver who drives on a road where he or she is not permitted due to its grade (steepness) can be subject to penalties up to a 60-day license suspension for a first offense.
Knowing the types of disqualifications for the different types of commercial drivers licenses in Illinois is important in order to keep you on the road. If you have a commercial driver's license and have been charged with a traffic violation in Cook County, Illinois you should do whatever you can to avoid a conviction because it will have a serious impact on your CDL.
Even a simple speeding ticket that you received in a personal vehicle can disqualify your commercial driver's license. Seek help from an experienced CDL ticket lawyer.
Common questions that CDL holders have
Will a speeding ticket affect my commercial driver's license?
Yes, any moving violation including speeding will be considered a serious moving violation and will suspend your commercial driver's license.
How long does a speeding ticket stay on your CDL record?
A: Speeding tickets will always show up on your record but will only be counted as a previous violation for purposes of CDL disqualification for a total of 3 years. After three years, if you receive a second speeding ticket, you will be treated as if you only have one speeding ticket for purposes of disqualification.
How many points can you have on your license for CDL?
In Illinois, the disqualification of a CDL does not depend on the number of points on your record, but the number of serious or major traffic violations you have. Generally, you can only have one serious traffic violation within three years and keep your CDL. Two serious traffic violations (such as speeding) within 3 years will result in a 60 day CDL disqualification. Contact our Chicago CDL ticket lawyer to discuss your case free of charge.
How many points does it take to suspend a CDL?
In Illinois, your CDL will be suspended based upon the number of serious traffic violations or major traffic violations within a three year period.
Serious traffic violations
Potential revocation of CDL
Major traffic violations
One year suspension
Can you get a CDL with a speeding ticket?
Yes, as long as you do not have two speeding tickets within a three-year period you should be able to get your CDL.
One very important difference between a commercial driver's license and a regular driver's license is that with a CDL, even if you receive supervision on a speeding ticket, your license can still be suspended.
For a regular driver's license, supervision on a speeding ticket will have no impact on your license. For a CDL, even supervision can lead to your license being disqualified. Therefore it is important to drive safely and to keep your record clean.
Get Legal Advice From Your CDL Lawyer in Illinois
Knowing exactly how a traffic violation can affect your commercial driver's license is crucial to help you ensure that you are able to stay on the road and keep earning money for your family. If you have been charged with a CDL traffic offense in Chicago or anywhere within the state of Illinois, you may want to consider talking to an experienced traffic attorney to go over your options moving forward.