Georgia CDL Violations
Traffic violations and DUI charges are serious, no matter the situation, but can cause even more problems if you have a CDL. Commercial drivers are held to strict standards under Georgia law and federal regulations. Most CDL drivers depend on having their license in order to make a living. Therefore, when charged with a DUI or other traffic violation, it may affect your career and the status of your license. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI or charged with a serious traffic offense as a commercial driver, you need representation immediately. Our Georgia CDL Attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience. Call now for a free evaluation.
Offenses That Can Trigger a Disqualification of Your CDL
The severity of your consequence depends on the type of traffic ticket you receive. Some offenses will disqualify you from keeping your CDL and from ever applying for one again. Drivers with a CDL may find their license disqualified if charged with a crime in one of these categories:
- DUI with a CDL
- Serious Traffic Offense
- Major Traffic Violation
- Railroad Crossing Offense
- Out-of-Service Order Violation
Have You Been Charged with DUI as a CDL Driver in Georgia?
Bus drivers, truck drivers, and other people with a CDL are held to a higher standard than non-commercial drivers, especially when it comes to impaired driving. A drunk or impaired commercial driver not only poses a serious threat to public safety but also is a serious liability to his or her employer.
For a first lifetime DUI, your CDL can be suspended for up to one year. For a second lifetime DUI, you may face a lifetime CDL suspension. It is important to understand that these penalties apply even if you were driving your personal, non-CDL vehicle.
For CDL drivers, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .04. This is half the Georgia BAC limit. If pulled over on suspicion for DUI, commercial drivers also face harsher penalties if they refuse to submit to a blood test. Their refusal is essentially the equivalent of pleading guilty to DUI, which is not the case with non-commercial drivers.
The Implied Consent Notice for Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles reads as follows:
The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate the presence of any alcohol, you will be issued an out-of-service order and will be prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for 24 hours. If the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?
CDL Serious Traffic Violations in Georgia
A conviction for a serious traffic violation may result in the disqualification of your commercial driving privileges. It is immaterial whether the crime occurred in the commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle or if the offense occurred somewhere other than the State of Georgia. Serious traffic violations include the following crimes:
- Speeding 15 or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit;
- Reckless driving;
- Improper or erratic lane changes;
- Following a vehicle too closely;
- Any traffic violation in connection with a fatal accident, excluding homicide by vehicle as defined in Code Section 40-6-393;
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license or having a CDL in the driver's possession;
- 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 the first conviction of a serious traffic violation, the driver's CDL will not be disqualified. However, if you have committed two serious traffic violations within three years, 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 would 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 begins to run.
Major Traffic Violations for CDL Drivers in Georgia
Some traffic violations are considered major and can result in the disqualification of your CDL. Similarly to serious traffic offenses, it is a crime regardless of whether it occurred in a commercial vehicle or non-commercial vehicle or if the offense occurred outside of Georgia. The following crimes are considered major traffic violations:
- 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;
- 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.
If one of the offenses above occurs while you are operating a commercial vehicle that is transporting hazardous materials, you will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years.
The first conviction of any major traffic violation will result in a one-year disqualification of all commercial driving privileges. A second conviction 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.
While federal regulations allow states to consider the re-issuance of commercial driver's licenses after 10 years on a lifetime disqualification, the State of Georgia will not reinstate commercial driving privileges after a lifetime disqualification for any reason.
Railroad Crossing Violations
Commercial drivers are required to adhere to specific laws regarding railroad-highway grade crossings. These violations include violation of a federal, state, or local law pertaining to one of the following offenses at a crossing:
- Failing to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear;
- Failing to slow down and check the tracks are clear of an approaching train;
- Failing to stop before driving onto the crossing;
- 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.
For a first violation, you will lose your CDL for 60 days. A second violation within three years will result in a disqualification for 120 days. For a third or subsequent violation within a three-year period, the disqualification is one year.
Georgia Out-of-Service Order Violations
Out of service criteria defines a set of physical conditions under which a commercial motor vehicle or commercial driver may be placed out of service. An out of service violation removes the driver and/or the vehicle out of service.
For the first conviction for an out-of-service violation, there will be a 180-day disqualification. 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.
Contact Us Today
A commercial DUI or serious traffic violation not only carries the usual fines and other penalties similar to a non-commercial charge, but it can wipe out one's livelihood. You need experienced and knowledgeable representation if charged with DUI or a serious traffic offense. Our office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call now for a free case evaluation.