Illinois law places strict regulations on those who operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and own a commercial drivers license (CDL). CDL holders often rely on their license to work and can face severe hardship if they lose their driving privileges. One simple traffic ticket could cause your commercial driver’s license to be suspended for a year and your life to be upturned.
If you are a commercial driver’s license holder in Chicago and have been cited for a traffic ticket or serious traffic violation, seek legal help immediately. The consequences of CDL violations are severe and the only way to prevent your commercial drivers license from being revoked is by getting help from a strong defense attorney.
At Hirsch Law Group, we understand how tough life can be for CDL drivers, with long hours and difficult work schedules. Our lawyers understand that one simple mistake should not be enough to lose your job and be without a means of income. Our law firm represents CDL drivers throughout Chicago and Illinois fighting against serious traffic violations.
We have a team of Chicago CDL lawyers who have a deep understanding of local law and regulations, and significant experience defending against traffic violations. Our team of former prosecutors has the skills to get your license reinstated and get a positive outcome in your case.
Call us today at 312-967-0275 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced CDL lawyer.
Commercial Driver’s License Chicago
Separate from a personal vehicle, an individual is required to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for a commercial motor vehicle, which includes vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds, carry 16 passengers or more, or carry hazardous materials. Illinois law holds those with a commercial drivers license to a much higher standard than those with a standard driver’s license.
This is because an individual must undergo training and have specific experience and skills to get a commercial driver’s license. As a result, if you are cited for a traffic violation in Chicago with a CDL license, you are subject to much harsher penalties. The problem with harsher penalties for CDL holders is that these individuals rely on their licenses to make a living. As a result, harsh penalties can have an enormous impact on the life of a commercial driver.
Chicago CDL Traffic Violations
Under Illinois law, there is a difference between major traffic violations and serious violations. Major violations are regarded as more serious and carry harsher penalties. However, if you are convicted of two serious traffic violations within three years, you may be subject to the same penalties as a major violation.
There are several major violations that can cause an automatic suspension of your commercial driver’s license for at least one year, including:
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a suspended, canceled, or revoked license.
- Leaving an accident scene.
- Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony offense, which includes distributing, manufacturing, or dispensing a controlled substance.
- Causing a fatal accident through negligent driving.
In addition to the above, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) will also amount to a major traffic violation for CDL drivers. Under Chicago law, regular drivers have a legal limit of 0.08% under the law. However, for a CDL holder, the legal limit is 0.04%.
If you are caught operating a commercial motor vehicle or a regular vehicle with a blood alcohol content higher than 0.04%, you will face criminal penalties plus a license suspension for one year. Commercial drivers will also face an automatic suspension if they refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test or take part in a field sobriety test at a traffic stop.
Serious Traffic Violations
Serious violations are less serious than major violations under the law. However, depending on the circumstance and the particular violation that you are accused of, you could face serious penalties. Some examples of Chicago CDL serious violations include:
- Speeding – A speeding ticket in which the individual was driving 15 miles or more over the posted speed limit will amount to a serious violation.
- Reckless driving.
- Distracted driving.
- Improper lane usage
- Violating a motor vehicle traffic control law (except for a parking violation), such as texting while driving or using a telephone.
- Driving too close to the vehicle ahead.
- Operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL.
- Operating a commercial vehicle without the correct class of CDL.
- Operating a commercial vehicle without the CDL license in your possession.
A first-time serious traffic violation may not result in any penalties relating to your Chicago CDL license. However, if you are convicted of two serious traffic violations or more within a certain time period, you will be subject to harsh penalties and face license suspension or revocation.
Consequences of a Chicago CDL Traffic Violation
Commercial driver’s license violations can have serious consequences. The severity of the consequences depends on the type of violation you are accused of, the number of previous violations you have committed, and how serious the violation was.
A minor traffic ticket may affect your employment, insurance rates, and your Chicago driving record. However, more serious violations can cause severe consequences that massively affect your life.
As the law considers major violations to be more severe than serious violations, there are harsher consequences. If convicted of a major violation, such as a DUI or leaving the scene of an accident, you will receive an automatic one-year suspension of your commercial driver’s license.
If you are convicted of a second major violation, your CDL license will be suspended for life. A CDL holder can be convicted of a major violation while driving both a non-commercial vehicle and a commercial vehicle.
Besides license suspension, an individual may also face criminal consequences for a major violation. If convicted of a DUI, for example, a person may face fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, and a criminal record.
For leaving the scene of an accident, a CDL holder could be charged with a Class 4 felony. The penalties for a Class 4 felony include a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one year, which can be extended up to three years, and a maximum fine of $25,000. A felony conviction will also create a permanent criminal record, which can affect your ability to find a job, apply for a loan, get child custody, and vote in elections.
Serious Traffic Violations
Most initial serious violations do not result in a loss of commercial driving privileges. However, if you are convicted of two serious traffic offenses within a three-year period, your CDL license could be suspended for 6 months. Being convicted of four violations within a three-year period can cause an automatic disqualification for 120 days.
A CDL license suspension means that you lose all commercial driving privileges and cannot take part in employment that involves driving a commercial vehicle. An individual can still drive using their regular license, depending on the type of violations they are convicted of.
Being convicted of a serious traffic violation can cause job loss, an increase in insurance rates, and difficulty finding new employment within the commercial industry. It is vital that you contact an experienced traffic attorney if you have been cited for a CDL violation in Chicago.
Railroad and Highway Grade Crossing Offenses
Will County, along with other counties in Northern Illinois, is strict when it comes to any railroad crossing violations due to the amounts of people who die on railroads every year. Any violation that involves taking improper actions while crossing a railroad could result in a CDL suspension for no less than 60 days for the first offense. Railroad and highway-grade crossing offenses can include:
- Failure to slow down to see if tracks are clear before crossing
- Failure to stop before driving onto the crossing (if the tracks are not clear)
- Failure to stop and wait until enough space is available, to prevent stopping on the tracks
- Failure to obey a traffic control device
How a Chicago CDL Ticket Lawyer Can Help
Fighting against Chicago CDL traffic violations can be extremely difficult. The law places high standards on commercial drivers and is tough on those who commit traffic infractions or crimes during work. Like all crimes and violations in Chicago, it is your word against the police officers, and their priority is to get you convicted.
The only way to protect yourself against a CDL traffic violation is by hiring an experienced Chicago CDL ticket attorney. An attorney can help you by investigating your case, assessing whether the stop was legal, figuring out whether your rights were violated, and gathering evidence to support your innocence. They will then use this evidence to build a defense on your behalf and fight against the violation claims.
The most important thing in these cases is to have a representative that understands your situation and can protect your best interests.
Contact a Chicago IL CDL Violation Lawyer at Hirsch Law Group!
If you are a commercial driver in Chicago that has been charged with a moving violation for breaking state or local law, contact our Chicago CDL ticket lawyers immediately. Inaction can cause a loss of your commercial driving privileges, which means you will be unable to work and earn a livelihood. The stakes are high in CDL violation cases, and the law is tough on commercial drivers.
The Chicago CDL lawyers at Hirsch Law Group have the experience and skills necessary to fight against the alleged traffic offenses and help keep your commercial license. Our lawyers understand the stakes are high, and we will do everything in our power to avoid license suspension and criminal penalties. This includes investigating your case, building a Mitigation Packet to support your defense, and fighting against a conviction.
A serious traffic offense can cause your CDL privileges to be lost for a long time. The only way to prevent this is by hiring strong legal representation to defend your case.
Call Hirsch Law Group today to schedule a free consultation at 312-967-0275.