Criminal Defense Lawyer Norfolk, VA and throughout Hampton Roads
Criminal Defense Lawyer Norfolk, VA and throughout Hampton Roads

What Happens to Your CDL if You’re Charged With a Crime in Virginia

You need the right defense lawyer to protect your livelihood

In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), additional tests and standards must be met that are above and beyond getting a regular driver’s license. Commercial motor vehicles (CMV) are often much bigger and heavier than non-commercial motor vehicles and sometimes transport hazardous materials. For these reasons, CDL holders are held to a higher standard than non-CDL holders and can have their endorsement disqualified for different convictions.

If you’re a commercial driver facing a DUI charge or another criminal traffic violation charge, then, you could have a lot on the line. In addition to jail time, fines, and suspension of your regular driver’s license, even a single criminal conviction can have massive consequences for your CDL. This can affect your ability to earn a living and your overall independence and quality of life. That’s why you need to talk to the experienced CDL defense attorneys at Welch & Wright, PLLC right away.

Types of charges that can cause your CDL to be suspended disqualified

1-year Disqualification Offenses

If you are convicted of any of the following violations, your CDL will be disqualified for one year. Note that this applies whether you committed the offense while driving a commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle (if applicable).

  • Driving with a BAC of .04 or greater (CDL DUI)
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs
  • Refusal of breath and/or blood test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run)
  • Using a vehicle to commit a felony
  • Driving a CMV when CDL is suspended, revoked or cancelled
  • Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV
  • Making a false statement on any application for a commercial driver’s license
  • Falsifying a urine test

The disqualification increases to three years if you were convicted of any of these offenses while transporting hazardous materials.

If you are convicted of any of these offenses a second time, your CDL will be permanently revoked – this is a lifetime disqualification.

Manufacture or Illegal Distribution of Drugs

You can also receive a lifetime disqualification if you are convicted of using a commercial motor vehicle in the manufacture or illegal distribution of drugs.

Out-of-Service Orders

If you are convicted of violating an out-of-service order while operating a commercial vehicle designated to transport 16 or more passengers (including driver), you will be disqualified from holding a CDL for two years. For second and subsequent out-of-service order violations, your CDL will be disqualified for five years.

Involuntary Manslaughter

If you are convicted of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter where a death occurred as a direct result of the operation of a CMV, your CDL will be disqualified for five years.

Serious Traffic Violations

The “serious” traffic violations for CDL purposes include:

  • Driving 15+ miles per hour in excess of the posted speed limit
  • Reckless driving
  • A violation resulting in a fatal traffic crash
  • Improper or erratic lane change
  • Following too closely
  • Driving a CMV without CDL
  • Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver’s immediate possession
  • Texting while operating a CMV

If you are convicted of two of these violations within a three-year period, your CDL will be disqualified for 60 days. If you are convicted of three or more within a three-year period, your CDL will be disqualified for 120 days.

CDL Driving Record Points

The Virginia DMV can also suspend your CDL for accumulating too many driving record points in certain period of time. If you have accumulated 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months, the DMV will suspend your CDL for 90 days. After the suspension period, the CDL holder will be placed on a 6-month probationary period where any moving violation could result in another suspension, followed by another period of probation. This can be a tough cycle to get out of once it has begun.

Our attorneys will fight to protect your CDL

If you need a CDL to do your job, then the stakes are high if you’ve been charged with a criminal traffic violation. Your career is in danger, and with it, your ability to earn a living and support your family. As your defense attorneys, we will take into account the implications for your CDL when planning your legal strategy. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to get your charges reduced to an infraction that doesn’t affect your CDL or at least results in a shorter suspension. We are also prepared to go to trial and fight for your rights in court.

Take immediate action to protect your future if you’ve been charged with DUI or another criminal traffic violation. Give us a call or contact us online today for a free consultation with a skilled Virginia CDL defense attorney.

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