Written by attorney Martin Samuel Lascola

Truck Drivers - Why Their CDL is Always at Risk

Defending the Commercial Driver – Things Every Truck Driver Should Know Those individuals who possess a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) face more severe consequences for moving violations than the general public. Contrary to popular belief, CDL holders are not just at risk during the operation of their commercial vehicle. Those who hold a CDL are under the same scrutiny even while operating their personal vehicles. This means that the CDL holder is always at risk of adverse license consequences. Here at Gardi & Haught, Ltd. we can assist commercial drivers in defense of their moving violations and/or other allegations such as DUI or Reckless Driving. Our goal is to assist the commercial driver, and help to protect CDL privileges. A disposition of “Court Supervision” on many petty traffic charges may not be helpful if you possess a CDL. The Illinois Secretary of State has a list of common violations that would be considered convictions for the CDL operator even if they receive a disposition of Court Supervision. Our attorneys work to defeat these allegations or (if the allegation cannot be effectively challenged) aim to achieve an amendment of the ticket from a moving violation to a non-moving violation or equipment violation. Probably the safest non-moving violations to replace a moving violation would be a charge of “unsafe equipment” 625 ILCS 5/12-101 or “defective windshield” 625 ILCS 5/12-501. Dispositions that involve non-moving violations avoid adverse consequences to the license of the commercial driver. The offense of DUI has a far greater impact on those that hold a CDL versus the general public. Those who possess a CDL risk the Disqualification (DQ) of their commercial driving privileges. Instead of .08 which applies to a standard motorist, .04 is the threshold limit CDL operators face. A DQ is a sanction placed upon the commercial driver by the Illinois Secretary of State that (if upheld) disallows a CDL holder to perform his/her job for a set period of time (typically for 12 months). For instance, if a commercial driver is either found guilty or incurs a summary suspension as a result of a DUI allegation, a 12-month Disqualification of the CDL privileges will be imposed. This means that in order to avoid a DQ for a CDL operator, both the summary license suspension and the DUI must be beaten. Obviously, this is a difficult task and requires an experienced DUI defense attorney to achieve this result. For those CDL operators that consent to breath testing and blow above a .04, but below a .08 (even if the DUI is beaten in court and no statutory summary suspension was imposed) there is still a DQ for a period of 12 months because the .04 result would be reported to the Illinois Secretary of State because the motorist holds a CDL. CDL operators have a right to challenge the DQ of their CDL privileges, but a request for an Administrative Hearing must be requested to assert a challenge to the accuracy of the breathalyzer test and/or other issues that may warrant a removal of the DQ. These Administrative Hearings are conducted at select facilities of the Illinois Secretary of State. Our efforts are geared toward avoiding Disqualification of CDL privileges so that the commercial driver can maintain a clean driving record and protect their jobs. Here at Gardi & Haught, Ltd., we handle all types of traffic allegations for CDL holders from simple or petty traffic offenses up to allegations of DUI, Reckless Driving, or any other serious violation contained in the Illinois Vehicle Code.

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