A holder of a commercial drivers license (CDL) in Louisiana may receive higher penalties for moving violations, particularly those related specifically to commercial vehicles. Chapter 32:414.2 of the state’s revised statutes mainly deals with penalties for CDL holders. Chapter 14:98 prescribes penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Impact of Out-of-State Violations
Louisiana CDL holders who violate another state’s traffic laws may find their CDL license in peril. Louisiana courts, Office of Motor Vehicles and Department of Public Safety and Corrections, all of which prescribe punishments for traffic law violations, are statutorily permitted to consider violations occurring in other states. This means that a Louisiana CDL holder could find himself penalized as a second-time offender for in-state violations based on having a previous, out-of-state violation on their record.
Louisiana considers speeding regardless of whether towing a trailer, failing to stop at a stop sign or red light, or engaging in lane violations or moving violations. Generally, speeding is punished by $20.00 for each five miles per hour that the driver exceeds the posted speed limit. Speeding more than 15 miles per hour above the limit is considered a serious infraction, as are lane violations by commercial vehicles. Lane violations include following too close, illegally switching lanes or driving a commercial vehicles on a road prohibited to do so. Fines for lane violates can be as high as $500.
CDL license holders are also subject to license suspension for moving violations. A first offense results in a 60 day suspension, a second an 120 day suspension, and a third a year-long suspension. If the CDL holder was towing hazardous materials when they committed the offense, they are subject to a three year license suspension.
In Louisiana, CDL holders can violate commercial driving rules. These violations include being over-weight and grade restrictions. Both of these violations are subject to a maximum fine of $1,000, plus court costs. Additionally, a first offender is subject to a 60 day license suspension, a second offender a 120 day, and a third offender a year license suspension. CDL holders transporting hazardous materials at the time of their offense are subject to a minimum of a three year license suspension. There is no penalty for log book violations in Louisiana.
Louisiana increases its normal penalties for a DWI for CDL holders convicted of one, regardless of whether the DWI occurred while the offender was driving a commercial vehicle or the offense occurred out-of-state. Penalties for a first DWI include up to six months in jail, a maximum of a $1,000 fine and a 90 day license suspension. A second DUI is penalized by a minimum of 48 consecutive hours in jail, a maximum of a $1,000 fine and, for CDL holders, a mandatory lifetime CDL revocation.
Defending the CDL
Except for mandatory license suspensions and revocations, a CDL holder in Louisiana can defend their license by attending alcohol abuse and driving classes. However, the only way to defend against or dismiss a charge in court is by proving that the evidence does not support the charges or that there is no evidence of the violation. An attorney in Louisiana will likely try to prove either or both of these evidentiary failings to defend their client.
Getting Legal Advice
If your CDL is in jeopardy in Louisiana because of moving violations or a DWI, see the advice of an attorney. A lawyer will review the charges and evidence against you and discuss how the state laws could affect your commercial license.