Drivers who are convicted of driving a semi truck without a CDL face several penalties, both in monetary form and in penalty points on their licenses.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed standards for testing and licensing Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers. This requires all states to issue Commercial Driver's Licenses only to those drivers that pass knowledge and skills tests administered by that state that relates to the type of vehicle to be operated.
There are three classes of CDLs – A, B, and C. The higher class CDL can drive vehicles in any of the lower classes as long as the driver has the correct endorsements.
Drivers who are found to drive commercial motor vehicles without the correct commercial driver's license can be expected to be charged with a misdemeanor.
The Federal penalty for those who violate the CDL requirements is a civil penalty of $2,500, or in aggravated cases, up to $5,000 and 3 months to 1 year in jail. An employer who knowingly allows an unlicensed driver to operate a CMV can be subject to a $10,000 fine.
In addition to the above penalties, a driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle without the proper commercial driver's license and the applicable endorsements will also have his/her license suspended for a period of 90 days.
Additionally, drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles are subject to tougher laws, since deferred adjudication or defensive driving courses can only be applied to non-commercial license holders in place of point accumulations on one's license.
Talk to a commercial driver's license attorney for a case review and for attaining legal advice regarding your options under commercial drivers' license laws.