Connecticut CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

Those with a commercial driver's license are permitted to drive larger commercial vehicles or to transport a larger number of passengers. Because there is more risk associated with driving large vehicles or many passengers, you must meet stringent requirements to obtain a CDL. You are also held to a higher standard of care than the average driver on the road. As a result traffic violations can bring more consequences than just a regular ticket. You may even lose the commercial license.

Moving Violations and Your CDL

Connecticut expects you to obey the rules of the road. If you don't, you may face penalties, up to and including the loss of your license.

Serious traffic violations in Connecticut are defined as driving more than 15 miles over the posted speed limit, driving recklessly, changing lanes erratically and following the vehicle ahead too closely. Driving a CMV without actually having your CDL in your possession is also considered a serious traffic violation, though if you show proof by the court or fine date that you did indeed possess the proper license at the time the citation was given, you will not be found guilty.

If a driver commits 2 serious traffic violations while driving any motor vehicle in a 3-year period, the CDL license will be disqualified for at least 60 days. If 3 or more violations occur within a 3-year period, the license will be disqualified for at least 120 days.

Because of the Interstate Driver's License Compact, through which almost all states in the U.S. share information about driver's license violations and suspensions, out-of-state tickets or out-of-state license suspensions also affect your CDL.

CDL-Specific Violations

Some violations that do not apply to general drivers will affect holders of commercial driver's licenses. While the vast majority of the laws directly related to commercial drivers have been made on the federal level, these laws do apply to all Connecticut-based CDL holders. These laws include the following:

  • The International Registration Plan and the International Fuel Tax Agreement are federally mandated programs that CDL drivers must follow.
  • Your detailed logs must track fuel purchase locations and amounts, distances traveled and other matters.
  • Logbook violations could result in fines, penalties, suspension or removal of a license. Falsifying or failing to keep a logbook can result in federal penalties (for example, up to 6 months in jail).
  • Grade restrictions sometimes exist, prohibiting vehicles of a certain size or weight from driving on specific roadways. If you drive on a roadway in violation of grade restrictions, you can face up to a 60-day license suspension even for a first offense.
  • If you leave the scene of an accident that involves a CMV you were driving, or you commit a felony that involves the use of a CMV, your CDL will be disqualified for at least 1 year. The CDL will be taken for at least 3 years if such an offense is committed while you are driving a CMV carrying hazardous materials, and for life for a second offense of the same nature.

DUI Charges and Your CDL

DUI charges are also going to have a major impact on your CDL:

  • In Connecticut, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04 percent or higher, it is illegal for you to operate a commercial vehicle.
  • Your CDL will be removed for 1 year for a first offense for driving with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher.
  • If a second offense is committed, the CDL will be removed for life.
  • If any alcohol under 0.04 percent shows up in a driver’s blood during a test, that driver is not allowed to drive the CMV for 24 hours.
  • The law of Implied Consent states that if a driver is driving a CDL, he has already consented to take a chemical alcohol test. If you refuse to take the test, your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year. If it is a second offense for drunk driving and you refuse to be tested, your CDL is lost for life.
  • If you commit a felony involving drugs using a CMV, the CDL is removed for life.

Your Personal License and Your CDL

Under the laws of Connecticut, if your driver’s license to operate a personal vehicle is revoked, canceled or suspended, your CDL will also be revoked. You are not permitted to obtain a hardship license to drive a CMV in Connecticut.

Getting Help and Possible Defenses

If you are charged with a CDL violation, your driver's license--and ability to make a living--is at risk. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to explore any possible defenses that might exist. Your lawyer can help you identify any improprieties with your citation or arrest and assist you in raising a defense or exploring possible plea options.

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