Holders of a commercial drivers license (CDL) involved in a traffic infraction, violation or convicted of a DUI in Washington, D.C. may find their commercial license in jeopardy. Laws for commercial and non-commercial driving infractions are located in Title 50 of the District's Annotated Code.
The District permits its courts to consider traffic violations and DUI convictions from other states when penalizing an offender. This means that an individual convicted of an infraction or DUI in Washington, D.C. could be treated as second-time offender, making them subject to additional punishments.
In addition to considering out of state infractions, the District allows its courts to include penalties occurring while a CDL holder was driving a private vehicle against their CDL. Therefore, even if the offender was driving a private vehicle at the time of their infraction, they might lose their commercial license.
The District considers lane and grade restriction violations, speeding and failing to stop as moving violations. Punishment for these violations is in the form of fines established each year by the Board of Judges of the Superior Court of Washington, D.C. Lane and grade restriction violations and failing to stop are penalized by a fine up to a maximum of $500. Fines for speeding range from $75 to $200. Exceeding the speed limit by up to 10 miles per hour is punishable by a $75 fine, up to 15 miles per hour by a fine of $125 and up to 20 miles per hour by a $150 fine.
Reckless driving in the District includes any situation in which a driver exceeds the posted speed limit by 30 miles per hour or more, or commits other moving violations multiple times within a two-year period. In this circumstance, a first time offender is subject to a maximum of a $500 fine and has their license suspended for a maximum of three months, a second time to a maximum fine of $1,000 and a year-long license suspension, and a third time offender to a maximum fine of $3,000 and a three year license suspension. The court has the authority and discretion to revoke the offender's CDL as well as his personal driver's license. An individual committing a moving violation while transporting hazardous materials in the District automatically has their license suspended for three years.
Violating grade and weight restrictions or log book requirements in Washington, D.C. are CDL-specific violations, because they can only occur when a CDL holder is driving a commercial vehicle. These violations are punishable by fines up to a maximum of $1,000.
A CDL holder in the District can lose his CDL license for being convicted of a DUI, regardless of whether he was driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense. Penalties for first time DUI offenders include a maximum jail sentence of 90 days, a $300 to $1,000 fine and a six month license suspension. A second time offender is subject to a maximum of a year in jail, a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and a year-long license suspension. Offenders convicted of a DUI who have a CDL license automatically have their license suspended for a year for their first offense, and permanently for a second offense.
Washington, D.C. allows CDL holders convicted of moving or CDL-specific violations or a DUI to plead guilty, not guilty or enter into a plea agreement. Because license suspension provisions in the District are prescribed by its code, that punishment will remain the same regardless of how the CDL holder pleads. A CDL holder cannot attend driving school to reduce their sentence.
If the CDL holder takes their case to trial, they can obtain a dismissal of the case only if they demonstrate that the ticket issuing or arresting authority did not provide evidence of their alleged infractions. An attorney would try to prove that the evidence does not substantiate an infraction in their defense of a client.
If you have been charged with a moving, CDL-specific or DUI violation, seek legal representation. An attorney will discuss the District's laws with you, discuss whether the evidence supports the allegations and identify the penalties you might receive.