Traffic violations for commercial drivers license (CDL) holders in Iowa are more serious than those for holders of private driver's licenses. This is due to the fact that the state allows its court system to include out-of-state tickets and traffic offenses in its consideration when prescribing penalties. Fines for violations are contained in Section 321 of the Iowa Code.
Iowa does not distinguish between serious traffic infractions occurring in a private and commercial vehicle when identifying penalties. As a result, a CDL holder could find that in addition to their private license having points or being suspended, his commercial license has points and is suspended as well. This rule also applies in DUIs.
All moving and CDL-specific violations and DUIs occurring outside of Iowa can be factored into an Iowa court's punishment of an offender. This means that an individual can be considered a second-time offender based on a prior out of state violation, subjecting him to higher penalties.
In Iowa, moving violations include speeding, failing to stop and lane violations. Fines for speeding increase depending on the rate of speed by which the driver exceeded the limit. Exceeding the limit by one to five miles per hour carries a $20 fine, five to ten a $40 fine up to and for speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour above the speed limit, a $100 fine plus $5 for every mile per hour above 20. Failing to stop at a sign or red light and lane violations carry a fine of $100. These fines apply to commercial vehicles regardless of whether they were towing a trailer at the time of the offense.
Violations specific to commercial vehicles include failing to record log book entries as required, being overweight on a weight-regulated road and violating grade restrictions. Violations of log book and grade restrictions are penalized by a $200 fine. Weight restriction violations are penalized by a fine of $20 for each pound that the commercial vehicle exceeds the maximum weight limit for the road. These rules do not change depending on whether the commercial vehicle was towing a trailer at the time.
In Iowa, CDL holders are punished more severely for first and second DUI offenses. Typically, an individual convicted of a DUI in the state is fined a minimum of $1,250, has their license revoked for 180 days and is sentenced to jail for a minimum of two days. A second time offender receives a minimum of a $1,850 fine, seven days in jail and has their license suspended for a year.
CDL holders are subject to automatically losing their commercial license for longer than the normally prescribed period, regardless of whether they were driving a private or commercial vehicle at the time of the offense. A first time offender has their commercial license suspended for a year, and a second time offender permanently loses their license.
In addition to pleading guilty or not guilty to moving and traffic violations and DUI charges, Iowa allows CDL holders to enter into a plea agreement with the state's prosecution. However, because the Iowa Code prescribes the fines, jail sentences, license revocations and other penalties for these violations, it is likely that a plea agreement or court judgment will contain the same punishments. Iowa does not allow CDL holders to attend traffic school to reduce their penalties.
A not guilty plea takes the case to trial, during which time an attorney will defend their client by demonstrating how the evidence does not prove that the infraction happened. To dismiss the case, the arresting authority must have not filed any evidence for the case.
If you are a CDL holder and believe that a traffic charge pending against you will affect your commercial license, seek legal advice. A lawyer will review your case and discuss the state's penalties with you.