Minnesota CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

A commercial drivers license (CDL) holder in Minnesota can have his commercial license penalized for traffic violations and DUI convictions occurring while he was operating a personal vehicle. In the state, the majority of penalties for CDL holders violating driving laws conform to the United States Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R), which regulates commercial driving.

Out-of-State Violations

Minnesota does not distinguish between in-state and out-of-state traffic tickets. This means that if an offender has previously been convicted of a traffic violation or DUI, he could be penalized as a second-time offender in the state.

Minnesota also does not distinguish between violations occurring in a commercial or non-commercial vehicle. This means that an offender driving a private vehicle under their personal and driver's license may have their CDL penalized regardless of the fact that they were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the infraction.

Moving Violations in Minnesota

Minnesota considers failing to stop, lane violations and speeding to be moving violations. These violations are penalized by fines which are established by the county's legislature. Because of this, fines throughout the state differ. However, the average fine for failing to stop is $378, particularly if the failure occurred at a railroad crossing. The average fine for exceeding the speed limit is $170. Speeding in a work or school zone carries an average fine of $212. These fines apply regardless of whether the vehicle was towing a trailer at the time.

CDL-Specific Violations in Minnesota

CDL-Specific violations include log book violations, towing a trailer that is heavier than the state allows on a particular road and violating grade restrictions. According to the C.F.R. log book violations are penalized by a $178 fine for failing to have one in the commercial vehicle and $378 for false entries.

The penalties for violating weight and grade restrictions are set by the county. A CDL holder is penalized an average of $200 for each infraction. These rules apply regardless of whether the CDL holder was transporting a trailer at the time of the infraction.

DUI Violations in Minnesota

Minnesota prohibits any CDL holder from operating a commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .04 percent or higher. The penalties for a CDL holder convicted of a first DUI include both the typical punishments, but also the suspension of the CDL. Penalties include up to 90 days in jail, a maximum of a $1,000 fine, a 90 day suspension of the personal driver's license and a year suspension of a CDL. A second DUI is penalized by a maximum of a year in jail, as much as a $3,000 fine, a 180 day private license suspension and a lifetime revocation of the CDL.

Defending a CDL Holder

Minnesota does not allow CDL holders to attend drivers education or alcohol treatment programs (in the case of a DUI) to reduce the fines and other penalties they receive. Additionally, it does not allow CDL holders to enter into a plea agreement with the state's prosecution. This means that a CDL holder must plead guilty and accept the court's punishment, or not guilty and take their case to trial. Additionally, a case cannot be dismissed unless the prosecution or arresting authority fails to provide any evidence to the court. During trial, an attorney or a CDL holder will attempt to demonstrate that the evidence does not support the accusations against the CDL holder.

Getting Legal Advice

If traffic infractions or DUIs threaten your CDL, seek legal advice. A lawyer will review your case and Minnesota's laws, and discuss the potential penalties you could receive and how to best defend yourself.

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