A commercial drivers license (CDL) holder in Mississippi may find his CDL in jeopardy for traffic violations or a DUI, regardless of whether he was driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the infraction. This is because, in the state, penalties for violating driving laws apply to both a commercial and private license.
Mississippi law allows its courts and administrative agencies, such as the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, to consider a convicted offender's prior moving violations when prescribing their penalty. This means that a previous speeding ticket or DUI conviction will be factored into the offender's driving record and incorporated into the punishment he receives from a Mississippi court.
Like other states, Mississippi does not distinguish between violations occurring in private vehicles from those occurring in commercial ones. This means that the penalties attached to an offender's private drivers license also attaches to his commercial one.
Speeding, failing to stop and illegal lane changes are considered moving violations in Mississippi. Title 63 of the state's code only sets a maximum fine of $500, but leaves the exact fine amounts up to individual counties. The average fine for exceeding the limit by five miles per hour is approximately $80. Mississippi law, however, requires that drivers of commercial vehicles exceeding the speed limit by 15 miles per hour or more receive a fine of one and half times the prescribed amount. These fines apply regardless of whether the CDL was towing a vehicle at the time of the violation.
A CDL-specific is one that can only be committed by a commercial vehicle. This includes exceeding weight or grade restrictions and log book violations. Overweight commercial vehicles are fined for each pound they exceed the maximum permitted amount. The specific amount of the fine is established by each county. The average fine for overweight trucks, however, is $200. The average charge for grade violations is $200. The failure to record log book entries is punishable by a $178 fine and the falsification of log book entries $378.
Like most states, Mississippi penalizes second-time DUI offenders more harshly than first time offenders. The penalties for a first DUI include a maximum of 48 hours in jail, a fine between $250-1,000, and a 90 day license suspension. A second-time DUI is punishable by a minimum of five and a maximum of a year in jail, a fine between $600-1,200, and a two year license suspension.
CDL holders in Mississippi are subject to a year suspension of their commercial license for a first DUI and a lifetime revocation of their commercial license for a second DUI conviction. These penalties are prescribed in addition to any penalties levied against a personal driver's license and apply regardless of whether the CDL holder was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense.
Mississippi does not allow CDL holders convicted of a traffic violation or a DUI to attend a driver improvement course to reduce the extent of the penalties levied against them. Additionally, it does not allow them to enter into a plea agreement for any serious traffic infractions or DUIs occurring while driving a commercial vehicle.
Allegations of a DUI or a ticket are only dismissible if the ticketing agency did not file any evidence of the infraction. During a trial, a CDL holder or his attorney will defend himself or his client by showing how the evidence does not support the allegations.
If your CDL is in jeopardy because of a traffic ticket or DUI charge, seek legal representation. An attorney will review the facts of your case, the state's penalties against commercial licenses, and discuss with you the punishments you may receive.