Nebraska law punishes a commercial drivers license holder (CDL) more severely for traffic infractions or DUI convictions. These harsher punishments apply regardless of whether the CDL holder was operating a commercial or private vehicle at the time of the infraction or if the violation occurred out-of-state.
A “foreign” traffic violation is any violation occurring in another state. Nebraska law allows its courts to include foreign violations when prescribing an offender’s penalties. This means that a CDL holder could be punished more severely for having a previous, out-of-state traffic conviction.
Nebraska does not differentiate between infractions occurring while a CDL holder was driving a private vehicle and those when he was operating a commercial vehicle. Therefore, any moving violation or DUI conviction will impact a commercial license.
In Nebraska, moving violations include speeding, illegal lane changes and failing to stop at a red light or sign. Punishments for these violations are established in the state’s statutes. The fine for exceeding the speed limit by up to five miles over the established limit is $25. The fee schedule increases for each additional five miles per hour over the limit, up to a maximum of $300 for exceeding the limit by 35 miles per hour or more. The fine for failing to stop and lane changes is $25.
Nebraska is unlike many other states, however, in that it allows for a CDL suspension for a holder exceeding the speed limit by 15 miles per hour. This suspension can last up to a year. All of these fines and the potential for a license suspension apply regardless of whether the driver of a commercial vehicle was towing a trailer at the time of the infraction.
CDL-specific violations include failure to comply with federal log book requirements and violating grade and weight restrictions. Penalties for log book violations, which are established in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), are approximately $170 for failing to make an entry and approximately $300 for falsifying entries.
Penalties for violating weight and grade restrictions are established by Nebraska’s county legislatures. These penalties vary depending on the severity of the violation, but usually average $200 per incident. Additionally, they apply even if the CDL holder was not towing a trailer when he committed the infraction.
Nebraska punishes second-time DUI offenders more harshly than first time offenders. A first DUI is punished by a minimum of seven and a maximum of 60 days in jail, a six month license suspension and a maximum of a $400 fine, in addition to any court or administrative charges established by the county courts and driving agencies. A second DUI conviction is punishable by a minimum of 30 and maximum of 90 days in jail, a year license suspension and a maximum $500 fine.
CDL holders, however, may also lose their commercial license. A CDL holder convicted of a first DUI loses their license for a year in Nebraska. A second DUI conviction causes the permanent revocation of the CDL.
Nebraska does not allow CDL holders to attend driver improvement courses to reacquire their license after suspension or lessen their penalties. Additionally, it does not allow them to enter into plea agreements for DUIs or serious traffic violations, but instead requires them to plead guilty and accept the court’s punishments or not guilty and take their case to trial.
During trail, an attorney will attempt to prove that the evidence does not support the allegations against his client. A case can only be dismissed if the arresting agency did not provide any evidence of the infraction.
If you want to know how your CDL may be affected by allegations of traffic offenses or a DUI, seek legal advice. An attorney will review your case and discuss with you the penalties you could receive.