New Mexico CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

You will have points assessed to your driving record and commercial driver's license if you receive a speeding ticket. Without a CDL, you cannot have a commercial truck driving career, so it is vital that you avoid traffic violations whenever possible. In addition, your insurance rates will become higher, you'll face massive fines, and you could also face license suspension and even job loss if you have too many traffic violations.

Intro to CDL Laws and License Issues

You need a New Mexico CDL if you live in New Mexico and plan to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • “Combination” vehicles that have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of over 26,000 pounds and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds (known as “Class A”)
  • Single or combination vehicles that have a GVWR exceeding 26,000 pounds, but the vehicle in tow weighing less than 10,000 pounds (known as “Class B”)
  • Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, vehicles placarded for hazardous materials, and vehicles that do meet Class A or B (known as “Class C”)

Moving Violations

Moving violations, also known as “Serious Traffic Violations,” will cause you to lose your CDL if the following situations occur:

  • You'll lose your CDL for a minimum of 60 days if you have committed two serious traffic violations within a three-year period involving a commerical motor vehicle (CMV).
  • You'll lose your CDL for a minimum of 120 days if you have committed three serious traffic violations within a three-year period involving a CMV.

These types of violations include excessive speeding (15 MPH or more above the posted speed limit), reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following a vehicle too closely, and traffic offenses in CMVs that are connected with fatal traffic accidents.

CDL Specific Violations

As mentioned above, having two or more moving violations within a three-year period can result in you losing your CDL for at least two months. To regain your CDL, you'll have to pay a re-issue fee and show a proof of financial responsibility insurance certificate.

A "major offense" will cause you to lose your CDL for one year or for three years if you were transporting hazardous material. If you are convicted of a second major offense, you will lose your CDL for life. The major offense can occur while you are driving your CMV or your personal vehicle; it will still count against your CDL. These major offenses include the following charges:

  • Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV you were driving
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony

DUI Charges

One such “major offense” is a DUI charge, which is defined as having a BAC level of .04 or more. Like most major offenses, it doesn't matter if you are driving your CMV or your personal vehicle; the offense counts against your CDL. As with most major offenses, if you are convicted of a DUI charge for the second time, you will no longer be able to hold a valid CDL.

Impact on Commercial Drivers License

If you have been convicted of a DUI charge for the first time, you can regain your CDL by doing the following:

  • Pass both the CDL knowledge and driving tests
  • Gain a hazardous materials endorsement by passing a separate knowledge test. You may also need to present a letter from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that shows that you passed their background check.
  • Have your license reinstated by paying the re-qualification fee.

As mentioned above, this is not an option if you have been convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense, as the disqualification of your DUI license is permanent.

Options for Defense

Commercial drivers have the right to request a hearing and file an appeal of a disqualification. If it's possible to get the disqualification overturned, the better for your career, as even one DUI charge will make it very difficult to obtain any employment; most trucking companies are very hesitant on hiring someone with a DUI conviction on his record.

When to Talk to a Lawyer

If you are a CDL driver and have been accused of a DUI charge, you could lose your CDL for one to three years if this is your first offense, which can have serious consequences on your truck driving career. You should talk to a New Mexico DUI attorney immediately, who will know the specific New Mexico CDL laws that apply to your case and present the strongest possible case to overturn the disqualification and allow you to return to the road.

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