Within the state of North Dakota, all drivers operating vehicles that are considered commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must possess a valid commercial driver's license (CDL). A CMV is defined as a vehicle with a GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) or a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of more than 26,000 pounds, or more than 10,000 pounds with a trailer. It also includes vehicles that can transport more than 15 passengers, tanker vehicles, vehicles hauling hazardous materials, and double and triple trailers. Personal vehicles such as RVs (recreational vehicles) or farm equipment are exempt from the CDL requirement.
Those drivers with a commercial driver's license are held to a higher standard for moving violations than ordinary passenger vehicle drivers. This means that fines and penalties are often much more significant, even for minor infractions such as traveling more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit or rolling through a stop sign. Depending on how many previous infractions of the same nature occurred with the last three years, the license can be suspended for 60 to 120 days or more. North Dakota is one state that uses red light cameras, which can cause points and fines for those with a CDL.
Drivers holding a CDL have additional issues to be concerned about over moving violations. They have to accurately maintain a logbook, and avoid violating grade restrictions and weight restrictions on the roads they travel. Failure to comply with North Dakota laws on these issues will result in fines and possible suspension or loss of the CDL, depending on the number of violations within a specific time period.
The result of DUI charges if you are deemed to be impaired while operating a CMV is elevated. The legal limit for non CDL holders is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), but operating a CMV with a BAC of 0.04 is grounds for the charge, as is refusing a chemical test for alcohol or drugs. For most first offenses, without any damages or injuries, the result is the loss of the CDL for up to one year. If you are carrying hazardous materials, the revocation is for three years. The state has the ability to suspend your CDL for 24 hours, called an out of service notice, should the officer detect the presence of alcohol if you are stopped. CDL holders that are stopped while driving a private vehicle or non-CMV designated vehicle face stiffer penalties than average drivers in North Dakota.
All types of moving violations and CDL specific violations can potentially put your CDL at risk. Since the point system is cumulative, even a couple of minor traffic tickets can result in the loss of your license for 60 days or more. Serious offenses such as DUI charges can result in the permanent loss of your license on a second offense. In addition, even a speeding ticket, if you receive three in three years, can result in a license suspension of up to 120 days. Multiple offenses can result in the permanent revocation of the CDL, which will apply in both North Dakota and other states, as you are required to disclose this information when applying for a CDL through another state.
Immediately contacting an experienced attorney that is familiar with CDL issues is essential in order to fight your ticket or charge and prevent points accumulating on your license. The attorney can provide information on the short and long term implications of a plea of guilty or not guilty, and what fighting the ticket or charge will entail. In some situations, the attorney may find grounds to have the case dismissed if specific protocols and correct procedures were not followed by the officer or police department.