Utah CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

Commercial drivers in Utah who obtain speeding tickets will receive points on their driving records and CDLs. Since their livelihoods rely on their CDLs, it is imperative that they keep their driving records as clean as possible. Points on their CDLs can result in job loss, license suspension and serious fines, as well as more expensive insurance rates.

CDL Laws and License Issues

You need a commercial driver's license (CDL) in the state of Utah if you want to drive the following types of vehicles:

  • Vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more
  • Vehicles hauling trailers weighing 10,001 pounds or more with a combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Vehicles transporting 16 or more people (this includes you, the driver)
  • Vehicles carrying placarded amounts of hazardous materials

There are A, B, and C classes of CDLs. Holders of class A CDLs can drive the most types of commercial vehicles, including combination vehicles, whereas class C CDL holders can drive the lowest levels of commercial vehicles.

Moving Violations

You will receive up to 75 points for each moving violation, depending upon the discretion of the officer and the court. If you accumulate more than 200 points on your CDL over a three-year period and are at least 21 years old, you will receive a mandatory suspension of three months. Moving violations remain on your driving record for a period of three years.

CDL Specific Violations

If you have received 200 or more points on your CDL and have your CDL suspended, you may need to attend traffic school to reinstate the license if the court orders it. It is possible to remove 50 points on your CDL once every three years if necessary by completing the traffic school course.

DUI Charges

Your CDL will be disqualified for a period of one year if your BAC level is .04 or higher. Your CDL will be disqualified for a period of three years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time you were arrested for DUI. If your BAC level is lower than .04, you will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24 hours.

Impact on a Commercial Driver's License

If this is your first DUI offense, you will have the opportunity to regain your CDL, but you must do the following:

  • Pass the CDL knowledge and driving tests
  • Pass a separate knowledge test to gain a hazardous materials endorsement
  • You may have to show a letter from the Transportation Security Administration that you've passed a background check
  • Complete all court-imposed treatment programs
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility (insurance) for three years on your personal driver's license
  • Pay all reinstatement fees

You are disqualified for life from operating commercial vehicles in the United States if this is your second DUI offense.

Options for Defense

The Utah Legislature has made it extremely difficult to plea bargain a DUI case and avoid the consequences. However, some DUI cases can be won if you hire an experienced and aggressive DUI attorney and raise any available defenses and motions, to either obtain a plea bargain or get the DUI case dismissed.

The best defense is with "Motions to Suppress." These are legal arguments to the judge to exclude some or all evidence from the court case. These can include the following motions:

  • Lack of Reasonable Suspicion To Stop
  • Illegal or Excessive Detention
  • Lack of Probable Cause to Arrest
  • Motions to Suppress Breath or Blood Tests
  • Motion to Suppress Field Sobriety Test Evidence
  • Failure to Provide Miranda Warnings

When to Talk to a Lawyer

If you are accused of a DUI, you can lose your ability to drive your commercial vehicle for up to three years if it's your first offense, and for life if it is your second or subsequent offense. It is imperative that you talk to a Utah DUI attorney right away, who will know the specific Utah CDL laws that apply to your case and present the strongest possible case to overturn the disqualification.

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