Vermont CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

A speeding ticket in Vermont can be especially disastrous to a driver with a CDL, as it can result in points on your driving record and your CDL. Your insurance becomes more expensive with each violation on your CDL. Points on your CDL can result in job loss, license suspension and serious fines.

CDL Laws and License Issues

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

  • Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A trailer with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds if the gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is 26,001 pounds or more
  • Vehicles transporting 16 or more people (including the driver)
  • Vehicles carrying placarded amounts of hazardous materials or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR 73.

There are three classes of CDLs: A, B, and C. Higher class CDLs (with "A" being highest) allow drivers to operate combination vehicles or to add endorsements.

Moving Violations

You will receive two to eight points on your CDL, depending on the amount over the speed limit you were clocked at when you were stopped. The average fine is nor more than $175 for first offenders. If you receive 10 or more points in a two-year period, your license will be suspended. Violations will remain on your record for no more than three years.

CDL Specific Violations

If your CDL is suspended due to having 10 or more points on your CDL in a two-year period, you may need to attend traffic school as part of the process to get your CDL reinstated.

DUI Charges

Your CDL will be disqualified for a period of one year for either of the following offenses:

  • If you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a BAC level of .04 or higher
  • If you fail to submit to a chemical test

If you were transporting hazardous materials at the time you were arrested for DUI, your CDL will be suspended for three years. If your BAC level is lower than .04, you will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and 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 also 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 will be disqualified for life from driving commercial vehicles if this is your second or subsequent DUI offense.

Options for Defense

Vermont has two DUI theories:

  • The driver is mentally or physically impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  • The driver's BAC level is .04 or higher.

It is best for a Vermont DUI attorney to prepare a defense for either theory. The best defense against the first theory is to show that mental or physical impairment is circumstantial evidence of impairment for purposes of Vermont's DUI laws. The best defense against the second theory is that the driver's BAC level may not have been .04 or higher at the time of driving, but continued to rise afterwards until the later time of testing.

When to Talk to a Lawyer

You could lose your right to drive your commercial vehicle for anywhere from one to three years if it's your first CDL DUI offense, while you lose that right permanently for a second or subsequent offense. It is vital that you talk to a Vermont DUI attorney immediately, as he or she will know the specific Vermont CDL laws that apply to your case. He or she will also present the strongest possible case to overturn the disqualification and enable you to drive your commercial vehicle.

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