Washington CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

If you are a commercial driver and get a speeding ticket in the State of Washington, it can result in points on your driving record and your CDL. It is imperative that you maintain an impeccable driving record, as your livelihood depends on it. Points on your license can result in job loss, license suspension, and serious fines. Insurance for commercial drivers is expensive to begin with, but will become more expensive with each violation you obtain on your CDL.

CDL laws and License Issues

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

  • Vehicles weighing at least 26,001 pounds
  • Vehicles hauling trailers that weigh 10,001 pounds or more with a combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Vehicles transporting at least 16 people (including the driver)
  • Vehicles carrying placarded amounts of hazardous materials

There are three classes of CDLs: A, B and C. The higher the class of CDL that you have, the greater the number of vehicle types that you are allowed to drive so long as you have the necessary endorsements.

Moving Violations

If you receive four moving violations or traffic tickets within a 12-month period or five moving violations within a 24-month period, you'll be put on probation (conditional status) for one year. If you receive six moving violations in a 12-month period, your CDL will be suspended for 60 days. There is no probation period following the suspension.

CDL Specific Violations

If you are ticketed for two more moving violations during probation in the state of Washington, your license will be suspended for 30 days for "Continuing Offenses." If your CDL is suspended, you'll have to pay a $75 re-issue fee to have it reinstated, along with showing a proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) insurance certificate.

You then will be put on another year of probation when your CDL is reinstated. If you are ticketed for one moving violation during this probation, your license will again be suspended for the following:

  • 60 days for a 2nd suspension
  • 120 days for a 3rd suspension
  • 364 days for a 4th or subsequent suspension

DUI Charges

If your BAC level is .04 or higher, your CDL will be disqualified for a period of one year, (three years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time you were arrested for DUI).

Impact on a Commercial Drivers License

If this is your first DUI offense in the State of Washington, 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.
  • Pay a $20 re-qualification fee.

If this is your second or subsequent DUI offense, you cannot regain your CDL in any state, as you are disqualified for life from driving commercial vehicles.

Options for Defense

You can appeal a DUI disqualification by requesting a hearing no later than 15 days before the disqualification would take effect. You can either request the hearing online or complete a Driver's Hearing Request and mail it with the fee to the address on the form.

When to Talk to a Lawyer

If you are a CDL driver and are accused of a DUI in Washington, you could lose your ability to drive your commercial vehicle for anywhere from one 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 Washington DUI attorney right away, who will know the specific CDL laws that apply to your case and present the strongest possible defense to overturn the charges.

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