An individual with a CDL (commercial driver's license) is held to higher standards than an individual with a regular license. As a result, when an accident or violation occurs, the CDL holder faces more serious penalties. This involves higher fines, lengthy license suspension and even jail time. The federal government is responsible for setting base limits and regulating traffic violations. The state officials and local authorities handle the specifics of jail terms and fines. As a result, while the violations are the same across the country, the treatment of CDL holders varies in each state.
Moving violations for anyone holding a CDL can have heavy consequences. If, for example, you speed, your penalties are higher than those of a regular license holder. First time CDL speeders in Wisconsin face a fine from $40 to $300, and they gain 4 to 6 points on their license. If the points reach 12, license suspension for a year is possible. Jail term is also possible of between 60 and120 days, depending upon the number of offenses within a three-year period. With a second speeding violation, fines increase to between $80 and $600.
Similar fines and penalties are incurred for other moving violations such as failure to stop or yield, and stop sign and red light infractions. Demerit points range from 3 to 6. Fine are from $25 to $500 depending upon the situation, the number of points already accumulated and any aggravating circumstances.
Some aspects of driving a truck are more specific. If you are driving an overweight vehicle in Wisconsin, you face a fine. This is based on the amount in excess of the load. A first conviction results in a fine ranging between $50 and $100. A second conviction occurring within a period of one year means a fine of from $100 to $300.
The same specificity applies to logbook violations, lane violations, speeding while towing a trailer and grade violations. Grade convictions can result in fines and disqualifications of CDL. Depending upon the offense, whether it is first, second or third within three years, the period of suspension will range from 60 days to 3 years. Lane violations are treated similarly to such moving violations as speeding, passing illegally and reckless driving. Logbook violations in Wisconsin result in fines for both the employer and the CDL holder.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious issue in Wisconsin, magnified in degree if you hold a CDL. You will face severe consequences for your actions. An individual possessing a CDL cannot drive with a 0.04 BAC or higher. A first offense DUI results in a fine of $200 and possibly one year in jail. This increases to three years if you are hauling hazardous material. The second offense results in increased financial penalties. More importantly, it incurs a lifelong suspension of your commercial driver's license. In either instance, an aggravating factor is serious injury or death. Be aware that a DUI while driving off duty will still affect both your point system and your ability to retain your CL.
If you receive a conviction for a traffic violation either in or outside Wisconsin, you are putting your career at risk. You could face termination if your employer's insurance rises and he or she decides to fire you. If he or she lets you go, you may not be able to find work with another trucking firm. These are all possible unless you can remove the conviction and get rid of the points. The only way to do so is to talk to an attorney.
When faced with the possible loss of your livelihood, you need to consult a qualified Wisconsin attorney. Only he or she can help you work for a dismissal. Your lawyer can appeal to have the venue changed. He or she may notice certain irregularities of the incident, or procedural problems. Another possibility for first time offenders may be traffic school. If you want to continue to work and support your family, you need your CDL. Talk to an attorney.