I have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and I drive for a living. What happens when I’m ticketed?

In Illinois, a good career path to take is that of a commercial driver.  Everyday, we drive our state and federal highways.  Trucks of all different sizes fill the road transporting machinery & goods across the nation.  Good drivers are few and far between and the pay is substantial, when compared to other professions.

A person looking to obtain their CDL must complete certification classes and pass certain exams to obtain their commercial driver’s license.  If you have already obtained your CDL, you should be aware that you must pay extra attention to traffic laws.  This is important even if you are a first offender and have a pristine driving record. 

After all the hard work obtaining your CDL, you will want to take extra precaution when driving commercially.  The laws on the books can punish you, disqualify your CDL privileges, and prevent you from earning a wage since you will not be able to drive for your job.

If you have a CDL, you will need to know about what violations can lead to a disqualification of your CDL privileges.  We have compiled a list for easy reference.  Most CDL holders do all they can to prevent one of these serious violations from going on their commercial driving record. If you are ticketed, you will likely need the ticket dismissed or at least amended to a violation that is not considered “serious” for CDL purposes. 

  • For example, if you are cited with Speeding 15-20 mph over the limit, you will need the speed amended down by the prosecutors to a speed below 14 mph for the ticket to NOT be considered a serious violation. 

Below is a list of serious traffic violations that can lead to CDL disqualification.  If you are ticketed for one of the offenses listed below, you should speak to an experienced traffic attorney that knows how to properly advise you through the process while protecting your CDL.

If you are driving your commercial vehicle and you are ticketed for serious violations and you receive court supervision or a conviction in court:

  1. Your CDL will be disqualified for 2 months if you receive 2 serious violations arising from separate incidents in a THREE year period. 
  2. Your CDL will be disqualified for not less than 4 months if you receive 3 serious violations arising from separate incidents in a THREE year period. 
  3. The federal rules governing your commercial driver’s license does not differentiate between court supervision dispositions and convictions.  Thus, if you are given court supervision for a serious traffic violation, it is the same as being reported as a conviction!

If you are driving in a non-commercial vehicle (your personal vehicle), your CDL could still be affected, depending on the offense you are ticketed for:

  1. You can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for a period of not less than 2 months if you are convicted of 2 serious traffic violations committed in a NON-Commercial Vehicle (e.g. your personal vehicle), while holding a CDL, arising from separate incidents, occurring within a THREE year period (if the convictions would result in the suspension or revocation of your non-CDL privileges).  (This means that if you receive 2 serious violations that would suspend your regular driving privileges, you are looking at a 2 month disqualification of your CDL).
  2. You can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for a period of not less than 4 months if you are convicted of 3 or more serious traffic violations committed in a NON-Commercial Vehicle (e.g. your personal vehicle), while holding a CDL, arising from separate incidents, occurring within a THREE year period (if the convictions would result in the suspension or revocation of your non-CDL privileges).  (This means that if you receive 3 or more serious violations that would suspend your regular driving privileges, you are looking at a 4 month disqualification of your CDL).
  3. Drivers are NOT ELIGIBLE for restoration of CDL privileges during any period of disqualification.

If you are cited with DUI and you receive court supervision or a conviction for it, the following CDL penalties will occur:

  1. Your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year for your first DUI.
  2. Your CDL will be disqualified for 3 years, if, during the preceding 3 years, you received a disqualifying offense (other serious violations).
  3. Your CDL will be disqualified for LIFE for a second conviction (2nd DUI), or any combination of those offenses arising from 2 or more separate incidents.

Further, if you are pulled over for DUI, your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year if you test over .04 on the BAC test (if you were driving a commercial vehicle).  If you test over .08 in a non-commercial (personal) vehicle, your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year.

The Illinois Secretary of State considers the below listed offenses as CDL serious traffic violations (92 Illinois Administrative Code 1040) and are in addition to the offenses listed as serious traffic violations in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26 (A), of the Uniform Commercial Driver’s License Act (UCDLA).

  • 625 ILCS 5/6-501 Violation of More Than One Driver’s License
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-507(a)(1) Driving Without a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Possession
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-507 (b) Unlawful Operation of CMV
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-308 Disregarding Lane Control Signal
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-503 Reckless Driving
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-601(a) Speeding Too Fast for Conditions or Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-601(b)(5) 15-25 MPH Above Posted Speed Limit
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-601(b)(7) Over 25 MPH Above Posted Speed Limit
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-601(b) Over 29 MPH Above Posted Speed Limit
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5 Driving 40 MPH or More in Excess of the Applicable Speed Limit.  Class “A” Misdemeanor
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-605 Exceeding the Maximum Speed Limit in a School Zone
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-605(a) Exceeding the Maximum Speed Limit in a School Zone
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-605(b) Exceeding the Maximum Speed Limit Through a Highway Construction or Maintenance Zone
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-701 Failure to Drive on Right Side of Roadway
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-702 Improper Passing Upon Meeting an Approaching Vehicle
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-703(a) Improper Passing on Left
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-703(b) Failure to Yield Right-of-Way to Vehicle Passing on the Left
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-704 Improper Passing on the Right
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-705 Improper Passing on the Left with Insufficient Visibility or Within 200 Feet of an Intersection
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-706 Driving on Left Side of Roadway Where Prohibited
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-707(b) Driving on Left Side of Roadway in a No-Passing Zone
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-707(d) Passing in Unincorporated Area Where There Exists a School Speed Zone as Defined in Section 11-605
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-708 Driving Wrong Way on One-Way Street or Highway or Around Traffic Island
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-709(a) Improper Traffic Lane Usage
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-709(b) Improper Center Lane Usage
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-709(c) Improper Traffic Lane Usage
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-709(d) Improper Traffic Lane Usage
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-709.1 Passing on Shoulder While Merging into Traffic
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-710 Following Too Closely
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-101 Operating a Motor Vehicle Without a Valid License or Permit
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-104(a) Violation of License Classification for First and Second Division Vehicles
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-104(b) Violation of Classification for Transporting Persons for Hire
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-104(c) Violation of Classification for Transporting Property for Hire
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-104(d) Violation of School Bus Permits
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-104(e) Violation of Religious Bus Driver Permits
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-104(f) Violation of Classification for Transportation of the Elderly
  • 625 ILCS 5/6-105 Violation of Instruction Permit
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1002(d) Passing Vehicle Stopped for Pedestrian
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1201(a) For drivers who are not always required to stop, failing to stop before reaching the railroad crossing, if tracks are not clear
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1201(a-5) For drivers who are not always required to stop, failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of approaching train
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1201(d-1) For all drivers, failing to negotiate a railroad-highway grade crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1412.1 Driving Upon Sidewalk
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(a) Passing School Bus Receiving or Discharging Children
  • 625 ILCS 5/11-1425(b) For all drivers, failing to have sufficient space to drive completely through the railroad crossing without stopping

Learn how to obtain your CDL in Illinois by visiting: 

Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide

To learn more about Illinois laws regarding driver’s license suspensions & revocations:
Illinois Administrative Code: Traffic Suspensions & Revocations

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: 

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form nor should the reader rely on the information listed above as true in all circumstances. This information is provided generally and any similarity between the information listed above and an individual reader’s case is purely coincidental.

The attorneys at Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC represent clients throughout the entire state of Illinois, including, but not limited to, the cities of Peoria, Morton, Washington, Pekin, Eureka, East Peoria, Dunlap, Metamora, Bartonville, Bloomington, Normal and any legal matter located in Peoria County, Tazewell County, Woodford County, Marshall County, Stark County, Henry County, Knox County and McLean County.

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