Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedIn this blog post, we will provide tips on handling a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) traffic stop safely and professionally.

CDL holders are held to a higher standard of safety on the road due to the increased risk of operating these large, heavy vehicles. As such, CMV drivers must know how to handle a traffic stop safely and professionally to avoid violations, fines, and other potential legal consequences. 

CMV Traffic Stops: What to Do

Doing these five things will help the professional law enforcement officer (LEO) treat you with respect and should help your CMV traffic stop go smoothly: 

  1. Pull over safely: When you see flashing lights behind you, signal, and safely pull over to the right side of the road, as far off the road as possible. If you are on a highway, move to the right shoulder or the nearest exit if possible. However, do not block a runaway truck ramp.
  2. Stay calm and courteous: Traffic stops can be stressful, but it's essential to remain calm and courteous. Greet the officer with respect, provide your documentation when asked, and follow their instructions.
  3. Keep your hands visible: Keep them visible at all times, preferably on the steering wheel, so the officer can see them. Avoid making sudden movements or reaching for items unless directed to do so by the officer. Comply if the officer asks you to open the passenger door. Sometimes they want to be able to see the entire interior of your space to make sure you have no weapons within reach. 
  4. Follow safety protocols: If it's dark outside, turn on your interior lights so that the officer can see inside the vehicle. If you need to exit the vehicle, follow the officer's instructions, and do so slowly and safely.
  5. Cooperate with the officer: Be cooperative but do not admit guilt or offer any more information than necessary. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in court, and many law enforcement in CA wear a body camera now.

CMV Traffic Stops: What to Avoid

Avoiding these three things will make the CMV traffic stop less stressful for you and the LEO:

  1. Don't argue: Arguing with the officer is never a good idea and can worsen the situation. If you disagree with the officer's actions or decision, you can contest it in court or with the internal affairs division at the local police department (but not recommended unless the officer actions are outrageous). Remember, the LEO could share the video of your stop with the traffic court judge or their higher ups at the police department.
  2. Don't resist: Resisting the officer or refusing to comply with their instructions can lead to additional charges and legal consequences. Resisting a peace officer is a misdemeanor crime in CA.
  3. Don't consent to a search: You have the right to refuse a search of inside of your vehicle unless the officer has probable cause or a warrant. However, if the LEO persist, say, “I protest this search.” Then, stand back. Once again, the LEO is likely wearing a body cam. The judge will decide if anything they found is admissible. If Ticketed, Consult a CA CDL Traffic Attorney Immediately

If you receive a traffic ticket or citation during a CMV traffic stop, it's essential to consult with a CA CDL traffic attorney immediately. A traffic attorney can help you understand the charges, potential consequences, and best action to protect your rights and interests.

A traffic attorney can also help you navigate the complex legal system and represent you in court if necessary. Having an experienced attorney on your side can make a critical difference to your case’s outcome and can help you avoid costly fines, points on your driving record, or potentially prevent driver disqualifications.

In South Lake Tahoe, CA, If Ticketed During a CMV Traffic Stop, Consult Bigger & Harman

If you receive a traffic ticket or citation during a CMV traffic stop, it's essential to consult with Bigger & Harman immediately. We can provide valuable legal advice and representation. If we both agree you need our services to resolve a traffic ticket, we will quote a flat rate fee for our services, regardless of how court appearances we must make to resolve your CDL ticket. We will do everything at our disposal to help you maintain your CDL and keep your career on track.

Call us at (661) 349-9300. Likewise, you can use the convenient contact form or email them. 

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The FMCSA CMV Awareness Training Participants Guide
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