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undefinedCommercial drivers in CA are the only drivers subject to a misdemeanor speeding conviction.

In this blog post, we will look at the commercial driver's necessary actions from the traffic stop to the courtroom. What the commercial driver must understand about speeding in CA is the speed differential. Many non-commercial vehicles can drive 70 mph in CA without fear of a ticket or misdemeanor designation. 

What to Do When Pulled Over

Too many commercial drivers try to talk their way out of the ticket. This can be very costly with a misdemeanor speeding ticket. We suggest invoking your “right to remain silent” until you can consult an attorney.

Nowadays, law enforcement officers (LEO) wear body cams, and “…everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” After the LEO leaves, write down everything you can about the stop. You never know what detail is vital to a dismissal.

Many commercial drivers on SR #99, going to pick up a cargo load when pulled over, thought they were speeding. They think they're guilty because they looked down at the speedometer and were going 70 or 72. Guilt or innocence does not determine the outcome — especially in a criminal trial.

It does have a lot to do with what the prosecutor can prove or thinks they can’t prove. If their evidence is weak, they’ll often agree to reduce the charge. Some prosecutors have even agreed to a no-point conviction of “parking on a bridge” or “failing to obey a sign on public property” rather than going to trial.

The fine might be $800 or $1,000, but the driver’s record remains clean because there are no points. Therefore, the DMV and the DOT FMCSA are not notified. It’s a win-win.

If cited for misdemeanor speeding, keep silent and consult a traffic attorney.

Understanding Misdemeanor Speeding

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22406Speed Laws, institutes a statewide maximum 55 mph speed for specific vehicles. 

“No person may drive any of the following vehicles on a highway at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour:

  1. A motortruck or truck tractor having three or more axles or any motortruck or truck tractor drawing any other vehicle.
  2. A passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle.
  3. A school bus transporting any school pupil.
  4. A farm labor vehicle when transporting passengers.
  5. A vehicle transporting explosives.
  6. A trailer bus…”

Therefore, whether commercial or not, these vehicles are restricted to 55 mph. An RV with three axles or a passenger vehicle pulling a trailer cannot exceed 55 mph anywhere in CA.

Likewise, CVC Section 22406.1Speed Laws, makes it a misdemeanor crime to exceed that limit by 15 or more mph. This is also a DOT FMCSA “serious offense,” and a second conviction within 3 years of a first conviction could result in a 60-day driver’s disqualification, and a third conviction, a 120-day disqualification, according to DOT FMCSA 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers.     

Consequences for Commercial Drivers

The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII) defines a misdemeanor crime as:

“A misdemeanor is a type of offense punishable under criminal law. A misdemeanor is typically a crime punishable by less than 12 months in jail.”

Furthermore, the Superior Court Judge has the discretion to downgrade the misdemeanor to an infraction when in their opinion the punishment of a misdemeanor does not meet the intent of the regulation. 

However, if the conviction is worded as excessive speeding 15 or more mph over the speed limit or safe driving speed, the FMCSA would still consider it a serious offense.  

Always consult a CA traffic attorney before paying the fine or challenging the ticket in court.   

The Crucial Role of a Traffic Attorney with Trial Experience

The complexities of traffic law emphasize the crucial nature of consulting a proficient attorney to navigate the legal jungle. Although it might seem “cut and dry” to you, many technicalities exist.

For instance, if the LEO who issued the ticket does not show up for trial, a knowledgeable attorney would ask for a dismissal, whereas the driver might not even know if the LEO was available for trial. They might have retired, been transferred, or the department couldn’t spare them that day.

An experienced attorney can show the prosecutor where their case might be weak and ask for a no-point conviction — the equivalent of an expensive parking ticket.

It is often crucial to consult a traffic attorney with trial experience who will challenge the State’s evidence and subpoena the calibration record for the speed measurement device used and the LEO’s training on that device to raise the level of “reasonable doubt.”

Contact Bigger & Harman Immediately After a Misdemeanor Speeding Charge

Bigger & Harman, the Bakersfield traffic ticket defense team, are experienced traffic attorneys with trial defense experience. We offer a no-obligation initial consultation.  

Call us at (661) 349-9300, utilize our handy online contact form or email us

Download our e-book, Protecting Your Commercial Driver License.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The DOT FMCSA 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers.

CVC Sections 22406 & 22406.1Speed Laws.

Cornell Law School LII WEX Definitions: Misdemeanor

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