The commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder in CA with a commercial traffic ticket must consult a traffic attorney before paying the fine and adding a moving violation to their driving record.
Fleet managers can be unforgiving about moving violations by commercial drivers because all moving violations on their DOT number affect their fleet insurance premiums. The bottom line for most fleet managers is their Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile and how much they pay for fleet insurance.
An Introduction to Commercial Traffic Tickets in CA
What are minor infractions for noncommercial drivers could be a serious offense for a commercial driver.
Violations such as speeding, following too close, unsafe lane changes, illegal cell phone use, and others can lead to a 60-day driver disqualification when it’s a commercial traffic citation that was received while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
However, any moving violation in a CMV, like an illegal U-turn, ignoring a traffic signal or control device, a lane violation, or failure to comply with the DOT FMCSA Hours of Service (HOS) rules can have far-reaching career consequences for commercial drivers. As most fleet drivers know, your PSP affects your pay-per-mile and benefits. A clean driving record allows you to negotiate those from a commanding position.
Due to the size of most commercial vehicles and the potential for causing severe collisions, the consequences of a conviction for a moving violation both to the driver and the carrier are significant. Many convictions are similar to a “double jeopardy" scenario as after the state punishes the driver, the DOT FMCSA can add significant civil penalties and even driver disqualification for many violations
When we talk about the significance of these tickets, we're referring to heavier fines, 50% more points on your driving record, and even potential job loss. Unlike driving citations in your personal vehicle, a traffic ticket can spell the end of a professional driver’s careers.
Understanding the CA Traffic Laws & What It Means at the DOT FMCSA
We always advise our commercial driver clients to discuss every moving violation with a traffic attorney because it can jeopardize their standing with their employer and the DOT FMCSA.
With a commercial traffic ticket, you are at risk of higher fines and face the danger of having your commercial driver's license (CDL) suspended. Challenging all moving violations with a seasoned traffic attorney who understands the nuances of CA's commercial driving laws and the repercussions when those convictions are reported to the DOT FMCSA is essential.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney to Resolve a Commercial Traffic Violation
The question that often arises is, "Why should I hire an attorney for a commercial traffic ticket?" The answer is often obvious. Statistically speaking, drivers who opt for professional representation often fare better in reducing or dismissing their charges than those who go it alone.
A CA traffic attorney typically has sat through dozens of rulings by the judge they will present your case to, and they can negotiate from a position of strength, knowing what the judge might accept as a no-point alternative. The option might be more expensive initially, but it’s like a parking ticket with no points attached.
Our extensive experience in this field has shown us that drivers can avoid many of the negative consequences of a commercial traffic ticket with proper legal counsel.
What to Look for in a Commercial Traffic Defense Attorney
When you're on the hunt for the best representation, several markers indicate the proficiency of a traffic ticket attorney.
Number one and two are knowledge and experience. Although these are difficult to measure without firsthand knowledge of a traffic ticket defense team, there are some reliable indicators.
Next, checking if they offer a free initial consultation, is a good practice—particularly those who will allow a phone or email consult, which can save you from taking time off. This session will allow you to gauge your comfort level with the attorney and understand their approach toward your case.
Finally, inquire about their fee structure. Many proficient attorneys, like ours, operate using a flat fee basis to resolve your commercial traffic ticket. This flat fee structure ensures transparency and fairness of legal fees.
In summary, while the aftermath of receiving a commercial traffic ticket in CA can be unpredictable, with no guarantees, you need an experienced and knowledgeable traffic ticket defense team to represent you.
Consult with Bigger & Harman, APC, About Your Commercial Traffic Tickets
Remember, the stakes are high, but with a well-prepared defense, you stand a better chance of safeguarding your professional driving career.
Download our e-book, Protecting Your Commercial Driver License.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.
The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51, Driver Disqualifications.