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

undefinedThe DOT FMCSA makes driving a CMV without a CDL a “serious offense,” as it does a conviction of “driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without the proper class license and/or endorsements,” such as for hauling hazardous material or driving a charter bus. 

The serious offense is legitimate even when the driver has the proper commercial driver’s license (CDL) or endorsement but doesn’t have it in their possession at the time of a stop. 

Driving a CMV without obtaining a CLP or CDL or without a CLP or CDL in the driver’s possession.” — 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers.

This circumstance is when it is particularly helpful to have a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney. 

Bigger & Harman frequently represent commercial drivers in Truckee Courthouse to resolve these issues. They know which traffic court judge might negotiate an alternative non-moving violation that does not threaten the commercial driver’s livelihood. 

“There are separate disqualification tables for the following types of offenses in 49 CFR 383.51: major offenses, serious offenses, railroad-highway grade crossing offenses, and violations of out-of-service orders. Major and serious offenses require driver disqualification even if the CDL holder is driving a non-CMV.

The disqualification period of a driver is determined by the offense and the driver’s record of prior convictions.” — 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers.

Few fleet managers will leave a driving position open while that driver serves a 60-day or longer disqualification. What’s more, the conviction will be annotated on the driver’s pre-employment screening program (PSP) record, making it more difficult for the driver who is terminated to get another driving position.

CA Traffic Code Exceptions

You typically must hold a CDL to drive the following: 

  • Vehicles transporting hazardous materials.
  • Vehicles transporting 16 or more passengers.
  • Vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

The vehicle’s weight and cargo determine which endorsement the driver needs to accompany their CDL. 

Driving a commercial vehicle in CA without a CDL or endorsement for hazardous materials is a misdemeanor crime, and conviction will lead to a $1,000 “base fine” and county jail time up to six months

The CA Assembly has approved ten surcharges, penalties, and assessments added to the base fine that could make it much higher. 

CA allows some exceptions for government/military, farm equipment, recreational, and emergency service vehicles.

Regardless of weight or size, certain cargo, such as hazardous materials and schoolchildren, requires the driver to have specific training and testing to meet the endorsements’ requirements, which are on the CDL.  

When a CDL holder’s CA license is suspended or revoked, they must get a work restriction from the court to operate their CMV or be subject to a misdemeanor driving on a suspended license charge.

If convicted, the CA DMV will notify the FMCSA, who will assess compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) severity points for the serious offense of driving a CMV without a CDL.    

Resolving a Driving a CMV Without a CDL or Vehicle Endorsement Ticket

It is crucial to consult a CA traffic attorney immediately after receiving a driving a CMV without a CDL ticket. Our Truckee attorney have experience resolving these violations in Truckee Courthouse.  

For instance, when a commercial driver allows their CDL to expire, we advise them to renew it immediately before we negotiate with the traffic court judge, who might dismiss the charge or treat it as an infraction rather than a misdemeanor. A CDL or CA driver’s license that is expired is technically not a valid license.

Call now for a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

Contact Bigger & Harman to Resolve a Driving a CMV Without a CDL in Truckee, CA 

When you face a misdemeanor charge of driving a CMV without a CDL, contact Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300 — use our contact form or email to

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

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


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The DOT FMCSA CFR Part 383.31, Notification of Convictions for Driver Violations.

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

The DOT FMCSA Factsheet, What is CSA—and how does it affect me?

Share To: