Illinois Traffic Violation and DUI Lawyers

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Moving Violations


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Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a Non-Commercial Motor Vehicle. This is important to remember because holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) means that you are held to a higher standard than drivers without a CDL in the eyes of the law.

Certain traffic violations can have an effect on your CDL even if you are driving your personal or Non-CMV. They are called Serious Violations. It is important to know the distinction between Serious and Non-Serious violations.

It is even more important to make sure you find help from a CDL traffic attorney who knows what to do if you have been charged with one of these offenses. It can be the difference between having a job and not having a job. Commercial Driver’s Licenses are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, each individual state administers their own CDL program and issues their own licenses. States must meet the minimum requirements set forth by the FMCSA, but are allowed to exceed these minimums for certain criteria.

Illinois has adopted the FMCSA regulations into its own laws. Illinois defines Serious Traffic Violation as follows:

A conviction when operating a commercial motor vehicle, or when operating a non-CMV while holding a Commercial’s Learner’s Permit (CLP) or CDL, of (1) a violation relating to excessive speeding, involving a single speeding charge of 15 m.p.h. or more above the legal speed limit; or (2) a violation relating to reckless driving; or (3) a violation of any State law or local ordinance relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than parking violating) arising in connection with a fatal traffic accident; or (4) a violation of Section 6-501, relating to having multiple driver’s licenses; or (5) a violation of paragraph (a) of Section 6-507, relating to the requirement to have a valid CLP or CDL; or (6) a violation relating to improper or erratic traffic lane changes; or (7) a violation relating to following another vehicle too closely; or (8) a violation relating to texting while driving; or (9) a violation relating to the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while driving; or (B) any other similar violation of a law or local ordinance of any state relating to motor vehicle traffic control, other than a parking violation, which the Secretary of State (SOS) determines by administrative rule to be serious (625 ILCS 5/6-500(26)).

Additionally, Illinois has a provision in its law that states the Secretary of State (SOS) may determine any violation relating to motor vehicle traffic control to be serious. The SOS considers forty-four additional traffic violations to be Serious Traffic Violations. These forty-four violations are contained in the Illinois Administrative Code (92 Ill. Admin. Code 1040.20). This means that in Illinois there are fifty-two different violations that are considered Serious Traffic Violations.

You may have been asking yourself, up to this point, what makes these violations so serious? Penalties for Serious Traffic Violations can range from suspension of your CDL to a complete revocation of your CDL. If your CDL is how you earn a living, then losing it for any period of time will be a serious inconvenience.

Generally, the FMCSA calls for the suspension of a driver’s CDL for sixty days upon a second conviction, within a three-year period, of any combination of the ten different Serious Traffic Violations. (49 C.F.R § 383.51). This only applies if the offenses happened while driving a CMV.

Remember, states must at least meet the minimum requirements set out by the FMCSA, but are free to exceed certain requirements. Illinois law is more strict in their punishments for Serious Traffic Violations. Illinois law allows for CDL holders to be punished for committing Serious Traffic Violations even when they are driving a non-CMV.

According to Illinois Law, a person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of not less than two months if convicted of two Serious Traffic Violations, committed in a commercial motor vehicle, non-CMV while holding a CLP or CDL, or any combination thereof, arising from separate incidents, occurring within a three-year period, provided the Serious Traffic Violation committed in a non-CMV would result in the suspension or revocation of the CLP or CDL holder’s non-CMV privileges. However, a person will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of not less than four months if convicted of three Serious Traffic Violations, committed in a commercial motor vehicle, non-CMV while holding a CLP or CDL, or any combination thereof, arising from separate incidents, occurring within a three-year period, provided the Serious Traffic Violation committed in a non-CMV would result in the suspension or revocation of the CLP or CDL holder’s non-CMV privileges. If all the convictions occurred in a non-CMV, the disqualification shall be entered only if the convictions would result in the suspension or revocation of the CLP or CDL holder’s non-CMV privileges. (625 ILCS 5/6-514(e)).

Contact a CDL Traffic Attorney

If you have a Commercial Drivers License and you are charged with a Serious Traffic Violation in Illinois, it is important to take it seriously. The implications resulting from receiving even a single conviction can have lasting effects. Seek the help of a CDL traffic attorney who understands the law and fully understands how to handle this serious situation. Contact the attorneys at Driver Defense Team as soon as you are issued a citation.

CDL FAQs

What is considered a “serious violation” under the FMCSA?

The FMCSA identifies ten violations which are considered Serious Traffic Violations:

  1. Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15 m.p.h. or more above the posted speed limit;
  2. Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation, including but, not limited to, offenses of driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property;
  3. Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes;
  4. Following the vehicle ahead too closely;
  5. Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with a fatal accident;
  6. Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL;
  7. Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver’s possession;
  8. Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported;
  9. Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control prohibiting texting while driving a CMV;
  10. Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control restricting or prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a CMV.

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