The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that over 5 million commercial vehicles (semi-trucks, cargo vans, buses, etc.) operate on our nation's highways each year.
Our law office works directly with company safety departments, CDL employees, legal service plans devoted to commercial drivers, and individual owner-operators. Our clients are primarily located throughout the United States, and some are based in Canada and Mexico.
We have been successfully defending commercial transportation clients in the State of California, against both traffic infraction and misdemeanor charges, for over 15 years now!
You can learn more about our services by contacting us for a Free Consultation with our office, Monday-Saturday, from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, PST.
Common California CDL Violations
There are many ways a CDL holder may be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
The first, and most common, are the accumulation of Negligent Operator Points on a motor vehicle record. "Points" can be acquired as a result of being convicted of a variety of offenses.
The following are some of the most common charges under the California Vehicle Code (CVC) that we have handled over the years involving commercial motor vehicles and CDL holders:
Negligent Operator Points and CSA 2010 Severity Points
Negligent Operator Points can result from violations of the California Vehicle Code, as well as violations of city or county ordinances, OR any other code which relates to the safe operation of a motor vehicle. The California DMV does have the authority to either suspend or revoke a California driver’s license, if an individual incurs too many points within a specified period of time.
As a result of the Interstate Driver's License Compact, the California DMV will also report convictions of violations incurred by out of state licensees to their home state.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 12810.5(a) defines a Class C driver as a Negligent Operator when the following points are accumulated on a driving record:
CDL Holders Incur 1.5 Times The Negligent Operator Points in CA
However, per California Vehicle Code section 12810.5(b)(2), a violation which occurs while operating a commercial vehicle in California, carries 1.5 times the normal point count!
So, a typical commercial violation, such as CVC section 22406(a) – Speeding in a Commercial Vehicle, would carry 1.5 points should you be convicted; any subsequent violation, such as CVC section 22348(b) – Failure to Use Designated Lane, would result in an additional 1.5 points upon conviction, for a total of 3 points assigned by the California DMV.
Minor convictions (such as the foregoing) that occur from violations received while you are driving a commercial motor vehicle or as a holder of a CDL, are retained on your California driving record for a period of three (3) years.
In addition to the above, your CSA 2010 score may suffer as a result of Severity Points being added onto a commercial motor carriers' federal transportation record - see our Blog article on How CDL Violations Impact The CSA 2010 Score.
CDL License Suspension and Revocation
In California, you would lose your license for "serious traffic" violations for at least 60-days due to the following:
Examples of serious traffic offenses:
In California, you would lose your CDL for at least 1 year for a first offense such as the following:
CDL Employment and Insurance Considerations
In addition to any negative implications from an employer, insurance company, or the Department of Transportation (acting under the CSA 2010 regulations), when applying for a job as a commercial driver, the California DMV requires that you must give your prospective employer a 10-year employment history of commercial driving.
As previously mentioned, minor convictions that occur as a result of operating a commercial motor vehicle or as a holder of a CDL, are retained on your California driving record for a period of three (3) years.
Potential Court Case Outcomes
The ultimate results of each CDL traffic case in the California Court system - Infraction or Misdemeanor - are dependent upon a variety of factors.
There are a number of negative consequences which may be faced if you simply post your bail - and do not contest or fight the charges in Court. These can include...
As a result of the foregoing, CDL holders should always consider contacting an attorney anytime a traffic citation is issued to them in the State of California.
Since everyone's case is unique to that individual and the specific circumstances, you should consult with a competent CDL attorney to determine your best course of action. Our office has expertise in this area of the law, and we encourage you to reach out for a FREE consultation.
"The ultimate results of a CDL traffic case in the California Court system - Infraction or Misdemeanor - are dependent upon a variety of factors including the nature of the charges..., experience level of the citing officer..., the judicial officer assigned..., plea bargaining strategies..., the type of evidence and testimony presented..."
Law Offices | Felicia Yates & Associates
P.O. Box 454, Needles, CA 92363, San Bernardino County, California
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