Attorney for Commercial Drivers in Tampa
If you have a commercial driver’s license, any civil traffic ticket, criminal traffic offense or DUI citation comes with serious consequences. Contact an experienced traffic defense attorney in Tampa to discuss the impact a criminal or civil traffic infraction might have on your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
In many of these cases, the driver can take certain actions early in the case that may favorably impact the ultimate result. Act quickly to retain an attorney to assist you in fighting for the best possible result.
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent commercial drivers and CDL holders in the Tampa and Plant City courthouse in Hillsborough County, FL, and all of the surrounding counties throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including Bartow and Lakeland in Polk County, Clearwater and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, and Brooksville in Hernando County, FL.
Call us to find out more about how you can protect your CDL license and your career as a commercial driver. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (813) 250-0500 to discuss your case.
60 Disqualification for 2 Traffic Violations within 3 Years
If you have a CDL then after receiving two (2) qualifying traffic violations within three (3) years when you are disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for 60 days. After the 60 days have passed, you must pay a fee to restore the commercial driver’s license.
Qualifying traffic offenses are serious traffic violations arising in separate incidents and committed in a commercial motor vehicle. These qualifying traffic offenses include:
- violation of a traffic law involving an accident resulting in death or personal injury to any person
- driving a CMV out of class or proper endorsement
- driving a CMV without having the license in the driver’s possession (the driver may, however, produce proof of the license to the clerk of the court and the clerk can enter a dismissal)
- driving a CMV not issued
- unlawful speed of 15 m.p.h. or more
- improper lane change
- following too closely
- careless driving
120 Day Disqualification for 3 Traffic violations within 3 Years
If you are convicted of driving a commercial vehicle after receiving three (3) qualifying traffic violations (listed above) within three (3) years when you are disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for 120 days. After the 120 days have passed, you must pay a fee to restore the commercial driver’s license.
1 Year Disqualification for More Serious Qualifying Convictions
If you are convicted of a more serious qualifying offense then you will be disqualified for one year. The more serious disqualified offenses include the following:
- causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV;
- using a CMV in the commission of a felony;
- leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV driven by the person accused;
- driving a CMV while the operator’s license is suspended; revoked or canceled;
- driving a CMV while in possession of a controlled substance;
- driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance;
- driving a CMV while the alcohol concentration of blood, breath or urine is .04 or higher; or
- refusing to submit to a test to determine his or her breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving a CMV.
3 Year Disqualification for Qualifying Convictions while Transporting Hazardous Materials
If the driver is transporting hazardous materials and is convicted of one (1) of the more serious qualifying offenses listed immediately above, then he or she is disqualified from operating a CMV for 3 years.
Permanent Disqualification from Operation of a CMV
If the driver is transporting hazardous materials and is convicted of two (2) of the more serious qualifying offenses listed immediately above, then the driver is permanently disqualified from operating a CMV.
If the driver uses a CMV in the commission of any felony involving the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing a controlled substance, including possession with intent to distribute or dispense a controlled substance, shall, upon being convicted, be permanently disqualified from operating a CMV.
Even if disqualified, the driver may be issued a Class E driver’s license (if otherwise eligible).
When a CDL Driver is Arrested for DUI
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 322.64, a notice of commercial driver’s license privilege disqualification is to be issued only to person:
- operating a commercial motor vehicle who refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test authorized in Florida Statute Section 322.63 when NO citation is issued for a DUI violation under 316.193 (in other words the driver’s normal faculties were not impaired and the driver did not blow over the legal limit of 0.08). Then the notice may be issued together with a citation for a violation of Florida Statute 322.62.
- who holds a commercial driver license and who operates a non-commercial motor vehicle with a 0.08 or higher blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) and was issued a citation for a DUI violation.
In those cases, the arresting officer is told to file three documents with the hearing offices of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Driver Licenses, and Bureau of Administrative Reviews:
- The hearing officer’s copy of disqualification notice (HSMV 78005);
- Refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test affidavit; and
- Driver’s license, if surrendered.
In these cases involving a refusal to submit to chemical testing, the issue at the formal review hearing is whether:
- There was probable cause to believe that Petitioner was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in the State of Florida while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substances;
- Petitioner refused to submit to a urine test or a test of his breath-alcohol or blood alcohol level after being requested to do so by a law enforcement officer or correctional officer; and
- Petitioner was told that if he refused to submit to any such test his privilege to operate a motor vehicle would be suspended for a period of 1 year or, in a case of a second or subsequent refusal, for period of 18 months; and
- That Petitioner was told that as a Commercial Driver License holder or Commercial Driver License operator that if he refused to submit to any such test he would be disqualified for a period of 1 year for a first refusal or permanently if he has previously be disqualified under Section 322.64 of the Florida Statutes.
Read more about the DUI arrest of a CDL holder.
Implied Consent Warning for the CDL Holder
After an arrest for DUI when the driver refused to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, a CDL Holder will be read the following warning:
…In addition, your refusal to submit will result in the loss of your commercial driving privilege for a period of one year from today. If this is your SECOND REFUSAL, you will be permanently disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
Do you still refuse to submit to this test knowing that your commercial driving privilege will be disqualified for a period of at least one year for a first refusal, and permanently for a second refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine or blood?
Possession of a Controlled Substance in a Commercial Vehicle
If you are convicted of driving a commercial vehicle while in possession of a controlled substance, then you will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year. You will not be eligible for a hardship license during that entire one year period. After the one year, you must pay a fee to restore the commercial driver’s license.
DUI While Driving a Commercial Vehicle under Florida Statute 322.62
For anyone with a Florida commercial driver’s license convicted of driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence (DUI) enhanced punishments apply. Anyone convicted of DUI while driving a commercial vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year for the first offense or permanently for any previous disqualification under Florida Statute Section 322.64.
The commercial driver will not be eligible for a hardship license. Instead, the commercial driver must wait for 12 months and then pay a fee to restore the commercial driver’s license.
For anyone transporting hazardous materials in a commercial motor vehicle when convicted, you will be disqualified from operating a vehicle for three years. The legal limit for DUI when driving a commercial vehicle is .04.
Commercial Driver – Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test
If you are convicted of refusing to take the blood, urine or breath test after a DUI arrest when driving a commercial vehicle then you will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year and are not eligible for a hardship license. You must wait the full year, pay a fee and restore the commercial driver’s license.
What is the Commercial License Requirement?
Any person who drives a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is required to possess a valid commercial driver’s license. A CMV is defined as:
- Any person who drives a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles with a gross, actual or declared weight of 26,001 lbs. or more; or
- a vehicle designed to transport 15 or more passengers including the driver; or
- a vehicle transporting hazardous materials and is required to be placarded.
“H’ – for hazardous materials
“N” for tank vehicles
“P” – for passenger vehicle
“S” – for school bus
“T” – for double or triple trailers
“X” – for a combined hazardous materials and tank vehicle endorsements
Commercial Motor Vehicles as defined in Florida Statute Section 316.003(66)
Violations committed by drivers of commercial motor vehicles are enforced in the same manner as for other drivers. Since most commercial motor vehicles require greater stopping distance, special attention is given by law enforcement officers for violations involving excessive speed and following too closely. During a traffic stop, the officers will determine whether the driver possesses the proper classification of commercial driver license and that any required endorsements have been obtained.
For alcohol or drug use violations, when the driver of a commercial motor vehicle is charged with a violation of Section 316.193, Florida Statutes, the driver will be processed in accordance with standard DUI arrest procedures.
Pursuant to Section 322.63, Florida Statutes, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle can be required to submit to an approved Portable Breath Test (PBT) or chemical test anytime a member has reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver has any alcohol, chemical substance, or controlled substance in their body.
If such PBT (Refer to 17.06.06(C)(1)(j) for Operation of PBT Instruments) or chemical test results indicate a blood alcohol level greater than 0.00 but less than 0.08, the driver will be issued a UTC for a violation of Sections 322.62(1) or 322.62(2)(b), Florida Statutes. In addition, the driver will be placed out of service for a period of 24 hours.
If the driver is not being charged under Section 316.193, Florida Statutes, and has a breath alcohol level of 0.04 or higher or refuses to submit to a PBT or chemical test, he/she will be placed out of service for a period of 24 hours. A Notice of Commercial Driver’s License/Privilege Disqualification (HSMV 78005) will be completed and forwarded to the appropriate DHSMV, Bureau of Administrative Review Hearing Office along with other required documentation within five days. A UTC should be issued for a violation of Section 322.62(1), Florida Statutes.
Being placed out of service pursuant to Section 322.62, Florida Statutes, does not prohibit the driver from driving a noncommercial motor vehicle during the 24 hour period.
Violations Resulting in a Disqualification
The following violations can result in a disqualification of the commercial driving privileges:
- Providing false information when applying for CDL results in a 60-day disqualification.
- Driving a commercial vehicle while the operator’s license is suspended, revoked, or canceled.
- Driving a commercial vehicle without having the driver license in possession.
- Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class of license or proper endorsement.
- Driving a commercial vehicle without obtaining a CDL.
- Driving any vehicle, as a CDL holder, and arrested for DUI (post-arrest they may have a BAC of .08 or above or refuse to submit to testing.)
- Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a commercial motor vehicle.
- A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle bearing a false or fraudulent identification commits a misdemeanor of the 1st degree.
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) Trooper – In cases involving serious equipment violations, a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol can request the assistance of a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) Trooper if one is available.
Finding an Attorney for Commercial Drivers in Tampa, FL
If you are a commercial driver and received a citation for a criminal traffic offense such as driving while license suspended or DUI then contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL.
Call us to find out how to protect your driver’s license, your privileges to drive a commercial vehicle as a CDL holder, and your career as a commercial driver. Let us put our experience to work for you.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 3, 2017.