Commercial drivers are, fair or not, held to a higher standard than the rest of us, even when they are not in a commercial vehicle. The restrictions placed on them, especially in regards to limiting speeds, lane limitations and hours of service, are designed to help keep our roads safe for all drivers.
Some commercial drivers feel that they are unfairly targeted for speeding tickets, parking tickets and moving violations simply because they are in semi trucks, delivery vans or other commercial cars and trucks. This may or may not be the case, but one thing is definitely true: traffic violations on your record can seriously impact your ability to earn a living as a driver. Too many points on your license or commission of a serious vehicle-related crime, and your commercial driving privileges could be suspended or even permanently revoked.
A bad driving record could also impact your ability to obtain affordable insurance coverage, something that might very well keep you off the road for good.
Keeping points off your CDL
If you've ever gotten a ticket before, you know that each traffic violation comes with a certain number of points that will be added to your license. Get too many points, and you will lose your driving privileges. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, not necessarily.
Receiving the ticket might not be the "final word" on the matter. Particularly with "high value" tickets, it may be possible to contest the ticket or negotiate a lower fine and a reduction in the number of points that will go on your license.
Let's say, for example, that you receive a ticket for going 15 miles an hour over the speed limit on the highway. In Indiana, this is considered a "serious violation" if committed in a commercial vehicle. It comes with a hefty fine and at least four points on your license. Furthermore, two or more "serious violations" in a three-year period could result in a 60-day suspension of your CDL.
It might be possible, however, to argue that the ticket should be amended to only 14 miles per hour over the limit if you have an otherwise clean record; this is no longer considered a serious violation, so the punishment won't be as severe, nor will it put your driving privileges at risk. Negotiating traffic violations is an art, though, and it is best done with the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the ins and outs of the Indiana criminal justice system and will work tirelessly to protect your driving privileges and, by extension, your livelihood.