When a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder is ticketed for any offense in the State of Illinois, havoc can ensure regarding that individual’s ability to provide financial support for themselves and their family. This is the case even if the ticket appears to be only “minor” at first glance.

CDL holders, without regard to which state issued the CDL, face two categories of moving violations when issued an Illinois ticket. The first is called a “major moving” violation. The second category is called a “serious traffic” offense.

Illinois follows federal law with regard to major moving violations. Major moving violations are offenses that lead to an automatic one-year disqualification of an individual’s ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In fact, a second major moving violation would lead to a lifetime revocation of that individual’s CDL. This even applies if the CDL holder was ticketed for the major moving violation while operating their personal vehicle or a non-commercial motor vehicle.

Under both Illinois and federal law, some of the more common major moving violations are:

  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
  • Failing to submit to breath, blood or urine analysis pursuant to Illinois’ Implied Consent laws
  • Operating a CMV with a blood alcohol content of .04 or greater
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident
  • Committing any Felony while operating a motor vehicle
  • Driving a CMV with a cancelled, revoked or suspended CDL

With regard to “serious traffic” offenses, Illinois enumerates many tickets which can ultimately lead to disqualification of a CDL. However, unlike major moving violations, (which lead to an automatic disqualification upon conviction) a CDL holder must accrue multiple serious traffic offenses over a specified period of time before their CDL is disqualified.

CDL disqualification will occur if an individual accrues:

  • Two serious traffic offenses in a three year period arising from separate incidents (60 day disqualification)
  • Three serious traffic offenses in a three year period arising from separate incidents (120 day disqualification)

The offenses constituting a “serious traffic” offense, under Illinois, include, but are not limited to:

  • Disregarding a Lane Control Device
  • Reckless Driving
  • Speeding Too Fast for Conditions/Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident
  • Speeding 15 miles per hour or over the speed limit
  • Improper Passing
  • Following Too Closely

The lists of “serious traffic” offenses are much more encompassing than what has been provided above. Additionally, should any combination of offenses lead to a suspension of a non-CDL holder’s driving privileges, when committed by a CDL holder, the CDL holder will also be disqualified. Also, under the “serious traffic” offense calculation, the offense leading to the triggering of the disqualification must have occurred in a CMV before disqualification occurs.

Any offense, whether a “major moving” violation or a “serious traffic” offense, must result in a conviction before the above applies. This brings us to quite arguably the most important aspect of CDL and moving violations. In order for the above to apply, the CDL holder must be convicted of the offense.

Normally, when a non-CDL holder receives a disposition of Court Supervision for an offense, the offense does not constitute a conviction and does not lead to the assessment of points or suspension. However, under federal law, which is binding on Illinois, a disposition of Court Supervision does constitute a conviction for CDL holders.

It is because of this reason that it is highly prudent for a CDL holder to hire an attorney who is not only knowledgeable in the area of moving violations as they impact CDL holders, but also an attorney who can negotiate moving offenses to non-moving violations and, if need be, litigate the moving violation. Contact our law office at 708-966-2408 for a free consultation.

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