If You Get A Ticket In Florida
All CDL drivers must notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days of being issued a ticket for a moving violation – whether minor or major – no matter what state you were in when the ticket was issued. Failure to report the violation may result in suspension or revocation of your license.
Any time you receive a ticket, points will be added to your driving record. The accumulation of points on your record can be harmful to your career, sometimes even resulting in the permanent end of your ability to drive a commercial vehicle. Just 12 points accumulated within one year can lead to a 30-day suspension, leaving you without a way to work and without pay. 24 points on your record within 3 years could lead to a full year of suspension. You simply can't afford to risk the inability to work due to your driving record. Make sure you contact an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who understands commercial driving law before you pay any ticket or agree to appear in court. It can change the outcome for you and your career.
Commercial Driving Laws in Florida
Traffic violations committed in a commercial vehicle in Florida may result in a temporary or permanent loss of your license, depending on the severity of the violation. It is important to note that in many cases in the state of Florida, CDL drivers cannot have points removed or reduced on their driving record for attending traffic school or driving courses. Although some states do allow this option, Florida requires that CDL drivers who receive a ticket either pay the fee or set a hearing. Before you do either of these things, it's important to contact an attorney experienced in commercial driving laws. In most instances, they can help you get the number of points on your record reduced by the judge, enable you to attend driving or traffic school to reduce your points total, and – most importantly - keep your job safe.
The following offenses are considered serious violations in most states, including Florida. Drivers who are convicted of more than three serious violations within three years will have their license revoked. Drivers convicted of two serious violations within a three-year period will be disqualified from driving for 60 days. Drivers who receive three violations will be disqualified from driving for 120 days. These penalties will occur no matter what state you were driving in when the violation occurred.
Serious violations include:
- Speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Improper lane change
- Following too closely
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Driving a commercial vehicle without a proper CDL or without your license in your possession
- Any traffic violation involving a fatality
There are certain violations, such as driving under the influence, that will result in an immediate out-of-service order (OSO) – usually issued by a police officer at the time of the violation. Driving while under the restriction of an OSO will result in license disqualification, varying in length based on the total number of the driver's offenses. For a first offense, drivers will receive a disqualification of 180 days up to one year. A second offense within ten years will result in a disqualification of two to five years. A third offense in ten years will result in a disqualification of three to five years.
Drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to strict regulations regarding railroad crossings. Citations will be issued for any CDL driver who fails to leave enough room in front of or below the commercial vehicle when crossing. First offenses result in a 60-day revocation of your license. Second and third offenses result in a 120-day and one-year revocation respectively.
The following major offenses will result in a disqualification from driving for one year if the offense occurs in a regular commercial vehicle and for three years if the offense occurs in a hazmat vehicle. A second offense will result in lifetime CDL disqualification.
- Refusal to take a chemical blood, breath or urine test to identify the presence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving under the influence (this may apply whether the DUI offense occurs in your commercial or personal vehicle)
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony
- Driving a commercial vehicle during disqualification
- Negligence in a commercial vehicle that results in a fatality
NOTE: CDL drivers who are convicted of using a motor vehicle in the production or transportation of controlled substances will automatically receive a lifetime CDL disqualification.
Major Violations That Result In Longer Suspensions
Some offenses, because of the severity of the possible consequences, carry with them longer suspensions on the first offense and lifetime suspensions on the second offense. These include:
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (this may apply whether the offense occurred in your personal or commercial vehicle)
- Having a BAC or .04 or greater while operating a commercial vehicle
- Refusal to take a breathalyzer test
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a vehicle in the commission of a felony
- Driving a commercial vehicle while your CDL is revoked, suspended or cancelled
- Negligent operation of a commercial vehicle that causes a fatality
- Using a vehicle to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance