If You Get A Ticket In Iowa
The state of Iowa allows its court system to include out-of-state tickets and traffic offenses in its judgments against commercial drivers who commit traffic violations. Therefore, fines and penalties are typically much more significant than those issued for offenses committed while in a personal vehicle. Additionally, regarding penalties, Iowa does not distinguish between serious traffic violations occurring in private and commercial vehicles. Drivers should be aware that any points or suspensions on their private license may also be applied to their commercial license.
If you receive a ticket in your commercial vehicle, you have 20 days to decide if you want to pay the ticket or request a hearing. It’s important to note that when you pay a ticket, you are essentially admitting guilt – and the conviction will be applied to your driving record. As a commercial driver, protecting your driving record is one of the most important things you can do for your career, so speak with a legal professional who has experience in truck driving law before you pay any ticket. Many times, it’s possible to reduce the impact on your record.
If you are employed in Iowa and you get a ticket in either your commercial OR personal vehicle, whether you pay it or decide to request a hearing, you must notify your employer within 30 days.
The number of points added to your driving record depends on the seriousness of the violation. In some cases, your license may be suspended temporarily or even permanently.
In the state of Iowa, the following are considered major offenses:
- Operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL or CLP
- Operating a commercial vehicle without the proper class of CDL or CLP
- Speeding in excess of 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Any violation of traffic laws that arises in connection with a traffic incident involving a fatality
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Improper lane change in violation of section 321.306
- Violating Iowa state laws regarding the use of hand-held mobile devices while operating a commercial vehicle
Drivers who are convicted of two or more of the above offenses within a three-year period – whether in personal or commercial vehicle – will have their license disqualified for 60 days. Drivers with three offenses within a three-year period will face a 120-day disqualification.
Commercial drivers convicted of a serious offense could have their CDL suspended for at least one year for a first offense. Commercial drivers whose vehicles contain hazardous materials could have their CDL suspended for at least 3 years for a first offense. Serious offenses include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Being involved in a felony
If you are convicted in an alcohol- or drug-related charge, you may face additional criminal charges. Additionally, any driver who uses a commercial vehicle to commit a felony will have their license suspended for life.
Make sure you take every step you can to protect your record, even with minor offenses. Let an experienced legal professional who is knowledgeable on trucking law in Iowa help you prevent unnecessary points and negative impact on your driving record.