If You Get A Ticket In Kansas
Commercial drivers in Kansas should always be aware that violations or accidents occurring in their personal vehicles could affect their commercial driving record. Violations in a commercial vehicle carry heavier penalties and fines than those for violations in personal vehicles, so it’s important to understand your options and rights any time you are issued a ticket. An experienced legal professional who is knowledgeable in truck driving law can guide you – and, many times, help you get fines and points reduced. You owe it to yourself and your driving record to contact a professional before you pay any ticket.
Regardless of whether or not you decide to dispute the charge, state law requires you to report any tickets or violations to your employer within 30 days. If you have your license suspended, revoked, cancelled, or disqualified or if you are issued an out-of-service order, notify your employer within 24 hours.
The state of Kansas enforces strict regulations for commercial drivers, and failure to comply can result in fines, penalties, jail time and license suspension or revocation. The severity of your fines and penalties will vary depending on the charge and the number of offenses you have. Violations are classified as either moving violations, serious violations, or major violations.
Moving violations in Kansas include speeding up to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, and failure to stop at a stop light or stop sign.
Serious violations in Kansas include:
- Speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Erratic lane changes
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Driving a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL or without your CDL in your possession
- Using a cell phone or texting while driving a commercial vehicle
Drivers who are convicted of two serious traffic offenses in three years will receive a license revocation of at least 60 days. If three offenses are committed within three years, the license revocation will be at least 120 days.
There are certain offenses, such as driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol, for which the driver will receive an immediate out-of-service order (OSO). Drivers who receive an OSO are not allowed to drive their commercial vehicle for the time specified by authorities. Within the state of Kansas, driving in violation of an OSO is a class B misdemeanor and will result in license revocation. The length of the revocation will be determined based on the number of violations committed by the driver in the last ten years. The guidelines are as follows:
- 180 days to one year for a first offense (or 180 days to two years if the driver is driving a hazmat or commercial passenger vehicle)
- Two to five years for a second offense (or three to five years if the driver is driving a hazmat or commercial passenger vehicle)
- Three to five years for a third or subsequent offense
In addition to the revocation, the driver will be required to pay a fine of $1,100 to $2,750. Trucking companies who allow drivers to drive during an OSO will be fined $2,750 to $11,000.
Drivers who commit any of the following major offenses will be disqualified for one year upon the first offense and will receive a lifetime revocation for a second offense:
- Refusing to take a chemical test
- Failing a chemical test
- Driving or operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .04% or greater
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked license
- Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony
- Negligent operation of a commercial vehicle that causes a fatality
All commercial drivers are deemed to have given consent to chemical testing of their breath, blood, or urine. If a police officer has probable cause to believe the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she can request a driver to submit to a chemical test. CDL drivers with a first DUI offense in the state of Kansas are subject to a license suspension of one year. Second-time offenders will have their CDL permanently revoked.
Additionally, if the driver was transporting hazardous materials, the first major offense will result in the license being cancelled for three years. Drivers who commit a second major offense in a hazmat vehicle or who use a commercial vehicle for the production or transportation of a controlled substance will receive a permanent lifetime revocation.
Railroad Crossing Violations
CDL drivers who carry passengers or transport hazardous materials are required to stop at all railroad crossings. Any driver who violates any railroad crossing law will be disqualified for 60 days upon the first offense and for 120 days upon the second or subsequent offense. Railroad crossing violations include:
- Failure to stop at a railroad crossing
- Failure to obey a traffic control device
- Failure to negotiate a railroad crossing because of insufficient under-carriage clearance
- Failure to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear
For violations that apply only to CDL holders, such as over-weight issues, speeding while towing, grade restrictions, and logbook violations, the State of Kansas evaluates fines and penalties depending on a variety of factors:
- The amount over the speed limit
- The type of road
- Whether it is a first or second offense
- The number of total infractions within a 12-month period
Chapter 8 of Kansas statutes permits state courts to consider tickets, DUIs and other traffic violations received in other states when determining fines and penalties for commercial vehicle drivers. This means that even if it is your first CDL offense in the state of Kansas, you may still be charged as a second-time offender. Additionally, Kansas law does not consider commercial vehicles separately from non-commercial vehicles for moving violations, CDL-specific violations or DUIs. Consequently, you could have your CDL restricted or revoked based on violations committed in your personal vehicle.
This are just a few of the reasons why, no matter what the offense, the most important thing you can do to protect your driving record is contact a legal professional as soon as possible. Trucking laws vary by state – and an experienced professional can help you understand your options and fight for your driving record and your future.