If You Get A Ticket In Michigan
If you receive a ticket and are employed by a carrier in the state of Michigan, you must notify your employer in writing within 30 days of conviction. The notification must include your full name, driver license number, date of conviction, violation(s) committed, whether the violation happened in your commercial vehicle, the location of the violation, and lastly, you must include your signature on the document.
If you have your license suspended, revoked, cancelled, or disqualified or if you are issued an out-of-service order, you should notify your employer within 24 hours.
Your next priority after receiving a ticket should be to contact a legal expert who is experienced in trucking law before you pay any fines. Regardless of the circumstances or what you think the outcome might be, having an experienced legal professional on your side could help you protect your driving record and your future as a commercial driver.
The penalties for violations vary depending on the severity of the violation as well as whether it is a first offense or not. The State of Michigan categorizes violations as follows:
Category 1 violations:
- A traffic violation connected with a fatal accident
- Driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Careless driving
- Improper or erratic lane change
Any driver charged and convicted of a Category 1 violation will have their license suspended for 60 days for the first two violations within a 3-year period. If the driver receives a third violation within the 3-year period, their license will be suspended for 120 days. This is in addition to any points added to your driving record.
Category 2 violations:
- Operating a commercial or personal vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving your commercial vehicle
- Driving a commercial vehicle while license is revoked
- Criminally or negligently causing a commercial vehicle-related fatality
- Eluding a law enforcement officer
- Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
Any driver charged and convicted of a Category 2 violation will have their license suspended for one year after the first violation. If the driver was driving a vehicle transporting hazardous materials, the suspension will be three years. Drivers convicted of any two Category 2 violations occurring in separate incidents, or a second offense of any Category 2 violation, will have their license revoked for a minimum of ten years. This is in addition to any points added to your record.
After ten years, the driver may apply to have his or her CDL reinstated, with the exception of drivers who are convicted of the following:
- a third or subsequent major offense
- using a commercial vehicle to distribute or manufacture controlled substances
- any violation of the Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act
Commercial drivers who are deemed an imminent hazard or a security risk under the Patriot Act will be disqualified indefinitely.
Railroad Crossing Violations
In Michigan, commercial drivers are subject to disqualification of their license for violating certain regulations that are specific to commercial vehicles. This includes railroad crossing violations, which are as follows:
- Failure to slow down at a railroad crossing and check for an approaching train
- Failure to stop when the tracks are not clear
- Failure to stop before driving onto the tracks
- Failure to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping
- Failure to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance
- Failure to obey a traffic control device or the directions of a crossing enforcement officer
Drivers who are convicted of a railroad crossing violation will have their license suspended for 60 days upon the first violation. A second violation within 3 years will result in a 120-day suspension. A third or subsequent violation within three years will result in a one-year suspension.
Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or refusing to submit to a chemical test will incur a one-year suspension of their license, or a three-year suspension for drivers transporting hazardous materials. A second conviction will result in a 10-year suspension.
It is important for drivers to know that if your personal driver’s license is suspended or revoked for any reason, your CDL will also be suspended or revoked. The future of your driving career depends on your driving record – so make sure you do all you can to protect it. Never pay a ticket without first consulting a qualified legal expert, who may be able to help you prevent having points added to your record.