Commercial Vehicle Offenses

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All states have special provisions that apply to the operation of commercial vehicles, and to the holders of CDLs. This section provides a brief overview of such provisions in the state of Florida. If you were arrested for DUI or otherwise cited for a traffic related offense while operating a commercial vehicle, contact our St. Petersburg office for an initial consultation.

Driving Under the Influence - Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators

A person who has any alcohol in his or her body may not drive or be in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Florida. Any person who violates this provision is guilty of a non-moving traffic violation, as set forth in Fla. Stat. § 318.18. In addition, the person shall be placed out of service for a period of 24 hours.

A person who has a blood alcohol level of 0.04 grams of alcohol or more per 100 milliliters of blood, or a breath alcohol level of 0.04 grams per 210 liters of breath, while operating a commercial motor vehicle, is guilty of the offense of DUI. In addition to the applicable DUI penalties, the person will be disqualfied from operating a commercial motor vehicle for the period(s) of time set forth below.

Disqualification From Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle

  • Traffic infractions

A person who, for offenses occurring within a three year period, is convicted of two of the following serious traffic violations (or any combination thereof), arising out of separate incidents committed in a commercial motor vehicle shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 60 days, in addition to any other applicable penalty.

A holder of a commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit who, for offenses occurring within a three year period, is convicted of two of the following serious traffic violations (or any combination thereof), arising in separate incidents committed in a non-commercial motor vehicle shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of sixty days if such convictions result in the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the person's driving privilege:

  1. A violation of any state or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control, other than a parking violation, arising in connection with a crash resulting in death;
  2. Reckless driving, as defined in s. 316.192;
  3. Unlawful speed of 15 MPH or more above the posted speed limit;
  4. Improper lane change, as defined in s. 316.085;
  5. Following too closely, as defined in s. 316.0895; or
  6. Driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit in possession, as required by s. 322.03;

Any person who, for offenses occurring within a three year period is convicted of three serious traffic violations, as set forth above, arising in separate incidents committed in a commercial motor vehicle shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 120 days, in addition to any other applicable penalty.

A holder of a commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit who, for offenses occurring within a three year period, is convicted of three of the following serious traffic violations (or any combination thereof), arising in separate incidents committed in a non-commercial motor vehicle shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 120 days if such convictions result in the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the person's driving privilege.

A person who is convicted of one of the following offenses while operating a commercial motor vehicle shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one year, in addition to any other applicable penalties:

  1. Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
  2. Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the alcohol concentration in his or her blood is .04 percent or higher;
  3. Leaving the scene of a crash involving a motor vehicle driven by such person;
  4. Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony;
  5. Refusing to submit to a test to determine his or her alcohol concentration while driving a motor vehicle;
  6. Driving a commercial motor vehicle when, as a result of prior violations committed while operating a commercial motor vehicle, his or her commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or her or she is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle; or
  7. Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Any person who is transporting hazardous materials, as defined in Fla. Stat. § 322.01(24) shall, upon conviction for an offense specified immediately above, be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of three years, in addition to any other applicable penalty.

Any person who is convicted of two violations, as set forth immediately above, which were committed while operating any motor vehicle, arising in separate incidents, shall be permanently disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Drug-related Offenses

A person who uses a commercial motor vehicle or a non-commercial motor vehicle in the commission of any felony involving the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance, including possession with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense a controlled substance shall, upon conviction, be permanently disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

A person whose privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle is disqualified under this section may, if otherwise qualified, be issued a class E driver's license, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 322.251.

  • Out of Service order violations

A driver who is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed a violation of an out-of-service order while driving a commercial motor vehicle, is disqualified as follows:

  1. At least 180 days, but not more than one year if the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed a first violation of an out of service order;
  2. At least two years, but not more than five years if, for offenses occurring within any 10 year period, the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed two violations of out-of-service orders in separate incidents;
  3. At least three years, but not more than five years if, for offenses occurring in any 10 year period, the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed three or more violations of out-of-service orders in separate incidents.
  4. At least 180 days, but not more than two years if the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed a first violation of an out-of-service-order while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. § 5101 et. seq. or while operating motor vehicles designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver. A driver is disqualified for at least three years, but not more than five years if, for offenses occurring during any 10 year period, the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed, any subsequent violations of out-of-service orders, in separate incidents, while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. § 5101 et. seq. or while operating motor vehicles designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver.
  • Railroad-highway grade crossing violations

A driver who is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed an offense of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of federal, state, or local law or regulation pertaining to one of the following six offenses at a railroad-highway grade crossing must be dissatisfied for the period of time specified below:

  1. For drivers who are not always required to stop, failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of approaching trains;
  2. For drivers who are not always required to stop, failing to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear;
  3. For drivers who are always required to stop, failing to stop before driving onto the crossing;
  4. For all drivers, failing to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping;
  5. For all drivers, failing to obey a traffic control device or all directions of an enforcement official at the crossing;
  6. For all drivers, failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

Disqualifications for railroad-highway grade crossing violations are as follows:

  1. A driver must be disqualified for at least 60 days if the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed a first railroad-highway grade crossing violation.
  2. A driver must be disqualified for at least 120 days if, for offenses occurring during any three year period, the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed a second railroad-highway grade crossing violation in separate incidents.
  3. A driver must be disqualified for at least 1 year if, for offenses occurring during any three year period, the driver is convicted of, or otherwise found to have committed a third or subsequent railroad-highway grade crossing violation.

Facing traffic offense charges? Contact our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney today for the skilled representation you need.