After receiving an Illinois CDL traffic violations ticket, a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) holder may feel overwhelmed and shaken up by the event of a CDL disqualification. But it is critical for the CDL driver to seek legal help as soon as possible in order to avoid the risk of losing driving privileges and the future loss of income.
It is extremely important not to mail in payment and not to ask for traffic safety school for any serious moving ticket violation. It does not matter whether a CDL driver asks for Court Supervision - doing so only results in placing a conviction on the (MVR) motor vehicle record. Furthermore, arrangements will have to be made to take time off away from work in order to physically attend traffic school inside the county of the State where the traffic ticket was issued. Certain violations can increase insurance rates and result in a disqualification or suspension of CDL driving privileges.
Just because the police told you to mail in the ticket in order to save you a trip to the local courthouse does not mean you should avoid speaking to an Illinois traffic attorney. Two serious moving violations in any 36-month period will result in a CDL being suspended for a minimum of two months. See 625 ILCS 5/6-514(e).
Here is a top 10 list of Illinois CDL traffic violations judged to be convictions based on a finding of guilty against the CDL driver:
10. Illinois Overweight Truck Ticket
A truck may be pulled over if any Illinois police officer has reason to believe the vehicle is overweight. See 625 ILCS 5/15-112. Overweight truck tickets in Illinois can be issued both at stationary weigh stations or portable scales. The following below shows how the fines are calculated.
Up to and including 2,000 pounds overweight, the fine is $100
From 2001 to 2500 pounds overweight, the fine is $270
From 2501 to 3000 pounds overweight, the fine is $330
From 3001 to 3500 pounds overweight, the fine is $520
From 3501 to 4000 pounds overweight, the fine is $600
From 4001 to 4500 pounds overweight, the fine is $850
From 4501 to 5000 pounds overweight, the fine is $950
From 5001 or more pounds overweight, the fine shall be computed by assessing $1500 for the first 5000 pounds overweight and $150 for each additional increment of 500 pounds overweight or fraction thereof. See 625 ILCS 5/15-113. (effective 2012).
Overweight tickets are not serious traffic violations for CDL disqualification purposes. However, a truck grossly overweight beyond the permit carried can skyrocket fines well over into the stratosphere upwards to the tens of thousands of dollars. An overweight truck lawyer from Jeremy M. Wang Law may substantially reduce the fines that are paid for these violations.
9. Driving on a Suspended CDL or Having no Valid CDL or Having Multiple CDLs
For the CDL driver, the most common type of license suspension occurs for failing to comply with a prior traffic ticket issued in a different state and that reporting state notifies the home state where the CDL was issued and the home state suspends the CDL driver. Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) is a Class A Criminal Misdemeanor in Illinois. The governing statute is 625 ILCS 5/6-303 which provides: "...any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on any highway of this State at a time when such person's driver's license, permit or privilege to do so or the privilege to obtain a driver's license or permit is revoked or suspended as provided by this Code or the law of another state... shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor."
Operating a motor vehicle on an Illinois highway without carrying a valid license or permit is a serious traffic violation for the CDL-holder. See 625 ILCS 5/6-101 and 625 ILCS 5/6-507(a). Driving with no valid CDL is another type of serious moving violation in Illinois and is a Criminal Class B Misdemeanor.
Likewise, no CDL driver shall have more than one commercial driver's license. See 625 ILCS 5/6-501. These are all considered serious moving violations and place the CDL driver at risk for disqualification. See 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(iv) and 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(v).
8. Illinois Speeding through Construction Zone and School Zone Ticket
Under Illinois law, there are enhanced penalties for speeding in a construction zone. See 625 ILCS 5/11-605.1. In addition to higher fines than a regular petty speeding ticket. A first violation of this statute is a petty offense for the non- CDL holder. However, speeding above the posted speed limit through a construction zone is considered a serious moving offense for the CDL holder. The situation looks worse if the officer writes "workers present" on the ticket.
School zones become a major concern when commercial vehicles exit the highways and enter residential neighborhoods. In Illinois, the speed limit is 20 mph on school days when children are present. A school day begins at 7am and ends at 4pm. See 625 ILCS 5/11-605. Police routinely patrol these areas to catch speeders. For the CDL holder, this moving violation is a serious offense eligible for disqualification.
7. Illinois Truck Accident Ticket
The duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing damage or injury to others applies to all persons. CDL drivers operate oversize vehicles. As such the CDL holder found in violation of failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident is guilty of a serious moving violation. A finding of guilty to improper lane usage places the CDL driver at risk for disqualification. See 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(vi).The fact the driver was travelling less than the posted speed limit is no defense. Speed must be decreased as necessary given the road conditions in order to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle on a highway. See 625 ILCS 5/11-601(a). Failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident places the CDL holder at risk for CDL disqualification. Other times law enforcement may issue Following Too Closely tickets at the scene of a rear-end collision. See 625 ILCS 5/11-710 & 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(vii). It is important to note that a plea of guilty is an admission of guilt that may be used against you in the civil matter arising out of the accident, whereas being found guilty by a Court is not.
6. Illinois Driving and Talking on a Hand Held Cell Phone without a Headset Ticket
Today, newer passenger vehicles are equipped with one-touch button and built-in blue tooth systems. While this is considered a standard option in the modern era - this feature is not available in many commercial vehicles. Driving and talking on a cell phone without a hands-free or head set device is prohibited. See 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2(d)(3). This is a serious moving violation for the CDL driver. See 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(ix).
5. Illinois Texting and Driving Ticket
Distracted Driving is any activity that could pull a driver's attention away from the task of driving. Illinois has prohibition laws regarding the use of electronic communication devices while driving. The law for the purpose of this section refers to cell phones, handheld mobile music player devices, tablet devices; but does not include GPS systems or anything that is physically integrated into the motor vehicle. See 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2. In general, the use of these electronic devices while driving on a public roadway is not allowed. See 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2. Illinois police are cracking down on Distracted Driving and will continue to do so. Unlike other states, Illinois currently treats the first time texting and driving violation as an equipment violation for the non-CDL holder. However, starting July 1, 2019, drivers caught texting on their cell phones while driving will not only get fined, but it will count as a moving violation that could lead to license suspension. For the CDL Driver, Illinois texting while driving is already considered a serious moving violation for CDL disqualification. See 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(viii).
4. Illinois DUI Ticket
Illinois treats DUI offenders very seriously. For the non-CDL driver, operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 or more is guilty of Driving Under the Influence. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1). For the CDL driver, this threshold has been lowered down to a BAC of 0.04 or more. In addition to criminal penalties for both types of drivers, the CDL driver will be facing Illinois disqualification on the 46th day following DUI arrest. See 625 ILCS 5/6-517.
3. Illinois Unsafe Lane Change Ticket
Otherwise known as "stay within your lane" laws, CDL drivers must stay alert to keep their vehicles within their lane. A driver must keep a vehicle driven entirely within the single lane of travel as much as practicable. And no such change of lane shall be made without first making certain such movement is safe. See 625 ILCS 5/11-709(a). Violations arise when vehicles start to drift over and cross the lines of their travelling lane. A finding of guilty to improper lane change places the CDL driver at risk for disqualification. See 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(vi).
2. Illinois Improper Lane Usage Ticket
In Illinois, roadways having 4 or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall be driven in the right-hand lane of traffic. See 625 ILCS 5/11-701. Otherwise known as "keep right" laws, the left lane is only to be used for I-Passing, overtaking, left lane exiting and other emergency and practical related exceptions. See 625 ILCS 5/11-701(e). While the law is not aggressively enforced against the non-CDL holders operating smaller passenger cars, oversized vehicles travelling in the left lane are easily targeted due to the sheer size size of being present in the left lane. A finding of guilty to improper lane usage places the CDL driver at peril for disqualification. See 625 ILCS 5/6-500.26(A)(vi).
1. Illinois Speeding 15 mph or More than the Posted Speed Limit Ticket