CDL Traffic Tickets

Washington CDL Traffic Ticket Attorney

CDL drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to their driving behaviors. A speeding ticket can have a lasting negative impact on your CDL, and other negative driving behaviors could result in a truck driver losing their job. A Washington CDL traffic ticket attorney can help you fight a CDL traffic ticket to reduce the impact on your career.

Why You Should Hire a Washington CDL Traffic Ticket Attorney

There is a lot at stake when you have a CDL and have traffic violations on your record. Not only can your employer’s CSA score drop, but you could also lose your job if the company feels you are too much of a liability. 

To avoid getting your CDL suspended, it’s important to not pay your ticket and contact a Washington CDL traffic ticket attorney first. See if you can get the ticket reduced, deferred or dropped completely. Keep your record clean and protect your employability.

Inspection Reports and CSA Scores

A CDL driver who has had their license suspended will impact the CSA score of their employer. CSA is short for Compliance, Safety and Accountability. CSA scores have not been made public since 2015, but they can still be requested by possible customers of a trucking company. The carrier license of a trucking company can be revoked if its CSA score drops low enough.

What Are Considered Serious Traffic Violations in Washington?

If you are convicted of two “serious traffic violations” within three years, your CDL could be suspended for 60 or more days. If you are convicted of three of these violations, your CDL could be suspended for 120 days or more.

Serious traffic violations for CDL drivers in western Washington include the following infractions:

  • Erratic or improper lane changes
  • Speeding 15 MPH or more over the posted speed limit
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to stop
  • Failure to yield
  • Texting while driving a commercial vehicle
  • Driving to the left of center
  • Driving too fast for the current conditions
  • Reckless driving
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while your CDL is suspended
  • Committing overweight violations of a commercial vehicle with a CDL
  • Improperly overtaking a vehicle on the right or the left
  • Negligent driving
  • Using a mobile phone while driving
  • Operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL or the proper endorsement
  • Any traffic violation that results in a fatality

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs the blood alcohol content limit (BAC) for CDL drivers throughout the country. According to regulation 383.51, a CDL driver who has a BAC of 0.04 or higher can be charged with DUI. 

If you are convicted of a DUI in Washington, your CDL will be suspended for at least one year. If the CDL driver was transporting hazardous materials when found to be driving under the influence, the driver’s CDL could be suspended for up to three years, even on the first offense. If you are convicted of a second DUI in Washington, your CDL can be permanently revoked. 

Railroad Crossing Violations

CDL drivers must follow specific rules when driving their commercial vehicles across a railroad crossing. The CDL driver is required to slow down or stop at all railroad crossings and ensure that there is enough room for the vehicle to completely cross the tracks.

 A violation of a railroad crossing can result in a minimum of a 60-day CDL suspension that can increase to 120 days or up to one year for a first, second, or third offense in a three-year period.

What Are The Washington Out-Of-Service Orders?

Washington uses out-of-service orders (OSO) for certain violations committed by CDL drivers. An OSO is an immediate order that is temporary. A 24-hour OSO is issued by Washington when a CDL driver operates their vehicle with alcohol or THC in their system. 

If a CDL driver operates a commercial vehicle while under an OSO, they can have their CDL disqualified based on the number of offenses on their record in the last 10 years:

  • First offense: 180 days to no more than one year CDL disqualification (180 up to two years if driving a commercial vehicle that hauls hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers).
  • Second offense: Anywhere from two to five years CDL disqualification (three to five years if the commercial vehicle hauls hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers).
  • Third offense: Anywhere from three to five years CDL disqualification.

Consequences of a CDL Suspension

The biggest consequence of having your CDL suspended is that you will no longer be able to earn an income as a commercial driver until the suspension ends and you re-qualify for the CDL. Aside from not being able to earn an income, you might not be able to work again as a commercial driver if you have multiple violations on your record.

I Have a CDL But Got a Traffic Ticket in My Personal Vehicle

Any of the serious traffic violations listed earlier committed in a personal vehicle while you have a CDL can have an impact on your CDL. However, only the offenses that typically lead to CDL suspension have to occur in a commercial vehicle. There is an exception, and that is reckless driving. If you are ticketed for reckless driving in your personal vehicle it will have an impact on your CDL.

Can I Requalify for a CDL in Washington?

Yes, drivers who have had their CDL suspended can requalify after the suspension has ended. You must do so formally with the Washington State Department of Licensing or else the CDL is still considered invalid. Requalification must be done in person at one of the department’s offices with the payment of the $35 re-qualification fee.