Some people have to be able to drive in order to do their job, and things can get difficult for them if they find themselves charged with a violation of the law that could lead to the loss of their driving privileges. This is particularly a problem for drivers who have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) that allows them to operate commercial motor vehicles. There can be significant consequences to Massachusetts motor vehicle violations.
When a CDL driver commits a major violation of the law, the driver will likely lose his or her CDL license either temporarily or permanently. This is called disqualification of the driver, meaning he or she is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of time. Disqualifications are broken down based on how serious the violation is and are divided into two groups – serious traffic violations and major offenses.
Serious Traffic Violations
A first time offense of a serious traffic violation while operating a commercial motor vehicle, standing individually and alone, does not necessarily result in a disqualification for a CDL driver. These traffic violations include:
- Excessive speeding (more than 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit).
- Following too closely.
- Improper lane changes.
- Erratic driving.
- Reckless driving.
- Operating a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL (i.e., without ever obtaining a CDL or simply not having it on the driver) or an improper CDL based on the class of the commercial motor vehicle.
Under M.G.L. c. 90F, s. 9, a second offense of a serious traffic violation within three years of the first offense will result in a disqualification of 60 days, while a third violation within three years will result in disqualification for 120 days. Disqualification periods stack on top of one another.
First Time Major Violations
Major violations of the law, in and of themselves, result in periods of CDL disqualification, i.e., committing a major violation warrants disqualification. Below is an incomplete list of major violations that can cost a CDL driver his or her CDL privileges under M.G.L. c. 90F, s. 9:
- When a driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle or a personal vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is a disqualification for one year.
- When a driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle or a personal vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a commercial motor vehicle, it is a disqualification for one year.
- If a driver leaves the scene of an accident, it is a disqualification of one year.
- If a driver uses the commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony, it is a disqualification for one year – unless the vehicle (commercial or personal vehicle) is being used in the manufacturing, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance, which results in a disqualification for life.
- When a driver is caught operating a commercial vehicle while under disqualification for a prior offense, it is a disqualification for one year.
- If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical in violation of Massachusetts implied consent law, it is a disqualification for one year.
- If any of the above are done by a CDL driver who is transporting hazardous materials, then the disqualification is increased to three years.
Second Time Major Violations
A second violation of any of the major offenses laid out in M.G.L. c. 90F, s. 9 results in a lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
Contacting a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
Facing criminal charges is tough enough, and knowing that a conviction will result in the loss of your driving privileges makes the stakes that much higher. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side fighting to protect your rights. Our Attorney has experience handling criminal defense cases, and can help you fight your charges. Contact DUI defense Our Attorney either online .