Eric J. Dirga, P.A.

A Florida Trial Attorney

Criminal Record Expungements/Sealings, Traffic Defense.

733 West Colonial Drive, Orlando 32801 - 407-841-5555

Defense of Commercial Driver's Licenses

Protecting Commercial Drivers and Licenses

Information provided by Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Orlando - Statewide Service

Last Updated: November 5, 2015

Drivers holding a commercial driver's license (CDL) have unique issues with any traffic ticket they receive. Civil citations issued to commercial driver's license holders implicate not only the driver's insurance premiums but also the driver's employment. Florida law is very specific about penalties for drivers with commercial driver's licenses. Do not fail to address a ticket you have received if you are a CDL holder.

Florida Law Regarding Commercial Drivers Licenses

Florida law is very hard on holders of commercial driver's licenses. Your options. as a CDL driver who has received a ticket, are limited. By law you cannot take a driving school to keep the points off your M. V. R.. This means you have one option - set your ticket for a hearing. If you are like most commercial drivers you won't have time to attend a hearing so you'll have to hire an attorney to represent you in court.

Section 322.61 of the Florida Statutes specifically deals with the circumstances when the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles [hereinafter "Department"] can disqualify a driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle. Of course, disqualification also means no employment as a commercial driver. I've broken down this law so it is easier to understand on my Florida CDL Law page.

Department Will No Longer Accept No Points for CDL Holders

As of January 11, 2014, things have gotten much worse. On that date the Department indicated (see DMV Letter [.PDF]) that if a person holding a Commercial Driver's License received a ticket and was found guilty the Department would not accept a withhold of adjudication. This means points will always be assessed on a CDL holder's license for all moving violations found guilty of regardless of whether the infraction occurred in a commercial vehicle or one personally owned.

Good News: Most Hearing Officers Are Ignoring DMV

Most hearing officers have decided (I think correctly) that the Department cannot dictate what they can and cannot do - including the withholding of points. What does this mean for the attorney and you? First, all moving violations have to be fought to a dismissal or amended to a non-moving violation if the Hearing Officer is following the Department's letter. The good news is that law enforcement have typically not tried to harm a CDL holder's job. Now we are asking law enforcement to not just agree to no points but to amend their citations to non-moving violations and they seem inclined to do this.

If the Hearing Officer does withhold the points we have heard that the Department may be rejecting these leaving the tickets in limbo (and probably off your MVR. We will have to wait and see what ultimately happens with these.

Electing A Hearing: Keeping The Points Off Your M.V.R.

Since you cannot keep off the points any other way except for electing a hearing and fighting your ticket to a dismissal or agreeing to an amendment it is important that you make the correct election. Once ticketed you have 30 days to do this. All Florida citations should have the instructions for asking for a hearing on the ticket. If not look at the ticket and find out what county you were cited in - this is usually in the upper left-hand corner of the ticket. Then go to the Clerks Of Court directory for Florida. This page lists all the clerks in Florida with links to their websites. From the website you should be able to find out how to contact them and make the election for a hearing.

If you make this election remember that the Clerk will send the Notice of Hearing to the address found on the ticket unless you specify a different one. Also, the date of the hearing will be at the Clerk's convenience. If you can't make the date it is set for then immediately contact the Clerk and ask for a new date. Do not wait until the day before (or even the week before) the hearing.

Hiring A Traffic Lawyer To Save You Time And Money

Hiring a Traffic Lawyer is well worth the time you'd spend trying to do it yourself. Make sure the attorney does traffic court as part of his or her regular practice. If the fee seems too high it probably is. Shop around to make sure you are getting the best representation for the price.

I have been representing drivers for over 10 years. I know the law and will explain your situation to you when you call. I will file on your ticket, set it for a hearing, attend court, and send you the disposition. You don't have to do anything after hiring my office. My fees are reasonable. You can check out my Traffic Ticket Lawyer Cost page for more information.

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