For anyone that possesses relies upon their ability to drive a commercial vehicle to make a living, the thought of facing a CDL suspension is terrifying. Unfortunately, most CDL holders do not know all of the different ways in which a CDL may be suspended under Georgia law. Even more unfortunate, many lawyers that represent commercial drivers do not understand the various offenses that may cause a mandatory suspension of a commercial drivers license under Georgia law.
If you have a CDL and you face a Georgia traffic charge, you need to be concerned about 2 different categories of charges primarily – “serious traffic offenses” and “major traffic offenses.” In this post we will address “serious traffic offenses.” You must understand what may result in a CDL suspension.
GEORGIA CDL SUSPENSION LAW
O.C.G.A. 40-5-142 tells us what are classified as “serious traffic violations” for a CDL holder:
(22) “Serious traffic violation” means conviction of any of the following offenses or a conviction of any law or ordinance equivalent thereto in this state, in any other state, or in any foreign jurisdiction, when operating either a commercial motor vehicle or, unless otherwise specified, a noncommercial motor vehicle:
(A) Speeding 15 or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit;
(B) Reckless driving;
(C) Following another vehicle too closely;
(D) Improper or erratic lane change, including failure to signal a lane change;
(E) A violation, arising in connection with a fatal crash, of state law or a local ordinance, relating to motor vehicle traffic control, excluding parking, weight, length, height, and vehicle defect violations, and excluding homicide by vehicle as defined in Code Section 40-6-393;
(F) A railroad grade crossing violation in a noncommercial motor vehicle;
(G) Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license;
(H) Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license in the driver's immediate possession, and excluding such violations when the person's commercial driver's license or commercial driving privilege is suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified;
(I) Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license of the proper class and endorsements for the specific vehicle being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo transported; or
(J) Use of a wireless telecommunications device in violation of Code Section 40-6-241.2 while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
Yes, you read that correctly. A violation as simple as speeding 15 mph over the posted speed limit is a “serious traffic violation” for the purpose of imposing a CDL suspension in Georgia.
Also, it is generally the case that the commission of a “serious traffic violation” in a non-commercial vehicle will still result in the treatment of the offense as a “serious traffic violation” for the purpose of imposing a CDL suspension in Georgia.
CDL SUSPENSION PERIODS UNDER GEORGIA LAW FOR “SERIOUS TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS”
O.C.G.A. 40-5-151 defines the penalties for a serious traffic violation for a CDL holder:
(f) Any person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of:
(1) Not less than 60 days if convicted of two serious traffic violations as defined in paragraph (22) of Code Section 40-5-142 arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period as measured from the dates of arrests for which convictions were obtained; or
(2) Not less than 120 days if convicted of a third or subsequent serious traffic violation as defined in paragraph (22) of Code Section 40-5-142 arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period as measured from the dates of arrests for which convictions were obtained.
If you have already pled guilty to a Georgia traffic citation and received a notice of suspension from the Georgia Department of Driver Services or an out-of-state licensing authority, in some cases were are still able to help. We will need to vacate the conviction that caused the suspension of your CDL and work to obtain resolution of the case that will not cause a suspension.
If you have a question regarding the potential suspension of a CDL as a result of a serious traffic violation in Georgia, contact The Sessions Law Firm.
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Atlanta, Georgia 30308
Phone: (470) 225-7710