If you possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Virginia law is extra strict on you. For a person with a regular license, the General District Court or Circuit Court may require you to go to a driver improvement clinic (driving school), to receive a reduction, dismissal, or deferred finding on your charge. For example, if you were charged with reckless driving, a judge may be able to punish you by sending you to driving school, and allow you to get your charge reduced to “improper driving” if you comply with his terms.
However, CDL holders are not so lucky. Virginia Code § 46.2-505 states that
“… no court shall, as a result of a person’s attendance at a driver improvement clinic, reduce, dismiss, or defer the conviction of a person charged with any offense committed while operating a commercial motor vehicle as defined in the Virginia Commercial Driver’s License Act (§ 46.2-341.1 et seq.) or any holder of a commercial driver’s license charged with any offense committed while operating a noncommercial motor vehicle.”
Notice the last line cited above, which mentions that this applies even if you are driving a noncommercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense. Just the fact that you have a CDL means that a judge may not be able to be as merciful as he normally might be, even if you were driving your own personal vehicle at the time of the traffic stop and have a perfect driving record!
While a judge can not send you to driving school, this does not mean that you can not receive a break elsewhere. In cases where a driver possess a CDL, I make it an extra point to negotiate with the officer or the prosecutor, if there is one assigned to the case, to receive the best outcome I can. An officer or prosecutor who understands the circumstances may be willing to amend a charge so that a client is not crushed by the harshness of this law.
If you possess a CDL, call us for a free consultation on your case today.