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Special Penalties for Commercial Drivers in PA

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There are severe enhancements to the penalties in PA that a Commercial Driver (CDL) will suffer on their license that normal, Class "C," drivers do not.

18_wheeler : Fuel truck with flammable sign.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

In Pennsylvania, Commercial Drivers are held to a higher standard of driving.  This is due, in part, because they are professionals.  However, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportion has a responsibility as a enforcement agency for the health and public safety for other motorists to ensure that CDL drivers are safe while on the roadways of the Commonwealth.  As a result, more severe penalties for suspension of licencing is enforced against CDL drivers.  They are held to a higher standard and duty of care.

For instance, CDL drivers face suspension disqualification of their "Class A" license for "Major Offenses" and "Serious Traffic Offenses" that most "Class C" drivers will not face.

Compare and contrast the differences in penalties:

I've attached the PADOT 'Fact Sheet' for assignment of points and determination for suspensions for "Class C" licenses:  http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/fact_sheets/pub472.pdf

Now, take a look and compare the PADOT 'Disqualificatons and Traffic Offenses Fact Sheet' for CDL or CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) drivers:  http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/fact_sheets/fs-pub7216.pdf

You will see that, for instance, that if I'm cited for 'Leaving the Scene of an Accident' (page 2 of first 'Fact Sheet'), I face a 1 year loss of CDL license or a 3 year loss of a HAZMAT license.  However, for a "Class C" driver, I only get 4 points assigned to my license.  No suspension.  It also depends on what type of vehicle you are operating at the time of the offense.  If I'm using a CMV at the time, it's potentially more serious.  If I'm in my personal vehicle (Class C), then it may not be as severe, but I still lose my CDL.

What should I do if I'm cited and I have a CDL?

Do not instantly 'plead guilty' because you feel as if you did it and you have no other choice.  There are always options.  You should always contact an attorney that is knowledgeable with the ramifications for a CDL or HAZMAT license in PA or another state.  There may be consequences in your home state if you are cited in Pennsylvania.  You may call Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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