Kurtz & Peckham, PC has extensive experience representing Colorado drivers who hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDL’s).
Since 1987, Kurtz & Peckham, PC has been the official provider of legal services to the bus drivers, mechanics, and maintenance personnel who make Colorado’s public transit run. Kurtz & Peckham assists members of Local 1001 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and their families on traffic cases all over the metro Denver region — from Boulder to Castle Rock, Aurora to Golden.
As professional drivers, the members of ATU Local 1001 depend upon maintaining a good driving record. Our office assists hundreds of bus operators with traffic-related matters each year. This extensive representation of traffic cases enables Kurtz & Peckham, P.C. to provide intelligent advice to our clients, based upon up-to-date knowledge of local courts, prosecutors’ offices, driving education opportunities, and Colorado traffic offenses. We also appear at hearings before the Department of Motor Vehicles in Lakewood, Colorado.
Here is a sampling of the types of traffic cases we handle:
- Moving violations (careless driving, speeding, unsafe lane change)
- Hit & Run and Failure to Report
- Driving Under Restraint
- Suspended/Revoked Licenses
- Alcohol-related Driving Offenses
Speeding and other traffic violations may result in the suspension or revocation or your driving privileges. Your insurance company could increase your auto insurance premium when you plead guilty to speeding and other types of moving violations. By reducing the charge on a ticket to a non-moving violation, we may help you avoid insurance premium increases. By contesting a ticket, you can limit fines and avoid possible license suspension. In many cases, we can reduce the number of points or save you from any points being assessed against your license.
Whether you are interested in keeping a clean driving record, saving money, or maintaining your license to drive, you can count on the expert advise of Kurtz & Peckham attorneys.
The following information summarizes current state and federal laws on how CDLs may be disqualified.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA)
Colorado’s CDL program currently implements federal requirements provided in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, 49 U.S.C. chapter 313, which established the requirements for the Commercial Drivers License.
The CMVSA requires all individual states to comply with certain standards in regards to the licensing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
It also requires states to ensure that drivers convicted of certain serious traffic violations be prohibited from operating a CMV.
Colorado driver licensing standards currently comply with the CMVSA.
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Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA)
Effective July 1, 2005, Colorado will also implement the requirements of the federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.
The MCSIA mandated that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and DOT to correct perceived weaknesses in the CDL program. The CMVSA originally required disqualification of drivers only for offenses committed while operating a CMV (49 U.S.C. 31310).
The MCSIA makes more offenses disqualifying, even if they are committed while operating a non-CMV.
The Section 201 of the MCSIA adds reasons for disqualifying drivers. These revisions include imposing a disqualification on CDL drivers who have been convicted of traffic offenses while operating a non-CMV which result in their license being cancelled, revoked, or suspended or of committing drug or alcohol related offenses while driving a non-CMV.
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There are 4 types of disqualifying offenses that can affect your CDL.
- Serious Traffic Violations
- Railroad Violations
- Major Offenses
- Violating an Out of Service order
1. SERIOUS TRAFFIC VIOLATION
Your CDL will be disqualified for:
Any TWO serious violations in a THREE YEAR period = 60 day CDL suspension
Any THREE serious violations in a THREE YEAR period = 120 day CDL suspension
Serious traffic violations are the following
- Speeding 15 or more over the posted limit in a CMV
- Unsafe or improper lane change in CMV
- Following too closely in a CMV
- Reckless driving in a CMV
- Accident causing a fatality in a CMV
As of July 1, 2005, there will be three additional serious violations (under MCSIA)
- Driving a CMV without a CDL in possession
- Driving a CMV without a CDL
- Driving an improper class CMV or improper endorsement
2. RAILROAD GRADE CROSSING OFFENSES
Any Railroad grade crossing offense committed in a commercial vehicle will cause a disqualifying action.
· FIRST RR grade crossing offense = 60 day CDL suspension
· Any TWO RR grade crossing offenses in a 3 YEAR period = 120 day CDL suspension
· Any THREE RR grade crossing offenses in a 3 YEAR period = 1 year CDL suspension
Effective July 1, 2005, a violation of C.R.S. 42-4-706, 42-4-707, 42-4-708, or of a substantially similar law of any other state shall be deemed a railroad crossing offense.
3. MAJOR OFFENSES
A conviction for a Major Offense will cause a DISQUALIFICATION of your CDL.
The length of the CDL disqualification for a major offense is
· FIRST OFFENSE = 1 YEAR CDL disqualification / 3 years if carrying HazMat
· Any SECOND OFFENSE in a lifetime = LIFETIME CDL disqualification
The Major Offenses are:
· Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in a CMV (See C.R.S. 42-2-405). Effective July 1, 2005, “driving under the influence” means any violation of C.R.S. 42-2-126(3)(a) or (3)(b), which includes DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, DUID. (See C.R.S. 42-2-405(3)).
· Express consent BAC 0.04 or greater in a CMV. (See C.R.S. 42-2-126(6)(b)(I)
· Refusal to take a breath or blood test in a CMV (C.R.S. 42-2-126(2)(h).
· Leaving the scene of an accident in a CMV. (See also C.R.S. § 42-2-405(3)(b)(III))
· Commission of a felony in a CMV
Effective July 1, 2005 the following ADDITIONAL offenses will cause a CDL disqualification even when they occur in your PERSONAL VEHICLE: (under MCSIA and state law)
· Causing a fatality due to wanton or willful driving in a CMV
· Driving a CMV while under a CDL disqualification
· DUI conviction with a BAC of 0.08 or more in a non-CMV
· Express Consent BAC 0.08 or more in a non-CMV
· Refusal to take test in a non-CMV
· DUI controlled substance in a non-CMV
· Leaving the scene of an accident in a non-CMV
· Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony.
4. VIOLATING AN OUT OF SERVICE ORDER
An “Out-of-service order” means a 24-hour prohibition against driving a commercial motor vehicle. C.R.S. § 42-2-402(8).
Title 49CFR § 382.505 provides that drivers are prohibited from driving for 24 hours, though not placed out-of-service, when they are discovered through testing under part 382 to have an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater, but less than 0.04.
Results below 0.02 through testing are considered “negative.”
A person who drives, operates, or is in physical control of a CMV while having any alcohol in his or her system or refuses to submit to a test to determine alcohol content while driving a CMV shall be placed out of service.
Violating an Out of Service order will cause the following CDL disqualifications:
· First offense = 90 days suspension / 180 days if carrying HazMat or passengers
· Second offense in Ten Years = 1 year suspension / 3 yrs if carrying HazMat or passengers
· Third offense in Ten Years = 3 year disqualification
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Imminent Danger to Highway Safety
Effective September 30, 2005, the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may disqualify a CDL driver if they deem that individual may be an imminent danger to highway safety.
Colorado will cancel the CDL of any person subject to a federal disqualification order on the basis of imminent hazard to public safety pursuant to 49 CFR 383.52. C.R.S. § 42-2-404(1.5)(a)
MCSIA also prohibits the following practices:
· Masking, deferring imposition of judgment or allow an individual to enter a diversion program that would prevent a CDL driver’s conviction from appearing on the driver’s record
· No CDL probationary or hardship license
· A person who is subject to a federal disqualification is not eligible for a restricted, probationary, or hardship license that would permit the person to operate a CMV during the period of disqualification. C.R.S. § 42-2-404(1.5)(b).
· Out of State “Failure to Pay” or “Failure to Appear”
A state must accept an Out of State conviction for FTA/FTP and treat it like they would if it happened in their own state. (49 CFR 383.5)
State records check and applicability (49 CFR 383.206(b))
A State must check and add to their history any State that a driver has been licensed for the last 10 years.
The State of Record must take the appropriate action for any disqualifying action that has never been taken (No statute of limitations).
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HazMat Background Check
USA PATRIOT ACT/ Homeland Security mandates that all individuals carrying hazardous materials in a CMV undergo and pass a FBI background check every 5 years.
January 31, 2005 all new HazMat drivers must undergo and pass the background check
May 31, 2005 all HazMat renewals and transfers must undergo and pass the background check
The cost for the background check (incurred by the driver or employers is expected to be approximately $100). This does not include the cost of the license.
The background check in Colorado will be good for 4 years.
The DMV is unsure yet where or how Colorado will collect the information to do the background check.
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Questions & Answers
Can I drive a CMV while I have a probationary license?
If your commercial or non-commercial driver’s license is under restraint, Colorado law states that you shall not be eligible for a restricted, probationary, or hardship license that would permit you to operate a commercial vehicle during the period of restraint. C.R.S. § 42-2-404(1.5)(b). Therefore, if you have a probationary license, you cannot drive a commercial vehicle.
Can I have more than one driver’s license?
Effective July 1, 2005, no person who drives a commercial motor vehicle may have more than one driver’s license under Colorado law. C.R.S. 42-2-404(2). A CDL license can only be issued in the driver’s state of legal residence. If you have a CDL, you can have no other driver’s license in ANY other state.
Violation of this provision is a misdemeanor subjecting violators to a fine of $25-1000 and/or not more than one year in county jail. C.R.S. 42-2-404(3).
Can I still drive my personal vehicle if I lose my CDL?
A commercial driver whose privilege to drive a CMV has been cancelled or denied may, following any applicable revocation period, apply for another type or class of driver’s license as long as there is not other statutory reason to deny such person a license.
What are the requirements to obtain a CDL in Colorado?
· You must be 21 years old.
· You must be physically capable of obtaining a valid medical examiner’s card
· You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record.
Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a Colorado CDL:
· If you possess a license from any state other than Colorado
· If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege from Colorado or any other state
· If you license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
· If you have a conviction for operating a CMV while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
If my Colorado CDL is revoked, can I apply for a CDL in another state?
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Glossary of Terms
Accident: An incident involving a commercial motor vehicle if the incident involved the loss of human life; or the driver receives a citation arising from the incident and an individual suffers a bodily injury and immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene (e.g. taken to the hospital by ambulance), or a vehicle is requires to be towed from the scene.
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV): A motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle:
· has a gross combination weight of 26,001 or more pounds inclusive of a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds, or
· has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, or
· is designed to transport 15 or more passengers (excluding the driver), or
· is used to carry 15 or less people (including the driver) when carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation, or
· is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials requiring placards under 49 CFR part 172, (subpart F).
Driver: Any person who operates a commercial motor vehicle.
Refusal to submit (to an alcohol or controlled substances test): When a driver:
· fails to provide adequate breath for testing without a valid medical explanation after he or she has received notice of the requirement of breath testing;
· fails to provide an adequate urine sample for controlled substances testing without a genuine inability to provide a specimen (as determined by a medical evaluation) after he or she has received notice of the requirement for urine testing; or
· engages in conduct that clearly obstructs the testing process.
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