Feifer & Greenberg has extensive experience assisting commercial drivers throughout New York City and New York State. In addition to assisting CDL holders with ordinary traffic violations, we regularly defend all commercial driving charges including those related to the weight and length of vehicles, various vehicle equipment and NYC tax stamps. Some truck tickets can be more serious than a typical traffic violation (a criminal misdemeanor) and many can come with high fines and surcharges and lead to points on your license.
Commercial Driver License (CDL) Definition
In the state of New York, a commercial driver license, or CDL, allows a person to legally drive one or more of three types of vehicles: Class A, Class B and Class C.
A Class A vehicle is one that is towing more than 10,000 pounds and has a combined weight of 26,001 pounds. A Class B vehicle is one that is towing less than 10,000 pounds with a combined weight of more than 26,001 pounds. Finally, a Class C vehicle is one that is used to haul hazardous materials or transport more than 16 people.
Anyone wishing to qualify for a commercial driver’s license in New York must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, that person must obtain medical certification and pass a vision exam. Until a driver is 21 years of age, they may not transport cargo over state lines.
Persons applying for a CDL must take an exam and a practical test. To obtain a CDL, an applicant must pass a driving test while driving the class of vehicle for which they want a license. For example, a person will be issued a Class B license after passing a practical test while driving a Class B vehicle.
Once a CDL is issued, a driver may wish to earn additional qualifications or endorsements. The education necessary to earn these qualifications and endorsements is typically provided by a truck driving school. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website has additional information for anyone interested in a commercial driver’s license.
CDL Holder Convictions
Commercial drivers need to be particularly careful when they have been charged with a driving related violation or misdemeanor
- Convictions for commercial drivers can carry more severe penalties than the same violations for non-commercial drivers because commercial drivers are considered to have an extra responsibility to traffic safety. It is easier for a commercial driver to lose CDL privileges than a non-commercial personal license holder.
- Commercial drivers don’t have the same safety net that non-commercial drivers do in the event privileges are suspended. If a non-commercial driver loses his privilege to drive he is eligible for a restricted use license to get to and from work. When a commercial driver loses his privilege to drive he will not be eligible for a restricted use license to drive a commercial vehicle.
- Even traffic tickets that do not result in a loss of the privilege to drive a commercial vehicle can be extremely harmful. Many commercial drivers are covered by an employer insurance policy. We have been contacted by numerous people who lost their job after fighting (and losing) a case on their own. These commercial drivers were told by their employers that they would be too expensive to insure. Some employers have specific policies with respect to certain point totals or convictions.
In the state of New York, an overweight violation is issued to the driver of a truck who is operating a vehicle that weighs more than legally permitted.
In general, a truck may not weigh more than 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. How much a specific truck is permitted to weigh depends on axle spacing. Some bridges and viaducts may have lower weight limits than roadways. Truck drivers are expected to know the weight limits of any passage along their route and ensure that their trailers are loaded accordingly.
The legal weight for trucks with pneumatic tires is as follows:
- Per Inch of Tire Width – 800 pounds
- Any One Wheel – 11,200 pounds
- Any One Axle – 22,400 pounds
- Any Two Axles – 36,000 pounds
- 3 or More Axles – 80,000 pounds
Trucks that are equipped with solid rubber tires are permitted to weigh up to 80 percent of the legal weight permitted for vehicles with pneumatic tires. Drivers are expected to weigh their vehicles at specific points during their routes and can be stopped and ticketed for not doing so. It is possible to fight an overweight violation in court.
If you have been issued an overweight violation ticket in the state of New York, a traffic ticket attorney can help you fight for your rights. If you believe that you are in the right, contact a legal expert before you go to court. Being found guilty of a traffic violation can add points to your license which, in turn, can make it difficult to maintain your employment.
Trucking Tickets Issued to a Corporation
Many trucking tickets are issued in the name of the company, not the driver. Be prepared to have an attorney appear on behalf of the corporation to represent the corporation in a criminal court. If you need assistance with such tickets we’d be happy to discuss.