DWI CDL Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri

With the new changes in the law against holders of commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) in Missouri DWI cases, it is imperative that you hire someone who has experience in handling these matters.

In addition to the other things you should consider when hiring a Missouri DWI lawyer in normal DWI cases, you will want to know if they have won Missouri DWI cases with clients carrying commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) in the past.

If the lawyer you are thinking about hiring to attempt to save your CDL has not ever won one of these specialized cases before, you should be very careful. Be sure to ask the lawyer you are thinking about hiring in your Missouri DWI case involving a CDL:

"Have you ever won or reduced to a non-DWI disposition the criminal portion of a DWI case involving a CDL where the client did not get his CDL suspended for the criminal charge?" "WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO LET ME CALL THE PRIOR CDL CLIENT TO CONFIRM? "

and, more importantly:

"Have you ever won a civil license suspension hearing in a DWI case involving a CDL where the client did not get his CDL suspended for allegedly blowing above the legal limit?" "WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO LET ME CALL THE PRIOR CDL CLIENT TO CONFIRM?"

We have several, incredibly grateful past clients who were holding CDLs in their Missouri DWI cases who have offered to serve as references should you wish to contact them as a background check for our office.

When the stakes are so high for you, as a CDL holder in these cases, you had better make sure you a guinea pig and some lawyers first time.

Background

There are federal requirements that each State must have minimum requirements for the licensing of commercial drivers. You must have a commercial driver license (CDL) to operate:

  • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds;
  • a trailer with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds if the gross combination weight rating is more than 26,000 pounds; or,
  • a vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons (including the driver); any size vehicle which requires hazardous materials placards.

If you have a Missouri Class A, B, or C Commercial Driver License (CDL), you are automatically licensed to operate both commercial and private (noncommercial) motor vehicles using one driver's license in the State of Missouri.

However, if you commit any offense that requires the suspension or revocation of your Missouri driver's license, you will lose all of your driving privileges, including commercial driving privileges.

Effective September 30, 2005, if you are a Missouri Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holder, and if your driver's license is suspended or revoked, you cannot drive any commercial motor vehicle during the period of suspension/revocation. Even though you possess a commercial driver's license (CDL), you may only apply for Limited Driving Privileges to operate a private (non-commercial) vehicle. You may not operate a commercial vehicle on your non-commercial limited driving privilege, even assuming you are eligible to get one.

What Are Some of The Missouri Driving Offenses that Require the Suspension or Revocation of Any Missouri Driver License?

  • Accumulation of points for traffic offenses occurring while operating any vehicle, such as speeding, careless driving, driving while intoxicated;
  • Driving any motor vehicle with a .08% or more Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), or if under-21-years-old driving with a .02% or more BAC (administrative suspension/revocation);
  • Driving without insurance (administrative suspension);
  • Refusal to submit to chemical testing when requested to do so by law enforcement (one-year administrative revocation); Court ordered SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION of license for a drug or alcohol-related offense (Abuse and Lose administrative action against license).
The Point System Point Accumulation Action Against Driver
8 points in 18 months

1st suspension - 30 days

2nd suspension - 60 days

3rd or more suspensions - 90 days

12 points in 12 months,

18 points in 24 months,

or 24 points in 36 months

License revoked for 1 year

Examples of Point System Violations:

  • Drive While Disqualified - 2 points
  • Excessive Speeding - 3 points
  • Failure to Keep Right - 2 points
  • Failure/Improper Signal - 2 points
  • Following Too Close - 2 points
  • Improper Lane - 2 points
  • No Commercial Driver License - 2 points

Missouri Commercial Driver's Driving Record History

If you possess a commercial driver's license (CDL), your commercial driver's driving history travels with you when you move from state to state.

Your driver's history, before coming to Missouri is shown on the Missouri driving record under "Informational Driving History."

If any serious or disqualifying traffic offenses are contained in the informational driving history and additional offenses are committed while licensed as a Missouri driver, all offenses in the informational driving history and the current offenses are used (evaluated) to determine if the disqualification of your commercial driver's license (CDL) is required.

Missouri Implied Consent provisions for Refusals in Commercial Motor Vehicles

RSMo. 302.745 provides that any person who operates a commercial motor vehicle within the State of Missouri is deemed to have given his or her consent to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine to determine BAC or the presence of a controlled substance.

The chemical test may be requested by any law enforcement officer who has reason to believe that the driver was operating a commercial motor vehicle while having any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in his or her system. The officer does not have to have reason to believe the driver was driving while intoxicated.

No more than two tests may be required from any one incident.

RSMo. Section 302.750 provides that if an officer in a Missouri DUI / DWI case involving a commercial motor vehicle has requested a chemical test and the driver refuses, that no chemical test will be given and that the officer will file a sworn report with the Missouri Director of Revenue.

Notes:


A refusal will result in the driver being immediately placed out of service for a period of at least 24 hours. A refusal in this context will result in a disqualification of a commercial driving privilege for a period of one year for a first offense, or ten years for a second or subsequent offense. The evidence of the refusal in a Missouri DUI / DWI case involving a commercial motor vehicle will be admissible against the driver.


To challenge the alleged refusal in a Missouri DUI / DWI case involving a commercial motor vehicle, a Petition for Review must be filed in the county where the request for the chemical test was made. The court has only two issues to determine at such a hearing: 1) whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving a commercial motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in his or her system; and, 2) whether the driver actually refused the chemical test. A driver operating a commercial vehicle does not have to be placed under arrest to be requested to submit to a chemical test as in the case of a "normal" refusal case.


Missouri Disqualification or Out-Of-Service Commercial Driver License (CDL) Suspensions

If you receive a Missouri disqualification or out-of-service order, this is a loss of only your commercial driving privileges for a specified period of time. During any "disqualification" or a "period of out-of-service," you can continue to drive any private (noncommercial) motor vehicles without obtaining Limited Driving Privileges if you are not otherwise suspended or revoked.

You may be disqualified for the following convictions in Missouri or any other state:

60 Days Disqualification

You will be subject to a Missouri 60-Days Disqualification on your commercial driver's license (CDL) if you receive two serious traffic convictions within three years if you are a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder or if you were operating a commercial motor vehicle. 

Note: This Three-Year Period Will Be Measured by Violation Dates Rather than Conviction Dates.

Serious Traffic Convictions Include for The Purposes of A 60-Days Disqualification to A Commercial Driver's License (CDL):

  • reckless driving;
  • speeding 15 mph or more above the speed limit;
  • improper or erratic lane changes;
  • following too closely; and,
  • any moving violation relating to a fatal crash.

Serious Traffic Convictions for The Purposes of A 60-Days Disqualification to A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Also Include:

  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL);
  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without commercial driver's license (CDL) in possession;
  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without the proper class of commercial driver's license (CDL) or endorsement/ restrictions;
  • Receiving one railroad-highway grade crossing violation while you are operating a commercial motor vehicle.

90 Days Disqualification

You will receive a 90-Days Disqualification for your first traffic conviction violating an "out-of-service order" while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

120 Days Disqualification

If you are holding a commercial driver's license (CDL) or operating a commercial motor vehicle and receive three or more serious traffic convictions within three years, you will be subject to a 120-Days Disqualification. 

Note: The three-year period will be based on the violation date rather than the conviction date.

Serious traffic convictions include for the purposes of a 120-days disqualification to a commercial driver's license (CDL):

  • reckless driving;
  • speeding 15 mph or more above the speed limit;
  • improper or erratic lane changes;
  • following too closely; and,
  • any moving violation relating to a fatal crash.

Serious Traffic Convictions for The Purposes of A 120-Days Disqualification to A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Also Include:

  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL);
  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without commercial driver's license (CDL) in possession;
  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without proper class of commercial driver's license (CDL) or endorsement/restrictions; and,
  • Receiving a second railroad-highway grade crossing violation while you are operating a commercial motor vehicle.

180 Days Disqualification

You will receive a 180-days disqualification on your commercial driver's license (CDL) for your first traffic conviction for violating an "out-of-service order" while operating a commercial motor vehicle and transporting hazardous materials or transporting 15 passengers or more. 

1 Year Disqualification

You will receive a 1-year disqualification from your commercial driver's license (CDL) if you:

  • were driving a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.04% or higher;
  • were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs if you are a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder or if you were operating a commercial vehicle;
  • Refused a blood and / or breath test if you are a commercial driver's license holder (CDL) or if you were operating a commercial motor vehicle;
  • failed to stop at the scene of an accident if the accident causes injury or death;
  • used a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony;
  • drove a commercial motor vehicle with a revoked, suspended, canceled, or disqualified driving privilege;
  • caused a fatality through the negligent or criminal operation of a commercial motor vehicle (includes the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, and negligent homicide);
  • made a false statement on any application for a commercial driver's license (CDL);
  • receive a second traffic conviction within ten years for driving a commercial motor vehicle while out-of- service; or,
  • receive a third or subsequent railroad-highway grade crossing violation within three years while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

3-Year Disqualification

You will receive a 3-year disqualification from your commercial driver's license (CDL) if you:

  • Receive a first conviction for any one of the top seven violations listed under one- year disqualification while transporting hazardous materials;
  • Receive a third or subsequent conviction within ten years for violating "out-of-service orders" while operating a commercial motor vehicle; or,
  • Receive a second or subsequent conviction within ten years for violating an "out-of-service order" while operating a commercial motor vehicle while transporting hazardous materials or transporting 15 passengers or more.

Lifetime Disqualification

You will receive a Lifetime Disqualification from your commercial driver's license (CDL) if you:

  • receive a second conviction for any one of the top seven violations listed under one-year disqualifications.

Permanent Disqualification

You will receive a Permanent Disqualification from your commercial driver's license (CDL) if you:

  • receive ANY conviction for using a motor vehicle in the manufacture or illegal distribution of drugs.

Imminent Hazard Disqualification (Not to Exceed One Year)

You will may be subject to an imminent hazard disqualification (not to exceed one year) from your commercial driver's license (CDL) if a determination is made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that your conduct constitutes an imminent hazard.

Masking of Traffic Violations for Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Drivers Not Allowed

Beginning September 30, 2005, Missouri courts are no longer allowed to defer imposition of sentence, suspend imposition of sentence, or allow you as a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder or person required to have a commercial driver license's (CDL) to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a conviction regarding traffic control laws, in any type of vehicle, from appearing on the your driving record. 

Driver Improvement Programs

You are no longer allowed as a holder of a commercial driver's license (CDL) from entering into a driver improvement program in lieu of points for offenses that are committed in a commercial motor vehicle.

Beginning September 30, 2005, you will not be allowed to enter a driver improvement program for any offense you commit in a commercial motor vehicle or by any commercial driver's license (CDL) holder whether the offenses are committed in a noncommercial or commercial motor vehicle

Limited Driving Privileges

Beginning September 30, 2005, you can no longer receive a limited driving privilege (LDP) to operate a commercial motor vehicle during any period of suspension, revocation, cancellation, or disqualification.

If you are holding a commercial driver's license (CDL), and if you are are "eligible," a limited driving privilege (LDP) will allow you to continue driving in a "noncommercial vehicle" for employment or specified reasons during a period of suspension or revocation.

Where you are holding a commercial driver's license (CDL), Limited Driving Privileges are not available at all during a period of disqualification of commercial driver's license (CDL) privilege; and are not available for certain suspensions/revocations such as felonies or alcohol-related actions.

Applications for Limited Driving Privileges may be obtained at local Motor Vehicle and Drivers Licensing Contract Offices, or a petition may be filed with the court in the county of residence or employment.

Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with Hazardous Materials Endorsement Shall Expire No More than Five Years from The Date of The Background Check

Effective January 31, 2005, if you apply for a new commercial driver's license (CDL) with a hazardous materials (HazMat) endorsement, you must submit an application and your fingerprints to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to obtain approval for the endorsement prior to issuance.

This will be effective for all renewing and transferring HazMat holders as of May 31, 2005. You will be eligible for one 90-day temporary commercial driver license (CDL), pending the Transportation Security Administration assessment response.

Once the commercial driver's license (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement is approved, (if it is approved), you will be issued a license with an expiration date not to exceed five years from the date of the Transportation Security Administration assessment.

You will no longer be eligible for a 6-year license with such an endorsement. These changes are due to the requirements of the USA PATRIOT ACT.

Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with Bus Endorsement

Beginning May 31, 2005, if you are applying for a commercial or noncommercial driver's license and want to operate a school bus owned or under contract with a public or private school, you will be required to complete the required written and skills testing and obtain a school bus (S) endorsement on your driver license.

Prior to obtaining the S endorsement, you must obtain approval by meeting current medical, fingerprint-based criminal records check, and child abuse and neglect registry checks.

Pending the results of the criminal background checks, you may be eligible for a temporary license with the S endorsement.

Missouri license holders will no longer be issued a separate school bus permit document. Commercial license holders are required to have a passenger (P) endorsement on the face of their commercial driver's license (CDL) to be eligible for the S endorsement.

If you have a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) from another state and want to operate a school bus owned or under contract with a public or private school, you must also have the P and S endorsements issued pursuant to federal regulations.

Checks Before Issuance of A Driver License or Permit

Prior to issuance of a new, renewal, or duplicate commercial or noncommercial driver's license or permit, Missouri shall request information from the National Driver Register and the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) regarding the individual's driver status.

Request for 10-Year Driving Information

Prior to issuance of a new or renewal commercial driver's license, Missouri must request from any other state that has issued a driver's license to the individual, all information about the driving record of the applicant and mark the record showing the check has been done.

Other Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Rules:

There are other federal and state rules which affect drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in all states.

  • First, you cannot have more than one license. If you break this rule, a court may fine you up to $5,000 or put you in jail. Keep your home state license and return any others.
  • Second, you must notify your employer within 30 days of conviction for any traffic violations (except parking). This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were driving.
  • Third, you must notify your motor vehicle licensing agency within 30 days if you are convicted in any other jurisdiction of any traffic violation (except parking). This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were driving.
  • Fourth, you must notify your employer if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving. Fifth, you must give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job.
  • Finally, you may not drive a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license (CDL). A court may fine you up $5,000 or put you in jail for breaking this rule.
  • Further, your employer may not let you drive a commercial motor vehicle if you have more than one license or if your commercial driver's license (CDL) is suspended or revoked. A court may fine the employer up to $5,000 or put him/her in jail for breaking this rule.

All states are connected to one computerized system to share information about commercial driver's license (CDL) drivers. All the states will check on drivers' accident records and be sure that drivers don't get more than one commercial driver's license (CDL).

In Summary, You Will Lose Your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for At Least One Year for A First Offense:

  • If you drive a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (for example, illegal drugs);
  • If you leave the scene of an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle you were driving;
  • If you use a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony.
  • If the offense occurs while you are operating a commercial motor vehicle that is placarded for hazardous materials, you will lose your commercial driver's license (CDL) for at least three years. You will lose your commercial driver's license (CDL) for life for a second offense. You will also lose your commercial driver's license (CDL) for life if you use a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony involving controlled substances.

You Will Also Lose Your Commercial Driver's License (CDL):

  • For at least 60 days if you have committed two Serious Traffic Violations traffic within a three-year period involving a commercial motor vehicle;
  • For at least 120 days for three serious traffic violations within a three-year period.
  • As discussed above, "serious traffic violations" are excessive speeding (15 mph or more above the posted limit), reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following a vehicle too closely, and traffic offenses committed in a commercial motor vehicle in connection with fatal traffic accidents.
  • Further, as discussed, it is illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. You will lose your commercial driver's license (CDL) for one year for your first offense. You will lose it for life for your second offense. If your blood alcohol concentration BAC is less than 0.04% but you have any detectable amount, you will be put out-of-service for 24 hours. If you operate a commercial motor vehicle, you shall be deemed to have given your Implied Consent to alcohol testing for the above-mentioned violations.

Missouri DUI / DWI cases involving commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) are some of the most serious that exist in terms of penalties to your right to drive and your freedom. With the new changes in the law, it no longer matters if you receive a DUI / DWI in your commercial vehicle or in your own private non-commercial vehicle on your own time. The penalties are now the same. If you are facing such a case, please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your situation and receive a free consultation.