Criminal Accusations Against a CDL Holder in Ohio

An estimated four to six million Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders actively work in the transportation industry in the United States. Because CDL holders operate oversized trucks, transport hazardous materials, or transport passengers, the CDL holder is held to a higher standard of behavior. After a criminal accusation is made, judges and prosecutors often seek to impose more serious consequences on a CDL holder such as a disqualification of the CDL.

Criminal and traffic cases involving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) or CDL holder are common. In fact, recent statistics show that large trucks and buses are involved in almost ten percent of all traffic crash fatalities. The rules are complicated when it comes to the requirements imposed on the court clerks and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for reporting the driver license related convictions to the state driver licensing agency (SDLA).

It is also important to remember that even some non-traffic related criminal accusations in Ohio made against a CDL Holder can trigger a disqualification of the commercial driver's license. Finding an experienced criminal defense attorney is important when protecting your good name and ability to continue in your chosen profession.


Attorney for the CDL Holder in Columbus, Ohio

Florida law contains several mandatory commercial driver’s license (CDL) disqualification rules which often come up during the prosecution of felony offenses, especially for the holder of a commercial driver’s license or a person driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Police officers will often show the defendant’s CDL status on an arrest report or citation. If the prosecutor or judge seeks to impose any penalty that might trigger a CDL disqualification, your criminal defense attorney needs to have a good understanding of the laws in this area and know how to aggressively fight to avoid those consequences.

Our attorneys fight to avoid any mandated sanctions that the prosecutor might seek to impose on a CDL holders who is accused of using a motor vehicle during the commission of a felony or certain types of misdemeanor offenses related to the consumption of drugs or alcohol.

Our traffic attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, are experienced fighting cases involving the possibility of a mandatory license revocation or suspension. We are also familiar with the additional sanctions and sentencing restrictions that can be imposed on a defendant who holds a commercial driver’s license in Ohio.

Our attorneys can help you contest an allegation that triggers a CDL disqualification but you have 30 days to demand a Ohio BMV administrative hearing to contest the action. 


CDL Disqualifications in Ohio

Ohio has adopted many of the additional sanctions required for the state by Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The failure to comply with FMCSA commercial motor vehicle operator licensing and oversight regulations can result in the loss of highway funding. In Ohio, the state law has referenced the entirety of 49 CFR §383 and 49 CFR §384 or codified its provisions into statutory language.

Under Ohio law, the privilege to operate a CDL vehicle is disqualified when the driver is convicted of certain violations in either a commercial motor vehicle or a non-commercial private passenger vehicle. During the disqualification, no CDL driving privileges are permitted at all. In Ohio, the length of the disqualification length is based on the offense and it can last from 60 days to life.

The State of Ohio has codified FMCSA promulgated regulatory language through OH. Rev. Code Ann. § 4506.15 which adopts language substantially similar to 49 CFR §383.51. These provisions mandate the disqualification of a CDL for specified periods of time depending on the underlying offense that triggers the disqualification.

For many of these offenses, Ohio goes further than the mandatory disqualifications required under federal law and actually criminalizes the violation as a first-degree misdemeanor.


Types of CDL Disqualifications in Ohio

A CDL disqualification can be triggered for different reasons including: 

  • Refusing to submit a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test;
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI);
  • Convictions for multiple serious traffic offenses;
  • Felonies committed by using a vehicle; or
  • Violating out-of-service orders.

The length of the commercial driver's license disqualification depends on the offense and the driver's prior record. The disqualification is for one year for the following:

  • DUI / DWI of drugs or alcohol;
  • refusing to submit to a lawfully requested BAC test;
  • certain types of drug-related offenses;
  • leaving the scene of a crash ("hit and run"); 
  • using a motor vehicle during the commission of a felony. 

A three-year disqualification of the CDL license can occur for the following offenses: 

  • a first violation of any major offense while transporting hazardous materials. 

A second violation of a major offense will request in a lifetime disqualification fo the CDL license.


Serious Traffic Violations within Three Years

Under O.R.C. 4506.16(D)(5), a 60 days disqualification will be imposed for multiple serious traffic violations within 3 years, including:

  • Speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit;
  • Reckless driving;
  • Improper lane change
  • Following too closely; 
  • Traffic control device violation resulting in a fatal accident; 
  • Driving a CMV without a CDL in your possession; 
  • Texting while driving; 
  • Driving without the necessary endorsements; and
  • Railroad highway grade crossing violations. 

Under O.R.C. 4506.16(D)(6), if you are convicted of any of the above offenses three times within a 3-year period, your CDL will be suspended for 120 days.

Violating out-of-service orders can result in a disqualification for 180 days to three years.

The driver's CDL can be disqualified if a citation is issued for having a BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial motor vehicle. If any amount of alcohol is detected in your system, you can be placed out of service for 24 hours.


Disqualification of a CDL for Certain Offenses

Ohio law and 49 CFR §383 require the disqualification of a driver’s CDL if the driver commits certain offenses. The minimum length of disqualification for each offense is specified with the statutory scheme. The length of the mandatory disqualification period can be increased for subsequent convictions.

The statutory scheme distinguishes between major offenses and serious offenses. A period of disqualification is required for multiple convictions for serious offenses within a specified period of time.

For a major offense conviction, the law requires an automatic disqualification of the driver Commercial Driver’s License. A first conviction for a major offense conviction results in a one-year CDL disqualification include: 

  • O.R.C. 4506.15(A)(5) DUI (regardless of whether it occurs in a personal and non-commercial vehicle);
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(A)(2) BAC of .04% or more in a commercial vehicle
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(A)(6) Using your commercial vehicle in commission of a felony
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(A)(7) Refusing to submit to a lawfully requested blood, breath or urine test 

Under 49 CFR §383.51 (2013), if a driver is transporting hazardous materials as defined in 49 CFR §383.5, the disqualification period is extended to three years for the first offense.

A second or subsequent conviction for a major offense conviction results in a lifetime CDL disqualification.

  • O.R.C. 4506.15(A)(2) BAC of .04% or more;
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(A)(5) A second conviction for DUI/OVI;
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(D) Leaving the scene of a traffic crash;
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(E) Using the commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony;
  • O.R.C. 4506.15(F) Refusing to submit to a lawfully requested blood, breath or urine test; or
  • O.R.C. 4506.16(B)(4) the first time commission of a felony with a controlled substance. 

Reinstating the CDL After a Lifetime Disqualification

Under 49 CFR §383.51(a)(6) (2013), Federal law gives states the discretion to reinstate the CDL of a driver who has received a lifetime disqualification only after a ten (10) year period and “if that person has voluntarily entered and successfully completed an appropriate rehabilitation program approved by the State.”

The language in this section does not define or explain the terms “rehabilitation program” or “voluntarily entered.”


Mandatory CDL Disqualifications for Driving Behaviors

Under Florida law, several of the major offenses that trigger mandatory CDL disqualification are associated with driving behaviors including driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident and refusing a lawfully requested chemical test under Florida’s implied consent law. These CDL disqualifications occur whether the defendant was operating a personal non-commercial motor vehicle or a CMV.

A violation for operating a commercial motor vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater is also classified as a major offense that results in a CDL disqualification for one year for a first offense or a lifetime for a second or subsequent offense.


Non-Traffic Criminal Offenses that Trigger a CDL Disqualification

A variety of crimes can be committed using a motor vehicle including theft, sexual offenses, and violent crimes. The courts will determine on a case by case basis whether the felony was committed using a motor vehicle and the criminal defense attorney will often attempt to negotiate a disposition that will avoid the reporting of the offense for purposes of triggering the CDL disqualification. For this type of lifetime disqualification, it doesn’t matter whether the defendant was driving a person non-commercial vehicle or a CMV at the time of the offense.

For non-driving related felonies committed while operating any type of motor vehicle, Ohio law contains two levels of CDL disqualifications. A lifetime CDL disqualification is triggered for life if a person is convicted of a first or subsequent crime involving “(u)sing the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance.” Most of these disqualifications involve the possession of controlled substances, also some do not involve drugs at all.


Additional Resources

CDL Disqualifications in Ohio - Visit the website of the Ohio BMV to learn more about suspensions and CDL disqualifications. Find information on Alcohol and Drug-Related CDL Disqualifications and Out-of-Service Orders. Find out more about ways to avoid a disqualification, how to pay a reinstatement fee and related provisions under Ohio Revised Code: 4506.15 and 4506.16.

Ohio CDL Chart - Visit the website of the Ohio Department of Education to find charts showing information for driver’s holding a commercial driver's license (CDL), the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Office of Licensing and Commercial Standards. Find updates on CDL endorsements and restrictions.


Criminal Defense for the CDL Holder in Columbus, Ohio

Your criminal defense attorney must help you determine whether statutory or regulatory authority might trigger a disqualification of your CDL after an allegation that you committed a felony with a motor vehicle.

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are experienced in fighting traffic violations and crimes, including offenses involving allegations of alcohol and drug impaired driving cases. If you hold a commercial driver’s license, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney after being arrested or charged with a crime. Call the attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm to discuss the facts of your case pending anywhere in Ohio.


 
If a driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of:For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV, a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials as defined in § 383.5 , a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this Table while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this Table while operating a non-CMV, a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *
(1) Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law * * * 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life. 
(2) Being under the influence of a controlled substance * * * 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life. 
(3) Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV * * * 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable. 
(4) Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by a State or jurisdiction under its implied consent laws or regulations as defined in § 383.72 of this part * * * 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life. 
(5) Leaving the scene of an accident * * * 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life. 
(6) Using the vehicle to commit a felony, other than a felony described in paragraph (b)(9) of this table * * * 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life. 
(7) Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver's CLP or CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable. 
(8) Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable. 
(9) Using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance * * * Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement

 


If the driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of:For a second conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a second conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a non-CMV, a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV, if the conviction results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CLP or CDL holder's license or non-CMV driving privileges, for * * *For a third or subsequent conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a third or subsequent conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a non-CMV, a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV, if the conviction results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CLP or CDL holder's license or non-CMV driving privileges, for * * *
(1) Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 24.1 kmph (15 mph) or more above the regulated or posted speed limit 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days.
(2) Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation, including but, not limited to, offenses of driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days. 
(3) Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days. 
(4) Following the vehicle ahead too closely 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days. 
(5) Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with a fatal accident 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days. 
(6) Driving a CMV without obtaining a CLP or CDL 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable. 
(7) Driving a CMV without a CLP or CDL in the driver's possession 1 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable. 
(8) Driving a CMV without the proper class of CLP or CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable.
(9) Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control prohibiting texting while driving a CMV. 2 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable.
(10) Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control restricting or prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a CMV. 2 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable.

Any individual who provides proof to the enforcement authority that issued the citation, by the date the individual must appear in court or pay any fine for such a violation, that the individual held a valid CLP or CDL on the date the citation was issued, shall not be guilty of this offense.

Driving, for the purpose of this disqualification, means operating a commercial motor vehicle on a highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Driving does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.


If the driver is convicted of operating a CMV in violation of a Federal, State or local law because * * *. For a first conviction a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a second conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a third or subsequent conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *
(1) The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train * * * No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year. 
(2) The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to stop before reaching the crossing, if the tracks are not clear * * * No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year. 
(3) The driver is always required to stop, but fails to stop before driving onto the crossing * * * No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year. 
(4) The driver fails to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping * * * No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year. 
(5) The driver fails to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing * * * No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year. 
(6) The driver fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance * * * No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.

If the driver operates a CMV and is convicted of * * *For a first conviction while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a second conviction in a separate incident within a 10-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *For a third or subsequent conviction in a separate incident within a 10-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CLP or CDL and a CLP or CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for * * *
(1) Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting nonhazardous materials No less than 180 days or more than 1 year No less than 2 years or more than 5 years No less than 3 years or more than 5 years.
(2) Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials as defined in § 383.5 , or while operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver No less than 180 days or more than 2 years No less than 3 years or more than 5 years No less than 3 years or more than 5 years.


This article was last updated on Thursday, June 22, 2017.