Alabama CDL Frequently Asked Questions
I have a CDL license; I was driving a commercial vehicle when I got my ticket and want to have my ticket dismissed with payment of Court costs. How is payment of Court costs treated in Alabama with a ticket dismissed?
Payment of Court costs is treated as entering a guilty plea or paying the ticket. If you are told the ticket can be dismissed on payment of court costs, you should know your record will be impacted as though you pled guilty and paid the court fine and costs.
Conviction: Conviction is defined under the Code of Federal Regulations as: "An unvacated adjudication of guilt; finding by a court or an authorized administrative body of a violation; forfeiture of bail; plea of guilty or nolo contendere; payment of fine or court cost; or violation of a condition of release without bail. 49 CFR 383.5.
As of November 2012 the Department of Public Safety now screens all U.T.T.C.s to determine if the CDL holder was operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time the violation occurred, and if so, was the case dismissed “upon payment of court costs.” If that is the case, the violation is then entered on the CDL operator’s MVR as the equivalent of a “conviction” under 49 CFR 383.5. The disqualification process set forth in Code section 32-6-49.3(21) is then controlling.
I have a CDL license and want to know if I can go to driving school or is there some other means to keep the ticket off my record?
Alabama carries a statutory prohibition for any “Pre-Trial Diversion” “Deferred Prosecution” or alternative adjudication for CDL holder or commercial vehicle operator:
Section 32-6-49.23 – Ineligibility for deferred prosecution program, diversion program, etc., upon charge of traffic law violation:
A holder of a commercial driver's license, an operator of a commercial motor vehicle, or a commercial driver learner permit holder who is charged with a violation of a traffic law in this state shall not be eligible for a deferred prosecution program, diversion program, or any deferred imposition of judgment program.
I have been charged with drug possession and have a CDL license. May I enter a drug Court system to keep my license?
Section 12-23A-13 [“Alabama Drug Offender Accountability Act” Drug Court Program] – Persons ineligible to participate:
A holder of a commercial driver's license, a commercial driver learner's permit holder, and any other operator of a commercial motor vehicle that is subject to Part 383 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations shall be ineligible to participate in any drug court program.
What is a serious violation for a CDL License holder?
Section 32-6-49.3 – Definitions:
Serious Traffic Violation: A conviction when operating a commercial motor vehicle of:
Excessive speeding, involving a single charge of any speed 15 miles per hour or more, above the posted speed limit;
Reckless driving, as defined under Section 32-5A-190, as amended, or any other state or local law, including charges of driving a commercial motor vehicle in willful or wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property, improper or erratic traffic lane changes, or following the vehicle ahead too closely;
A violation of any state or local law related to motor vehicle traffic control, other than a parking violation, arising in connection with a fatal accident; and
Any other violation of Title 32, Chapter 5A, Article 9, as amended, or any state or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control, other than a parking violation, which the Director of the Department of Public Safety determines by regulation to be serious.
What will disqualify me from driving with a CDL endorsed license?
Section 32-6-49.11 – Disqualification from driving commercial motor vehicle.
1. A person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of not less than 60 days if convicted of two serious traffic violations, or 120 days if convicted of three serious traffic violations, committed in a commercial motor vehicle arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period.
2. Major ways to be Disqualified from Obtaining a CDL/Disqualification of CDL After Conviction:
Major disqualifying offenses: One (1) year loss for driving a regular commercial vehicle; three (3) years for a hazmat vehicle. Lifetime CDL ban for any second offense. Note: There is a possibility of reinstatement after ten (10) years, subject to rules and regulations of the Department of Public Safety. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-6-49.11(c).
DUI that occurred in either a "CMV" (commercial motor vehicle) or “NCMV" (non-commercial motor vehicle). Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-6-49.11(a)(1). [49 CFR 383.51(b)(1)]
A second DUI/second major offense in a lifetime = no CDL for life. Second major disqualifying offense does not have to be the same disqualifying offense. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-6-49.11(b). A DUI in a personal vehicle prior to September 2005 does not count toward 2 violations in a lifetime. [49 CFR 383.51(b)] e. Code of Alabama, 1975, sections 32-6-49.11(f)(1),(2),&(3). Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04 or greater. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-6-49.11(a)(3)/ 32-6-49.12(c). [49 CFR 383.51] [Note: School bus or day care driver BAC limited to .02%]
1. Leaving the scene of an accident in any vehicle. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-10-1(b) – 6 month revocation of Class D operator’s license; one year disqualification if operating a commercial motor vehicle – 32-6-49.11(a)(3). [49 CFR 383.51(b)(5)]
2. Any felony involving a motor vehicle. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5A-195(j)(4) – six month revocation of Class D operator’s license; one year disqualification of CDL. [49 CFR 383.51(b)(6)] Note: If the felony involves the manufacture, distribution or dispensing of controlled substances using any motor vehicle, the Code and CFRs require a lifetime disqualification upon first conviction. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-6-49.11(d). 49 CFR 383.51(b)(9)
3. Conviction for negligently causing the death of another person while driving a commercial motor vehicle. [49 CFR 383.51(b)(8)] Note: Alabama refers to negligent motor vehicle death convictions as “manslaughter or homicide by vehicle” – One year revocation of Class D operator’s license under Code of Alabama section 32-5A-195(j)(1) and Alabama Administrative Code.
4. Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a revoked or cancelled CDL or while otherwise disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle. Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-6-49.7 [49 CFR 383.51(b)(7)] One to five year disqualification of CDL;