Certain Massachusetts Police Officers who have been trained, tested, and certified by the DOT as Commercial Motor Vehicle inspectors, can put CDL drivers “out of service.” The federal CDL regulations require that commercial vehicles meet 13 critical safety standards. Violations of these standards are the most common reason for a CDL vehicle being placed out of service. The critical areas include brake systems, coupling devices, exhaust system, frames, fuel system, lights, wheels, etc…
A CDL license holder who violates an out of service order is considered to be operating without a valid CDL and he or she can be arrested. The Massachusetts State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Unit maintains a database of out of service orders and this can be used to detect drivers who have been placed out of service.
Violation of an out of service order will result in a $1,000.00 civil fine. In addition to this, it will trigger an automatic CDL suspension / disqualification of at least 90 days for a first violation, 1 year for a second violation arising out of 2 separate incidents within any 10 year period, and at least 3 years for a third out of service violation arising out of separate incidents within 10 years.
In addition to these CDL suspensions for violating an out of service order, the Mass. CDL Law, G.L. c. 90F § 9 contains other automatic CDL suspensions and disqualifications for DUI convictions, excessive speeding, and breathalyzer refusals. CDL DUI and chemical test refusal suspensions can be imposed whether the violation occurs in a CDL vehicle or a private passenger car. The law also calls for suspensions for the crime of operating a CDL vehicle while suspended.
Because CDL license holders depend on their licenses for their livelihoods, the loss of a CDL even for a short period of time can be devastating. A lawyer who is familiar with the laws governing CDL license suspensions and reinstatements may be able to help deal with alleged CDL violations and resulting license suspensions. However, there is no such thing as a “hardship CDL.”