My 2 cents is the rules are somewhat confusing but people add much to the mess by confusing "legal" and "getting away with it", commercial and non-commercial, in-state and interstate. Another factor to add to the confusion mess is DOT people also are trained to take adnatage of gray areas in the law and fine, hopeing you pay the fine instead of going to court where they will lose. People post "I was fined for X,Y or Z" That doesnt mean that is the law, DOT just plucked their pockets.
In as simple terms as I know how to put it you need to first find out how they determain commerical and non-commercial status in YOUR state, not Tom, Dick or Harry"s states but yours. Then IF you are indeed non-commerical you dont need a CDL to pull the trailer in YOUR STATE period. Here in Ohio you can gross anything legal without a CDL as long as non-commercial private use, your state may differ. Interstate is a differant animal. If your trailer is over 10,000 lbs or your combintation exceeds 26,000 lbs then you always become under federal jurisdiction when you cross state lines and thus you need a CDL. If less than than 10,000 or 26,000 and non-commercial you remain under the laws of your home state no matter where you travel, legal at home, legal anywhere, that"s the law. I will warn that if a person has a trailer over 10,000 or combo over 26,000 and plans on going the non-commercial route you need to be prepared to be drilled over your status if stopped. As an example here in Ohio and you have an old tractor on board they will ask if they give out trophys or prize money, Yes? then you just lost non-commerical status. Pulling tractor = commerical here. Lots of real H-D looking 9900 Lb trailers around these parts, LOL
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