DUI with a CDL? Know Your Rights.
A DUI is never a good thing, but when you drive for a living, it can be even more catastrophic. The punishments for driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle are even more serious than those of a personal vehicle.
If you have been charged with a DUI and you hold a CDL, contact a Maryland lawyer as soon as possible to help protect your future from disaster.
What if This Is Your First Offense?
The first time you are arrested for operating under the influence with a CDL, there are two processes that will begin: the criminal process and the administrative process. Both of these processes are deeply important, as either one can prove problematic for your commercial driver’s license.
For normal drivers, the legal BAC limit is .08. However, for commercial drivers, this limit is half of that at .04. It should also be noted you do not have to be in a commercial vehicle for DUI charges to impact your commercial driver’s license. Your personal vehicle and the actions you take while driving it still affect your CDL.
Will I Lose My Commercial License for a DUI in Maryland?
If, during your arrest, you blew between a .08 and a .15 BAC, your license will be suspended for 45 days. This will apply to both your commercial and your normal driver’s license. If you blow higher than .15, the period of suspension will extend to 90 days. Unlike for a normal driver’s license, CDL suspensions cannot be modified to accommodate a work permit. The license is suspended. End of story.
In the event you refuse the chemical test at the time of your arrest, your CDL will be suspended for one year and your normal license will be suspended for 120 days.
Please note that all of this will take place without actually being convicted of a DUI. The criminal charges haven’t been processed yet. Even if you are able to win your case, if you do not address the administrative punishments of your DUI charges, you will still face major issues.
Will You Lose Your CDL After a DUI?
Drinking alcohol and driving is dangerous and illegal in Maryland no matter what type of vehicle you are operating, but penalties are often much more severe for those with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Let’s take a look at what you can expect if you are found guilty of drinking and driving when carrying a CDL.
CDL DUI: First Offense
The most common outcome of a first-time DUI for a driver holding a commercial license is a CDL suspension for one year. This means the driver will be unable to legally operate a commercial vehicle throughout the entire time of suspension. Most people carrying a CDL drive commercial vehicles on a daily basis for their job, so it’s easy to see how even one DUI can do a huge amount of damage. Commercial drivers may be fired from their job or have difficulty finding a job while the suspension is in place. If the commercial driver was transporting dangerous or hazardous materials at the time of their DUI arrest, penalties can be magnified, and they could potentially lose their privilege to drive commercially for up to three years.
CDL DUI: Second Offense
For those commercial drivers facing DUI charges for a second time, the penalties can easily be career-ending if they operate commercial vehicles for a living. CDLs can be revoked for life, meaning the driver will never be able to drive commercially ever again. This can be devastating to a career that requires employees to have valid licenses, and can cause irreparable damage to family members who rely on the second offense DUI offender for financial support.
Will You Lose Your Job?
That is probably the most pressing question on your mind. The answer depends entirely on whether or not you are able to keep your CDL. Though there are several ways to continue driving a personal vehicle with pending DWI charges, this is not the case for a CDL. You either have a full-fledged CDL, or you have nothing. There is no in-between. If you are convicted of a DWI, you will lose your CDL, and in turn, your job.
Employment for Commercial Drivers Following a DUI
Most commercial driving companies will not work with someone who has been convicted of a DUI or someone who has had their license suspended for drunk driving. Not only that, but a long period of suspension is a long period of time where you cannot drive a commercial vehicle, and therefore, cannot work.
Facing the loss of employment is one of the most serious repercussions for a DUI other than jail time, and it is unlikely you will be rehired by another company once the crime is on your record.
Calling on the help of a commercial license DUI Lawyer to help you navigate your case is essential for preserving your employment and avoiding disaster.
What Does a DWI Mean for Your CDL?
If you are charged with either a DWI or a DUI, the arresting officer will take your license at the time of your arrest and provide you with a paper license to use in the interim. This paper license can only be used to drive a personal vehicle, not a commercial one, which means that even being charged with a DWI can cause serious issues for your job. Not only that, but when you attend the MVA hearing to discuss the status of your license, you have the option of applying for a restricted license. If you choose this option, you will still not be able to drive commercial vehicles. The same goes for the Ignition Interlock Program. If you opt into it, you will not be able to operate commercial vehicles.
What Is the Legal Limit for Commercial Vehicles?
The standards are much higher for people who have commercial drivers licenses and for good reason. Commercial vehicles are often far more difficult to operate safely and accidents involving them tend to leave those involved in dire straits. Thus, you are not allowed to have any amount of alcohol in your system when operating a commercial vehicle. The official number is a .04 BAC for the chemical test, so if you test above that number, you will be charged. It should be noted, however that you will likely face charges if you were pulled over for any suspicious behavior considering that alcohol is not the only way to be charged with a DWI and other substances might not register on the breathalyzer test.
No Exceptions for Maryland DUI
Drivers holding a commercial license in Maryland will not only face these penalties if they are driving a commercial vehicle, but also if they are found guilty of DUI while driving their personal vehicle as well. This is why it is incredibly important that drivers carrying a commercial license in Maryland use complete caution when driving at all times, even when they are not on the job.
If you have your Commercial Driver’s License in Maryland, the safest option is to ensure you never get behind the wheel of any type of motor vehicle when you have been drinking. If you have been arrested for DUI and are fearing your license suspension or revocation, reach out to expert DUI attorneys.
We have the legal knowledge and professional experience to help you understand the legal process surrounding your charges and will fight for the best outcome in your CDL DUI case. Call our firm at (443) 665-8030 or reach out online to schedule a consultation.