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CDL Holders and DUI Convictions

One of the biggest problems we have encountered with recent OVI / DUI developments involves those holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL).  The problem is that a DUI conviction for a CDL holder can be catastrophic.  A first offense DUI conviction, even if driving a non-commercial vehicle, results in a mandatory 1 year disqualification of a CDL.  At the end of that year, the person must go through the various CDL requirements to get the license back.  A second offense DUI conviction for a CDL holder is fatal to their career: it results in a lifetime disqualification.

If a CDL holder is driving a commercial vehicle at the time of an OVI / DUI stop, the breath test limits are drastically reduced.  In short, virtually any amount of alcohol can trigger a per se DUI charge if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle.  We often defend people who had a “big night.”  The next morning they think they are fine because they had a chance to “sleep it off.”  But last night’s booze is often enough to trigger a morning after DUI.  A hangover gets a lot worse with a DUI on the way to work.

There are ways to deal with these issues.  Not all local laws carry these same mandatory CDL ramifications.  We always ask our clients if they have a CDL, as this is something that can drastically change our approach to handling the case.  If a CDL holder has a DUI charge, they should be sure to mention this to their DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

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