Commercial Drivers License (CDL Drivers)

A vehicle driven for business purposes. In the DUI context, these are the consequences for driving a commercial vehicle while drunk.  There are two different types of commercial vehicles, there is the vehicle which is operated for your employer which could be construed in the commercial sense and then there is the official CDL or commercial drivers license context.   If you are driving your employer's vehicle in the commercial context, this would be very bad for you and your employer if you were caught driving DUI. The reason is because your employer would have civil liability for any damages or injuries caused in an accident while you are operating his vehicle.   One's employer would no doubt be extraordinarily upset to hear that a vehicle of his was involved in a DUI and that he had liability if an accident occurred.   Needless to say that would probably result in termination of one's position.

In the commercial drivers license context or CDL that is even more complicated and onerous,  Partially because the federal government is involved in CDL licensing and partially because of the seriousness of the potential event.   As CDL drivers know they are not allowed to have higher than a .02 BAC breath content in their system when they are operating a commercial vehicle i.e. a truck. This should really not be a problem because under no circumstances should alcohol be consumed any time a CDL driver is expected to operate a vehicle. Getting to the limit of .02 is very easy in that it is typically one drink or less.  The consequences of having a .02 or higher BAC in one's blood are so high for a CDL driver that it is not worth the risk at all. Another interesting fact is that a CDL driver will still be in trouble for operating his personal vehicle and receiving a DUI or a DWI.  Interestingly there will be consequences against a CDL driver even know they were driving their personal vehicle and not a truck.

Consequently if you possess a CDL drivers license it is certainly not worth the risk of consuming any alcohol at all and driving any type of motor vehicle if you make a living driving a truck.  A conviction or even a probation before judgment known as a PBJ will have a detrimental impact on one's CDL drivers license.   In this circumstance they can have their CDL license suspended for a period of one year. There is a small ray of sunshine however in impairment cases because a probation before judgment or PBJ for an impairment also known as a DWI charge would not have a direct impact on a CDL license.  Consequently it becomes extremely important for a CDL owner or operator to seek a probation before judgment on a 21-902(b) charge. 

 Essentially then we can provide two pieces of advice to a CDL driver. First, do everything within your power to refrain from drinking any alcohol content while driving a commercial vehicle as this is an incredibly bad idea and will have severe consequences. And second,  since your CDL license can be impacted by the operation of your personal vehicle after having consumed alcohol it is very important to contact qualified DUI counsel as quickly as possible following an arrest for DUI. Happily we have had success in many CDL cases at keeping the CDL license for the operator. The government has two opportunities to strike out against the CDL operator in terms of the criminal court proceeding and the MVA hearing associated with the stop.


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