If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and make your living via transportation services, a DUI could be devastating. A mark on your criminal record could not only affect future opportunities but it could ruin your current livelihood. However, you do not have to plead guilty and accept these charges that could change your whole life.
The consequences of a DUI are especially harsh for commercial drivers. You can receive a DUI if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.04% or higher, whereas the limit for non-commercial drivers is 0.08%. The penalties may also be more punishing because you rely on driving to make your living.
You could face:
- Numerous fines
- Required ignition interlock device
- Required alcohol education or rehab programs
- Possible jail time (usually for repeat offenses)
- Temporary or permanent loss of license
Losing your license
It is very likely that your license will be suspended if you are convicted of a DUI. Without it, you will be unable to perform your normal job duties and your career could be greatly impacted. Your license could be suspended for at least a year. In extreme circumstances or if you have already received a DUI in the past, it could even be permanently revoked.
Two very important points to note:
- Your license will be suspended if you refuse a blood, breath, or urine test
- Your CDL license can be suspended if you receive a DUI in your non-commercial vehicle
What to do after a DUI charge
The best way to avoid a DUI is not to drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel. However, everyone makes mistakes or there may have been other factors contributing to your circumstances. Perhaps you did not know you were over the legal limit or that your medication might impair your driving ability.
Here is the good news: Just because a test showed a BAC over 0.04% does not necessarily mean you are guilty.
If you are arrested, you have five days to request a hearing. It is imperative that you act quickly. There are many ways to challenge the accuracy of a BAC test or an officer’s procedures during a pullover. It may be possible to have your charges dropped and your license reinstated with the right legal representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can review your case and give you guidance on how to achieve the best outcome for your situation.