For people who have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), a DUI has the potential to end their career. The consequences for a CDL holder convicted of DUI are often more severe than the consequences for a standard drivers license holder. It is important to understand how a DUI charge will affect this class of licenses differently.
In general, people who are charged with a DUI and have no prior criminal record may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, or ARD. ARD is attractive to many people because the program reduces the license suspension that comes with a DUI conviction. However, this benefit does not apply to CDL holders. I have had numerous CDL clients come to me after their attorney advised them that ARD was the best option. I can’t stress enough that if you have a CDL, ARD most likely is NOT the best option for you. This is because ARD license suspension reductions only apply to a standard drivers license; the CDL will still be suspended for one year, even if you opt for ARD. Therefore, for many CDL holders, the only way they can keep their job and livelihood is to successfully challenge the DUI.
Speaking of license suspensions, the length of a CDL suspension after a DUI conviction is also different from a standard license. A first-time DUI conviction will result in a suspension of your CDL for one year. A second DUI conviction will result in a lifetime ban of your CDL. This is why it is vitally important to challenge your case or attempt to amend the charges if you have a CDL and have been charged with DUI.
Additionally, if you’re driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence, the threshold for DUI is lower. Usually, the minimum BAC necessary for a DUI is .08%. However, if you are a CDL holder driving a commercial vehicle when you’re stopped, the requirement drops to .04%. You also face more serious penalties, including jail time, at lower BAC levels.
It is important to hire an attorney that understands these differences and the higher stakes involved when a CDL holder is charged with DUI. If you’re looking for a Pennsylvania attorney experienced in handling DUI cases for CDL holders, contact The Fliszar Firm today for a free consultation.