Want to keep your CDL? Watch your BAC

After taking time to attend classes and go through training to receive your CDL, you would more than likely do whatever necessary to keep it. After all, that license provides your livelihood whether you drive a truck, a bus or another commercial vehicle that requires this specialized license.

Even so, everyone makes mistakes. Perhaps you have a beer or two with dinner before getting behind the wheel. Then, you get pulled over. The officer asks if you had anything to drink, and you tell the truth not thinking that it will matter. The next thing you know, you find yourself under arrest for driving under the influence while driving a commercial vehicle.

Different standards for CDL drivers

Because you have a CDL, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration holds you to a higher standard than non-commercial drivers. While driving a commercial vehicle, bus or truck, your blood alcohol concentration cannot exceed .04, unlike “civilian” drivers, who must not exceed .08. In addition to that, the FMCSA regulations state that you cannot imbibe alcohol within four hours of driving.

You should also know that under FMCSA regulations, a refusal to submit to BAC testing equals pleading guilty to the DUI. In light of this, you should submit to the testing and plead your case to the court.

Your livelihood is in jeopardy

You have more at stake than just any criminal penalties you might face for a conviction. You must report any traffic-related conviction (other than parking violations) to your employer within 30 days. This rule applies regardless of whether you drove your personal vehicle or a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense.

Any license suspension you receive will more than likely last longer than for a civilian driver. Since you can’t drive with a suspended license, you lose work and therefore money as well. Some companies refuse to hire CDL drivers with a DUI on their records should you look for other employment in the future.

What you can do

As with any other DUI case, you may have legal options. An Illinois attorney can review the circumstances surrounding your case, including the accuracy of the breath-testing machine, whether the officer followed current policies and procedures, and other factors to obtain a clear picture of what happened. Thereafter, a defense can be devised to provide you with the best possible outcome, which hopefully includes keeping your CDL so that you can continue to work.