What to Do When Pulled Over on Suspicion of DUI and Have a CDL, What Should You Do?

As a holder of a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you understand the immense responsibility that comes with operating a commercial vehicle. Your CDL is not just a license; it’s your livelihood. If you’re pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), what actions should you take to protect your rights and your future?

What to Do When You’ve Been Stopped

First and foremost, pull over safely and turn off your engine. Keep your hands visible on the steering wheel and inform the officer of any movements you need to make, such as reaching for your license and registration. Remain calm and polite throughout the interaction, as your behavior can affect the situation’s outcome.

As a CDL holder, you face stricter DUI laws compared to regular drivers. While the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers is 0.08 percent, Illinois law holds commercial drivers to a higher standard. You can face DUI charges if your BAC is 0.04 percent or higher while operating a commercial vehicle. Even when you’re driving your personal vehicle, a DUI conviction can jeopardize your CDL and your career.

When the officer approaches your window, they may ask if you’ve been drinking. You have the right to remain silent and politely decline to answer any incriminating questions. However, refusing to answer questions does not mean you can refuse field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer. In Illinois, like most states, you give implied consent to these tests when you obtain your CDL.

Taking the BAC Test

If the officer has probable cause to believe you’re under the influence, they may arrest you and take you to the police station or a hospital for a more accurate BAC test. This is where your decision to comply or refuse becomes crucial. Refusing the test can result in a longer license suspension than failing it. For CDL holders, a first-time refusal can lead to a 12-month suspension, while failing the test may result in a six-month suspension.

It’s important to note that even if you refuse the test, you can still face DUI charges based on the officer’s observations and field sobriety test results. Additionally, refusing the test may make defending your case in court more challenging.

Challenging a CDL Suspension

Following your arrest, you must act swiftly to request a hearing with the Secretary of State to challenge your license suspension. In Illinois, you have a 46-day window from the date of your arrest to initiate this process. Failure to request a hearing within this timeframe will result in automatic suspension of your license on the 46th day.

That’s why it’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney who understands the unique challenges CDL holders face. They can review your case, advise you on the best course of action, and work to minimize the effect on your license and career.

Contact an Illinois Commercial DUI Defense Attorney Today

At Madelyn Daley & Associates, we understand the high stakes involved when your CDL and livelihood are on the line. Our criminal defense attorneys are here to provide the knowledgeable and compassionate representation you need during this challenging time.

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges as a CDL holder, contact us today to discuss your case and learn how we can help protect your future.