Are the Consequences for DUI Higher for CDL Drivers in Illinois?

Drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois face additional penalties that don’t apply to regular drivers. However, this is only partially due to Illinois laws. Federal laws also impose higher penalties on CDL holders charged with DUI and other traffic violations.

Are you a commercial truck driver who’s been charged with a DUI in Illinois? The DUI attorneys at Madelyn Daley & Associates can help. Our team has extensive experience fighting for the rights of commercial truck drivers charged with DUI.

Lower BAC Limit for Commercial Drivers

The first thing to know about driving with a CDL in Illinois is that the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is lower. Illinois follows the Federal standard for drunk driving, meaning that anyone with a BAC over 0.08% is presumed too intoxicated to drive. However, according to the Illinois DUI Fact Book published by the state, the limit is 0.04% if you have a CDL.

DUI laws are stricter for CDL holders because the consequences of their trucks crashing are more severe than those of passenger vehicles.

Federal Alcohol Regulation for CDL Drivers

In addition to Illinois’ lower BAC limit for CDL drivers, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) also outlines what counts as alcohol misuse for commercial drivers. 49 CFR 392.5 forbids commercial drivers from consuming or being under the influence of alcohol within four hours of driving their commercial vehicles.

It further states that violating this regulation will result in an immediate 24-hour suspension.

DUI Penalties for CDL Drivers

CDL drivers charged with DUI face the same penalties as average drivers and additional penalties associated with their commercial driver’s license. 49 CFR 383.51 outlines possible convictions and the penalties that CDL drivers charged with DUI face.

A first-time conviction or refusal to be tested for drugs or alcohol will result in a 1-year suspension of your commercial driver’s license. It doesn’t matter whether you were driving your commercial or personal vehicle at the time of the stop.

If you were driving a commercial vehicle transporting hazardous materials at the time of the stop, your license suspension may last up to three years instead of one.

A second conviction or refusal to be tested will result in a lifetime suspension of your commercial driver’s license. However, a lifetime suspension isn’t necessarily a permanent suspension. Drivers who voluntarily complete rehabilitation programs may be eligible for reinstatement after ten years.

The leap from a one-year to a “lifetime” suspension may seem severe, but even a first-time conviction could mean the end of your career as a commercial truck driver. A suspension of any length for DUI often leads to a truck driver’s employment termination. And even after the suspension ends, a DUI on your record can prevent future employers from hiring you as a driver. For these reasons, speaking to an attorney is so vital.

DUI Attorneys in Belleville, Illinois

If you are a commercial truck driver charged with DUI in Belleville, Illinois, contact the law office of Madelyn Daley & Associates. Our team of legal professionals can assist you in fighting your DUI charge and getting your commercial driver’s license reinstated.