Madelyn Daley
Attorney at Law

US Local 618-509-9724

DUI and CDL: Not a good combination

When you were growing up, did your parents or grandparents ever tell you that the more privilege you received, the more responsibility you would have? It's sort of like that when you carry a commercial driver's license in Illinois. In fact, the bigger the vehicle, the more stringent the standards so that penalties you face for traffic violations may be quite severe. If you operate a hazmat vehicle, you're basically under intense scrutiny each time you hit the road.

Studying the rules and regulations that govern commercial driving is obviously a good way to prepare yourself and gain clear understanding of what the law expects of you any time you make a delivery or carry out some other duty while operating a commercial vehicle. However, it's also good to know what might lie ahead and how to proceed should a problem arise.

Violations that carry heavy penalties

You no doubt take great care (as most commercial truck drivers do) to act with caution and adherence to all safety laws on the job. The thing is, your CDL is at risk even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle when you were pulled over. In other words, if police charged you with DUI while you were driving your family car, you could still lose your commercial driver's license. Following are violations that typically affect a CDL:

  • Fleeing an accident scene: If you're involved in a motor vehicle collision and have not suffered serious injury, it's best to try to remain calm and also remain on site until a police officer tells you it's okay to leave.
  • Refusal of chemical test: If a law enforcement agent lawfully requests that you submit to a chemical test because he or she suspects you of impaired driving, and you refuse, you face a system of automatic repercussions that includes a one-year license suspension for a first refusal.
  • Using vehicle to commit a crime: If the court convicts you of a crime, you may be sentenced with jail time, substantial fines or probation. If the court determines that you used your vehicle to assist in perpetrating a crime, your CDL could be revoked.
  • Negligent driving resulting in fatality: If the court deems you responsible for a fatal car accident, your commercial driver's license is at risk.

Even infractions such as tailgating or driving 15 mph over a posted speed limit could lead to severe penalties where your commercial driver's license is concerned. Should police pull you over while you are driving a commercial truck without having your CDL in your possession, you stand to face a tremendous challenge if you hope to avoid license suspension or losing your job.

As a commercial truck driver, you're obligated to inform your employer of any situation that involves police pulling you over. Some Illinois truck drivers also call experienced attorneys who have helped other truckers protect their commercial drivers' licenses. An attorney experienced in CDL affairs can provide aggressive defense to help you keep your license, your job and your freedom.

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