Getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) requires a lot more personal investment and education than a standard driver’s license. Most people happily take those extra steps because a CDL will lead to more economic opportunities and freedom.
However, licensed commercial drivers will usually also need to take care so they don’t lose their CDL. Careful performance while on the job is crucial to commercial licensing, but it is far from the only factor that matters.
What you do in your personal life can also have a bearing on your commercial licensing. When you are behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, you know that the government holds you to a higher standard of sobriety than other drivers. Does that mean that an infraction that occurs in your personal vehicle could cost you your CDL?
Any impaired driving conviction could disqualify you
Maintaining an excellent professional driving record is important with a CDL, but you also need to take care when in your personal vehicle. Infractions that occur off-the-clock can have an impact on both of your licenses.
When the state either suspends your personal driver’s license or charges you with driving under the influence (DUI), that will typically translate to immediate consequences for your commercial licensing as well. Defending against the pending DUI may be the only way for you to protect your license.
Does the lower alcohol limit apply to your personal vehicle as well?
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for commercial drivers operating a commercial vehicle is 0.04% instead of 0.08%, as it is for people driving standard passenger vehicles. If a police officer pulls you over while you are in a commercial vehicle, you will have to be under that 0.04% limit.
However, in your personal vehicle, the standard 0.08% BAC applies. However, the result of a breath test is only one of the factors that contribute to a DUI charge. Erratic driving and poor behavior on a field sobriety test could mean that you face charges even if your chemical test didn’t conclusively show that you were over the limit.
Looking at your test results, your driving history and even your medical records can help you explore ways to defend yourself and protect your commercial license after a drunk driving arrest.