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Commercial Driver’s License CDL and DUI

by Robert Kerr

Getting a DUI in Illinois is serious business; it’s even more serious if you have a commercial driver’s license. There are many ways in which people who hold commercial driver’s licenses are held to higher standards with regard to the law throughout the United States. This is especially true with DUIs, and the cost is far greater as a DUI puts in jeopardy your ability to earn a living.

First, the law with regard to DUI applies to holders of CDLs in all states. So, regardless of whether your license is held in Illinois and you received a DUI in Montana, the penalties are the same.

Second, the legal limits are different. While a driver is considered impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08, drivers of commercial vehicles with CDL licenses are considered impaired with a BAC level of .04.

Third, it doesn’t matter if you weren’t operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You can lose your CDL if you’re arrested for DUI while driving a personal car.

Fourth, a person does not have to be found guilty of DUI in order to lose their CDL; a summary suspension means that the CDL can be lost by refusing the breathalyzer alone.

Fifth, repeat offenders are not tolerated. If you were operating either your personal car or a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and BAC testing showed you had a level of .04 or more, or you refused a BAC test, your CDL would be canceled for one year. A second time results in lifetime disqualification of your CDL.

Lastly, it’s also important to note that if you are a driver who transports hazardous materials, there are even greater penalties for DUI.

With so much at risk, a driver with a CDL permit should do everything they can to protect their license. One options is by filing a petition to rescind a suspension. Once filed, a driver has the right to a hearing in 30 days and at which an attorney may be able to prove field testing or breathalyzer evidence was unreliable. Talk to a qualified DUI attorney to find out your options.

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