A DUI (driving under the influence) charge is never good, but when driving is your livelihood, it can be even more devastating. The consequences can extend far beyond negatively affecting your driver’s license. For example, commercial drivers risk losing their job if they cannot drive due to a DUI conviction.
Even your first offense can impact your CDL (commercial driver’s license), even if you aren’t in a commercial vehicle at the time of your arrest. If you hold a CDL, knowing what could happen if you face a DUI charge is essential. This article will discuss how a DUI impacts your CDL in Maryland and how a DUI lawyer can help.
Probation Before Judgment
Probation before judgment is when a defendant is placed on probation before a judgment is entered in their case. During this time, since a conviction isn’t entered, there are no points assessed to your license, and typically your insurance rates will not increase. It’s like it didn’t happen from the driver’s license point of view.
However, if you have a CDL and you get probation before judgment after your DUI, it will still show on your record, you will still get 12 points on your license, and your CDL will be suspended for a year.
DUI convictions can not be masked per Federal Motor Carrier regulations. On the other hand, if you are convicted of a DWI, your CDL will not be automatically suspended because there isn’t a mandatory suspension if fewer than eight points are on your license.
How DUI Charges Affect a CDL
While you are innocent until proven guilty in the court system, meaning you won’t lose your CDL unless you are convicted, your employer can choose to terminate your employment simply based on a DUI charge.
There are administrative penalties when you are charged with a DUI. CDL holders who blow a .08-.14 receive a mandatory 45-day license suspension. And while CDL holders can get a work permit to cover the 45-day suspension, it does not authorize them to operate a commercial vehicle.
How a DUI Conviction Affects a CDL
Having your CDL and being convicted of a DUI will automatically trigger an additional one-year suspension of your CDL. However, if you are convicted of a DWI, that additional suspension is not triggered automatically.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
As a CDL holder, if you refuse a breathalyzer at any time after your arrest, you face a 270-day suspension of your regular driver’s license, and, per Federal Motor Carrier regulations, you will also receive a one-year suspension of your CDL.
Non-CDL holders will be required to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicle if they refuse a breath test. However, there are no interlock devices available for commercial vehicles. That means if you refuse a breath test, you will not be authorized to operate a commercial vehicle for a year.
It’s important to remember that all of this will happen even before a DUI conviction. Even if you successfully win your case, failing to address the administrative punishment of the charges will still stand.
Employment After a DUI
Next to jail time, one of the most severe consequences of a DUI is being unable to work. And once you are convicted, it’s unlikely that you will find a commercial driving company that will employ you. The same is true even if your license has been suspended for driving drunk.
How a DUI Lawyer Can Help
Hiring an experienced, skilled DUI lawyer should be the first thing you do after your arrest. A DUI lawyer can work to get your case dismissed. If the facts of the case prohibit that, they can create a defense strategy to try to present the case in a way that the prosecution may be willing to agree to a lesser charge, such as impaired driving which can reduce the suspension time of your CDL.
Your DUI lawyer can file the necessary demands, require the presence of the chemist or breath technician who performed the breath test or try to keep those witnesses out of the proceedings. They will do everything in their power to make the case more difficult for the prosecution to prove.
Let Jeremy Widder Law Fight for Your Future
With a DUI conviction on your record, you may never work as a commercial driver again. Your best chance at avoiding these consequences is to enlist the services of a skilled, knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyer.
At Widder Law, we deliver top-notch legal services backed by years of experience. We approach all cases with the highest level of compassion and will do everything in our power to get you the outcome you desire.
Contact us today, and let’s get started!