CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and DUI
Truck drivers and commercial vehicle operators play a key role in our national economy, transporting goods, fuel and critical items across the country. Because of the dangers associated with accidents involving semi-tractor trailers and large commercial vehicles, the driving standards and regulations are significantly stricter than those for non-commercial use, such as private vehicles. In fact, Michigan has some of the harshest drunk driving laws for those holding a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), and unlike most states applies this even when the CDL holder is operating their own vehicle.
Per Michigan law, when a commercial driver is convicted of any sort of DUI offense, they will have their CDL revoked for a minimum of a year regardless of whether they were operating a commercial or private vehicle at the time of the infraction. There are no exceptions to this rule, which makes the hiring of a competent attorney specializing in drunk driving offenses so important. Unlike other individuals who may be able to still work after being convicted of a DUI, CDL holders rely on their license to work, and without it no longer have a source of income.
Penalties for Commercial Drivers DUI
As mentioned previously, commercial drivers license holders are held to a higher standard than regular operators of private or non-commercial vehicles. The State of Michigan is exceptionally harsh with this, and will not hesitate to suspend an individual’s Commercial Drivers License for violating a host of specific regulations. Known as an Out-Of-Service Order, this CDL suspension can result from the following alcohol related infractions:
- Consuming alcohol within four hours of operating a commercial vehicle
- Consuming alcohol while actually operating a commercial vehicle
- Having a BAC of 0.015% or higher prior to or during the operation of a commercial vehicle
- Refusing to take a PBT (preliminary breath test)
Depending on the severity of the offense and the circumstances surrounding it, a CDL suspension or revocation can also affect an individual’s private drivers license eligibility. This makes it even more difficult to find alternative employment for now former-commercial drivers, compounding the seriousness of their situation. It is for this reason that CDL holders facing drunk driving charges must seek out the best possible legal defense in order to protect themselves from losing their livelihoods and even their mode of personal transportation.
When a Commercial Driver Receives DUI in Private Vehicle
When a CDL holder receives a DUI, the state does not differentiate between those who are actively engaged in operating a commercial vehicle or those who are driving personal and private vehicles. This catches a lot of individuals off guard, as most states will handle charges differently depending on whether or not the CDL holder was actually operating a commercial vehicle. In the real world, this fact is unfortunately only uncovered after a commercial driver receives a DUI in Michigan.
Commercial DUI Defense
Defending against a commercial DUI is challenging but not impossible. Like any other drunk driving case, a competent DUI defense lawyer will thoroughly examine the evidence used in the prosecutors case in an attempt to find a weak link or hole to take advantage of. While this is not always possible, it is ultimately the only defense against CDL drunk driving charges. Michigan does not allow for reduced or alternative sentencing for these charges – it is a zero tolerance black and white rule that has very serious consequences.
Speak with a Skilled Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
It should go without saying that avoiding drunk driving charges is of utmost importance for CDL holders. When facing these charges, these individuals are not only looking at the prospect of losing their license, but also their livelihoods. It is therefore imperative that they seek out the best possible legal counsel available in order to mount an effective legal defense.
The right drunk driving attorney can analyze the circumstances of the case and find ways in which the prosecution’s case can be successfully argued against, and even possibly dismissed. The attorneys at George Law have decades of combined experience defending clients against drunk driving charges, including commercial drivers license holders. If you are a commercial driver being charged with a DUI in Michigan, contact our office today to see how we can help.