DWI While Driving on a CDL

A driver with a commercial driver’s license will face more severe penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol compared to someone with a normal driving license.  Non-commercial vehicle operators arrested for a DUI face strong consequences, but the consequences are not as life-altering as those faced by a commercial driver. A commercial driver not only pays fines and risks possible jail time but their CDL may be disqualified, suspended, or revoked depending on their case.

A commercial vehicle driver can be arrested for having a BAC of .04%. The limit for non-commercial drivers is .08%. Drivers of commercial vehicles are also expected to strictly follow traffic rules and can be arrested for breaking any road rule.

Suspension of CDL after DWI

Louisiana follows the strict federal guidelines for commercial driver’s licenses. These guidelines impose a minimum of one year suspension for a variety of offenses including those involving DWI.  For a “major” violation, the guidelines offer one year license suspension or disqualification. It may go up to 3 years if the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of arrest.

A second DUI could lead to a lifetime disqualification for your CDL. This suspension can last for a period of 10 years before a reinstatement is considered.  You may lose your current job and getting new jobs could become difficult if you plead guilty in a DWI case involving a CDL. An attorney can review your case and find possible ways to help you win against the state of Louisiana. Note that your CDL can be suspended even if you got a DUI conviction for driving a personal vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Refusing Sobriety Tests

Your CDL may also be suspended if you refuse to take the blood alcohol test or have a DUI conviction.  This is according to the Louisiana’s Informed Consent Law. An officer will confiscate your CDL at the scene of the arrest if you refuse to submit to a BAC test. You will be granted a temporary license that is as effective as a full license until a determination is made at the administrative hearing.

However, you must make request an administrative hearing in a timely manner and the request must be in writing. The Office of Motor Vehicles must receive the request for the administrative hearing within 30 days from the day you were arrested.  The administrative hearing must prevail to avoid the suspension of your CDL. Such hearings are very complex but an experienced DWI lawyer can guide you through the process.

No Hardship License or Clean Record

Administrative hearings are not for the purpose of getting a hardship license.  You are only supposed to present facts and evidence on your behalf during those hearings. You cannot have your moving violations removed from your record by participating in Defensive Driving or Deferred Adjudication if you have CDL.  So your subsequent DWI convictions only pile up which harms your driving record and your insurance costs will increase substantially.