June 21, 2020
Truck Accident Attorney
A commercial trucker relies on their commercial driver’s license (CDL) to make a living. What happens if you get a DUI when you have a CDL?
In short, if you have a CDL, a DUI conviction could end your livelihood. Since this impacts your ability to work, it’s important to get an experienced DUI lawyer, to protect all of your rights and try to minimize the potential serious consequences.
In the US, commercial drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The rules from this agency cover the requirements to get and keep a CDL. Under these rules, there is just one single record for any person who has a CDL. This means if you have a CDL and are convicted of a DUI, that conviction will follow you across the country and affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle.
DUI in Colorado and CDLs
The DUI laws for commercial drivers are very strict in Colorado. Even if you were arrested for DUI while on your own time and in your own personal car, you can still lose your commercial license for up to 12 months after conviction.
Under Colorado law, you can receive a CDL suspension for 12 months–or 36 months if you transport hazardous materials–if you are convicted of any of the following:
- DUI in your own vehicle or a commercial vehicle
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Leaving an accident scene
- Refusing to take a chemical test
- Committing a felony that involves a vehicle
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended or revoked CDL
A commercial driver in Colorado is held to a higher standard than a non-commercial one. When you have a CDL and are arrested for a DUI, the DMV will open two separate cases against you: one for your CDL and one for your personal license.
You can lose your CDL for one year on a first offense if you are found driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 or higher. If that vehicle contained any hazardous materials, you will lose your CDL for three years for a first offense. A second offense results in the lifetime revocation of your CDL.
Your CDL can still be suspended for a year if you were not driving a commercial vehicle when you were arrested for DUI. Another DUI conviction means a lifetime CDL revocation.
On top of any revocation periods, commercial drivers can’t use their CDL whenever there are restrictions on their personal driving privileges. So, if you are required to have an interlock ignition device on your personal car, you can’t get your CDL reinstated or apply for a new one until the requirement ends.
There is a lot at stake if you have a CDL and have been charged with a DUI or DWAI. The only way to possibly keep your CDL after such an arrest is to work with a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer from Richard J. Banta, P.C., who will aggressively fight those charges for you.