CDL Holders and DUIs: What Every Truck Driver Should Know
Holders of Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs), including truck and bus drivers, are held to a higher level of responsibility on the road than the average driver, and they face stricter penalties for moving violations. This applies to penalties for DUI charges, even if they are behind the wheel of their own personal vehicle!
In the instance of driving under the influence (DUI), CDL holders are held to a .04 legal limit as opposed to the .08 limit which applies to a standard motorist. A CDL holder who receives a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge risks a Disqualification (DQ) of their commercial driving privileges. DQ is an Illinois Secretary of State sanction placed upon the commercial driver that (if upheld) disallows a CDL holder to perform his/her job for a set period of time (typically for 12 months). For instance, if a commercial driver is either found guilty or incurs a summary suspension because of a DUI allegation, their CDL privileges could be disqualified for 12 months. To avoid this DQ, the CDL operator must beat both the summary license suspension and the DUI charge within the legal system.
For those CDL operators that consent to breath testing and blow above a .04, but below a .08 (even if the DUI is beaten in court and no statutory summary suspension was imposed) there is still a DQ for a period of 12 months because the .04 result would be reported to the Illinois Secretary of State since the motorist holds a CDL. CDL operators have a right to challenge the DQ of their CDL privileges, but there must be a request for an Administrative Hearing in order to challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer test and/or other issues that may warrant a removal of the DQ.
Administrative Hearings are conducted at select facilities of the Illinois Secretary of State. Beyond DUIs, even if the driver has received a disposition of “Court Supervision” for a petty traffic charge, it may not matter if they possess a CDL. The Illinois Secretary of State has a list of common violations that would be considered convictions for the CDL operator even if they receive Court Supervision for their charge. You can review the list here. When an allegation cannot be challenged, a competent attorney will try to achieve an amendment of the ticket from a moving violation to a non-moving violation or equipment violation. Probably the safest non-moving violations to replace a moving violation would be a charge of “unsafe equipment” 625 ILCS 5/12-101 or “defective windshield” 625 ILCS 5/12-501.
At Gardi & Haught, our goal is to assist the commercial driver, and help to protect CDL privileges. Our attorneys work to defeat allegations so the commercial driver can avoid Disqualification of their privileges and maintain a clean driving record and protect their jobs. We handle all types of traffic allegations for CDL holders from simple or petty traffic offenses up to allegations of DUI, Reckless Driving, or any other serious violation contained in the Illinois Vehicle Code.
It is imperative that a CDL holder seek effective representation to help protect their driving record and their livelihood. Please contact us today at the contact number listed on our webpage or you may use the Message Form on our webpage. Obviously, this is a difficult task and requires an experienced defense attorney to achieve this result.