If you hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), a drunk driving charge has the potential to upend your entire life. A conviction can cost you your livelihood forever.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires more responsibility from drivers who are handling commercial vehicles for a couple reasons:
-- Some are driving school buses, church buses, party buses, limos or transport vans and are, therefore, responsible for more lives than the average vehicle's driver.
-- All of them are driving vehicles that are generally larger and heavier than the standard passenger car -- which means the potential for damage if there's an accident is significantly higher.
-- Many of the commercial vehicles are big-rig trucks that contain hazardous chemicals that could be toxic to the environment, hazardous to human and animal life or even explode if there's an accident.
If you hold a CDL, you also face greater restrictions on your blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. In most states, you are only allowed a .04 BAC. You also cannot operate a commercial vehicle within four hours of consuming any alcohol at all -- even a single glass of wine or beer.
It's also important to note that CDL holders have to report any drunk driving incidents that occurred on their own time to their employer within 30 days -- which means that it doesn't matter if you were behind the wheel of your commercial vehicle or your own personal car when you were arrested. The net effect on your life will be the same.
Because it may be next to impossible to find work with a CDL with any sort of drunk driving conviction on your record, it's important to mount an aggressive defense.
For example, your attorney can challenge the accuracy of any Breathalyzer, the quality of the work done at the lab that read your blood work and whether or not proper collection procedures were used. He or she can also challenge the probable cause used to pull you over in the first place -- without adequate reason to suspect that you were impaired while driving, the officer had no right to pull you over in the first place and go on a fishing expedition.
Don't risk losing your CDL over a drunk driving conviction without a fight. For more information on how our firm approaches such claims, please see our web page on the topic.