Maryland issues commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) out to many people who decide to drive a semi-truck, bus, or another commercial vehicle for a living. These vehicles are often large and can cause serious injuries in crashes, which is why commercial drivers must go through a special application process, training program, and examinations before receiving their CDL. After you receive a CDL and begin to make a good living on the road, the last thing you want to do is put your CDL in jeopardy. One quick way to jeopardize your CDL and your career is to get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
THE LEGAL LIMIT FOR CDL HOLDERS
For people with non-commercial license, the law presumes they are impaired when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. As mentioned, commercial drivers must adhere to a higher standard than regular drivers, so the legal limit is lower and is 0.04 percent when they are driving a commercial vehicle. If you receive a conviction of driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC over 0.04 percent, your CDL will be suspended for one year, even for a first offense. If you were driving a HAZMAT truck, your suspension can last for up to three years. For any subsequent offenses, you will lose your CDL for the rest of your life.
DUI IN A NON-COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
DUI charges can still be detrimental to a CDL-holder even if they were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time. If the police arrest you and allege you had a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher while driving a regular vehicle, Maryland can suspend your CDL for one year, even though there was no commercial vehicle involved. The state will permanently revoke your CDL if you get another DUI. You face the same one-year suspension if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, as well as the permanent loss of your CDL for a second refusal. You should also realize that getting probation before judgment (PBJ) for a first offense will not hide your DUI conviction, and you will still lose your CDL for at least one year.
THE EFFECTS OF LOSING YOUR CDL
The average salary of a commercial truck driver in Maryland is just over $52,000. This means that you will lose out on this income for at least a year, if not more. In addition, trucking companies are often hesitant to hire someone with a past DUI conviction, even if they have their CDL back. You could have to switch careers altogether as a result of your DUI.
CONTACT OUR MARYLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS FOR HELP TODAY
The experienced DUI defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer Poe, represent both commercial and non-commercial drivers in DUI cases. We work to limit the penalties you face, so please contact our office by calling (301) 321-7277 or contact us online right away. We offer free consultations with no obligation, and we’re ready to assist you.