Penalties for CDL Drunk Driving in Maryland
An everyday DUI arrest can carry serious penalties, including suspension of your driver’s license, impoundment of your vehicle, fines, imprisonment, and completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program.
FIRST TIME OFFENSES
Many first-time DUI offenders can get a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ), meaning they are placed on probation before any judgment is made on their charge. You can also get a PBJ for your first offense as a CDL holder, but your CDL will still be suspended for one year. If you receive a DUI conviction while transporting hazardous materials requiring placard, you will lose your license for 3 years. In the context of the lesser offense of DWI, you get 8 points on your license, which does not mandate a suspension.
Unlike a regular driver’s license, a CDL license cannot be modified. A CDL license will be suspended for whatever amount of time the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) decides you should lose your license. You may be able to enter the Ignition Interlock Program or get a restricted license for your regular license, but with your CDL you’re out of luck.
SECOND TIME OFFENSES
If you are convicted of a DUI a second time, you will lose your CDL for life. This can be devastating to a person’s ability to earn an income.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE EVALUATION & TREATMENT PROGRAM
Furthermore, according to FMCSA rules, a commercial driver who has failed any alcohol/drug test or has refused to submit to an alcohol/drug test is immediately removed from operating a commercial vehicle and must be evaluated by a substance abuse professional. Based on that evaluation, a substance abuse treatment program may also be required. Depending on the circumstances of the DUI, such as whether a driver failed a random test, has been convicted for DUI previously, or caused a fatal accident, they may also lose their CDL. The FMCSA may reinstate a CDL under certain circumstances after a period of 10 years.
It is important to note that these penalties apply whether you are convicted of drunk driving in the state or in another state.
Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer for CDL DUI
If a CDL driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, they face the same 270-day license suspension that a regular driver would face, but the Federal Motor Carrier regulations will require a one-year suspension of their CDL. There is not an option to enter the Ignition Interlock Program for a CDL, so if you refuse a breathalyzer, you will not be operating a commercial vehicle for a year. For refusing to take the test a second time, a CDL holder can lose their license for life.