Protect Your CDL & Your Livelihood!
In Maryland, drivers who have a commercial drivers license (CDL) and are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) face harsh punishment. The punishment is so severe that many drivers find that they’re unable to make a living. This is partly because the federal government is involved in CDL licensing and partly just because driving a commercial vehicle is serious business and drivers are held to a higher standard. The fact that you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time you are pulled over will not affect the way your license is treated by the law.
If you have a CDL and were arrested for drunk driving, call (301) 321-7277 immediately to save your license!
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.
How We Can Help You Avoid a CDL DUI Conviction
A DUI conviction can completely change the life of a commercial driver. The best way to help avoid a conviction after being arrested for DUI/DWI is to hire an experienced Maryland CDL DUI attorney to defend you against DUI allegations by:
- Challenging the results of a breath or blood test
- Challenging the legality of the traffic stop
- Challenging the officer’s observations and probable cause
- Challenging field sobriety test procedures
- Providing another explanation for the appearance of impairment
An attorney can also work to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor for a lesser offense and less strict penalties that may not have such serious impacts on your life.
FMCSA Regulations on Drunk & Drugged Driving
FMCSA rules state that it is illegal for any commercial vehicle driver to operate their vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or more, which is much stricter than the state limit of .08 percent, or within four hours of consuming alcohol. Furthermore, CMV drivers are prohibited from refusing to submit to an alcohol test, or consuming alcohol within eight hours after a crash or until tested.
It is also illegal for a CMV driver to use any of the following substances:
- Opiates (opium and codeine derivatives)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Any CMV driver who is required to have a CDL is required to comply with the above general rules. Differences between state and federal law do not get a commercial driver off the hook for DUI. This means that although a commercial driver may be arrested for DUI in Maryland, which holds the legal BAC limit below.08 percent, if they have a BAC of .04 or above, they are still subject to federal prosecution.
What You Can Do Now
If you have been arrested for DUI in Maryland and hold a CDL, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Maryland DUI attorney to help save your commercial driver’s license and your job. If you are convicted of DUI and lose your CDL, you may have a very difficult time finding another job, resulting in undue financial and emotional hardships. In order to protect your future, it is essential that you choose the right attorney.
At Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC, our experienced CDL DUI attorneys are former prosecutors with advanced knowledge of Maryland DUI laws. We have the necessary skills, resources, and experience to aggressively and successfully defend CDL drivers against DUI/DWI charges.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us today at (301) 321-7277 for a free case evaluation.