Impact of a DUI on Commercial Driver’s License Holders in Salisbury

An individual who has a CDL faces more sanctions that could impact their ability to work than  someone with a typical driver’s license. They are held to a very different and much higher standard. There are consequences specifically at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) that are totally separate from the court process as well. Additionally, if a person who has a CDL refuses to take a breath test, they can be disqualified from holding their CDL for a year and that’s a penalty that could then impact their employment and they will no longer be able to work. As a result it is important to consult with a Salisbury DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin building your defense.

Criminal Consequences

Typically, if someone does not have a CDL, if they just have a regular driver’s license and they were to go court and plead guilty to the DUI, or they were found guilty after trial of the DUI, they have the possibility of getting a sentencing disposition called “probation before judgment.” For the typical driver’s license holder, that probation before judgment would not show up as a conviction. There would be no points assessed at the MVA. It wouldn’t have the same consequences as a conviction. So probation before judgment for anyone holding a regular license is a good thing. Probation before judgment helps them keep their record clean.

However, a probation before judgment sentencing disposition does not mean the same thing if the person holds a CDL. A probation before judgment for a CDL holder is still considered a conviction. It’s important for an individual who holds a CDL to understand that. What that could mean is a CDL holder, if they are convicted of a DUI, could be disqualified from holding their CDL for a year. If it is a second or a subsequent offense, then they could receive the lifetime disqualification. That applies if they were driving a non-commercial motor vehicle. If they were driving a commercial motor vehicle, it wouldn’t matter what they were convicted of. It could be a DUI. It could be a DWI. It does not matter: if they are driving their commercial motor vehicle and they are convicted under any subsection of 21-902, then they would face disqualification.

Are CDL Holders Held To a Higher Standard?

They are held to a higher standard in court by the mere fact that the statutes specifically treats CDL holders differently when it comes to probation before judgment. The typical benefit of probation before judgment would not apply to a CDL holder and that part of the statute holds them to a much higher standard.

Impact of Breathalyzer Results on CDL Penalties

It is important for anyone who has a CDL to know what the consequences could be regarding a DUI breath test. If the CDL holder is actually driving a commercial motor vehicle at that time and they refuse to take a breath test or if they take a breath test and the result is a 0.04 or more, then the driver is going to have a one-year disqualification if it’s his first offense. If it’s a second or subsequent offense, then they possibly could get a lifetime disqualification and no longer be able to have their CDL. However, it’s not necessarily a lifetime disqualification. There are ways to reapply, but it’s complicated and there is the possibility that they would not be able to get their CDL back. There are major consequences at the MVA for someone who holds a CDL.

Long Term Implications of a DUI

The long-term implications could potentially involve having a lifetime disqualification of holding their CDL. If they have a subsequent offense for a DUI, then they are facing the possibility of a lifetime disqualification and that obviously would then impact their employment.

There are other consequences that could impact a CDL holder’s ability to work. For example if you are a CDL holder who is driving a noncommercial motor vehicle and are stopped. Typically if you hold a general driver’s license and you refused to take the breath test or the breath test is a 0.15 or higher, you still will be able to drive, but you would have to agree to have an interlock device placed on your car. If you have a CDL and have to drive for a living, it may not be possible for that individual. Even if they’re not driving the commercial motor vehicle, a conviction can have really serious consequences on their ability to continue to work.

How An Attorney Can Help

An attorney would know what types of offenses will trigger what types of disqualification. An attorney understands the law and the statutes. First of all, an attorney can help the driver consider whether to plead not guilty and have a trial. If that is not the best option, then an attorney can help decide what type of plea would be in that person’s best interest. For example, a plea to a violation of 21902(A) is going to have a different consequence than potentially a plea to a 20902(B) charge. Attorneys should be able to explain that to the driver and help determine the best course of action under the circumstances.