Those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) usually face even harsher consequences for a DUI conviction than the average motorist. Not only do CDL drivers risk the typical fines and jail time that others face, they could potentially suffer the loss of their livelihood should their driver’s license be revoked. This is one reason it’s crucial for Louisiana CDL drivers who face DUI charges to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney before considering any guilty pleas.
The DUI attorneys with the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm can help CDL drivers who have been charged with drunk driving navigate the complicated legal system. This could mean the difference between losing or saving your CDL and career.
Can I Lose My CDL for a DUI Conviction?
The state of Louisiana’s drunk driving statutes follow federal guidelines when it comes to CDLs. Penalties for those who hold CDLs are quite harsh and include a driving license suspension of at least one year for many offenses, especially any associated with driving under the influence. These sentencing guidelines apply even if you were operating your personal rather than commercial vehicle at the time of arrest.
Certain considerations will affect whether you are convicted of a “major” or “minor” violation, which further dictates how harsh sentencing will be. A major violation will be met with a license suspension of at least one year, but the suspension could run up to as many as three years if hazardous materials were also being transported when you were arrested.
Both DUI convictions and refusing to consent to blood alcohol testing (as mandated by Louisiana’s Informed Consent Law) count as major violations that will lead to suspension of your CDL. Being convicted of a second DUI charge or committing any other major violation (e.g. a hit-and-run accident or driving while under the influence of narcotics) could lead to a lifetime CDL suspension.
What Is the Legal Limit of Alcohol for a CDL Driver?
The legal limit of alcohol is actually much lower for those operating commercial vehicles than it is for other types of vehicles. Louisiana’s blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08 percent for operators of non-commercial vehicles, but someone operating a commercial vehicle can face arrest at only .04 percent.
Our state also tends to punish traffic convictions more harshly than many others. Commercial drivers cannot reduce their moving violations from their driving records by enrolling in Defensive Driving or participating in Deferred Adjudication. The combination of prior traffic violations and conviction of DUI charges can hurt your driving record and cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket.
If you’re arrested while operating a commercial vehicle and accused of having a BAC above the legal limit, it’s crucial to consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you determine the best course of action and, if necessary, help you prepare to vigorously defend yourself against the charges.
Contact the DUI Attorneys with the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm
Contact the criminal defense attorneys with the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm to learn more about how a DUI affects your Louisiana CDL. Our DUI lawyers offer decades of experience in advocating for clients facing similar charges. Call us at (318) 377-1555 or contact us online to schedule a no-cost case evaluation.