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The Consequences of a DUI for Commercial Drivers

dui for commercial drivers

Driving while under the influence is a choice that can affect every area of your life. However, the consequences are particularly long-reaching for those who drive for a living. The standards for commercial drivers are extremely high, and if you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can expect your career to suffer.

If you’ve been arrested for driving while impaired, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The team at Ron Aslam Law Office is here to help you. Call us at 502-581-1676 to schedule a consultation now.

Stiff Consequences for CDL Holders

Kentucky takes drunk driving very seriously, so you can plan on paying substantial fines and losing quite a bit of freedom—even if you aren’t a commercial driver. But if you are a commercial driver with a CDL, you will face even tougher penalties.

Across the board, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 in Kentucky. Any driver pulled over with a BAC of 0.08 or higher can be arrested for driving while impaired. However, if you get pulled over with a CDL, they will look for any measurable amount of alcohol or controlled substance in your body. If you have any trace alcohol or controlled substance, you will be unable to drive with your CDL for 24 hours.

On top of that, the legal BAC limit is not 0.08 for CDL holders—it is 0.04. If you take a breathalyzer test and register 0.04 or higher, you are disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. You might think that you can get around this by refusing the breath, blood, or urine screening. The law addresses this situation as well. If you refuse those tests and you are convicted of refusal to test, you get the same punishment—you cannot operate a commercial vehicle for one year.

What happens if you get convicted of a second DUI after waiting out your first DUI’s consequences? If at any point after your first DUI conviction, you get convicted of either refusing a test or having a BAC over 0.04, you are disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle from the rest of your life.

These laws apply whether or not you are driving a commercial vehicle at the time of your arrest. If you are driving a commercial vehicle and you are carrying hazardous materials, you will face a disqualification period of three years instead of one year.

How Your Career Will Be Affected

As you can imagine, you will face grave consequences in your career if you are convicted for driving under the influence or refusing a drug and alcohol screening. To start, you are unable to drive for one year. Your immediate challenge is keeping your driving job while you are banned from driving.

Most companies, especially large national companies, will not make any effort to hold your job for you. They consider you too great of a risk to keep on and will terminate you immediately. If you work for a smaller trucking firm or company, you may be able to find some lenience.

At a small company, they may be willing to give you a second chance if you explain the circumstances and make a case for keeping your job. However, this still means a year of not driving. You may have to take on phone duties, paperwork, or other administrative work just to remain employed.

You should also remember that a DUI follows you throughout your career. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that keeps you on after a DUI, you may be effectively stuck with them. Other commercial drivers have the flexibility to compare offers from other companies and find a company that gives them the best pay and benefits. But once you have a DUI, your pool of employment options could shrink considerably.

You may also find that your growth opportunities evaporate after a DUI. Even if your company chooses to keep you on, they might be unwilling to take a chance on you when it comes to promotions, higher-paying drives, or other beneficial career moves.

Discuss Your Legal Options with Ron Aslam Law Office

It’s clear that there is a lot at stake when you are arrested for driving under the influence. It is crucial to talk to an attorney, especially if you have a CDL and you are at risk of losing your career. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 502-581-1676 or getting in touch with us online.