Commercial drivers face harsher consequences than drivers of other regular vehicles in case of accidents. The chances of commercial trucks being involved in more serious accidents are much higher, and hence, the laws pertaining to commercial vehicle drivers are quite strict. In fact, drivers of commercial vehicles are usually subjected to harsher penalties and sentences.
If you think driving a commercial vehicle is the same as driving any other vehicle, you’re mistaken. A commercial driver has to be a lot more vigilant. Not only do they have to follow all the traffic rules that other drivers have to, but there is also a whole set of additional rules for them that have been specifically put together by the federal and state authorities. A commercial driver is obligated to maintain accurate break logs, taking stops after driving their commercial vehicle for several hours straight, and complying with all other rules related to commercial driving.
All of this implies that if a commercial driver is found driving in a drunk state, he should expect to find himself in really hot water. While no driver is supposed to be driving when drunk, a commercial vehicle driver has to be extra cautious, because the extent of damage that an accident involving commercial vehicle can cause can lead to devastating losses, of both property and life.
Understanding Commercial Driver DUI
The first and foremost requirement of driving a commercial vehicle is securing a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Commercial vehicles weigh as much as 26,000 pounds and include tanks, buses, and large trailers. Since the danger associated with driving a commercial vehicle is much higher, the blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold has been lowered for drivers of commercial vehicles.
Motor vehicle drivers in Illinois are prohibited from driving if their BAC is 0.08% or higher. A driver is charged with a commercial DUI if he is found driving at a BAC higher than this. However, for a driver who holds a CDL, the Illinois law prohibits them from driving commercial vehicles if their BAC is 0.04%, which is lower than the restriction on other motor vehicle drivers. If a commercial driver is found driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.04% or higher, they’ll be charged for a DUI.
The difference in the DUI threshold for regular motor vehicle drivers and commercial drivers is significantly different. It is all for one fundamental reason - the more significant potential of a commercial vehicle being involved in catastrophic accidents.
Consequences of Commercial DUI In Illinois
The lower BAC limit is not the only difference in the laws for commercial and non-commercial drivers. As we’ve mentioned earlier, commercial drivers have to face harsher penalties and more serious consequences if they’re driving under the influence.
Apart from regular penalties for DUI that include fines, probation, and suspension of license, there are additional consequences. A DUI charge will lead to the disqualification of the CDL if the driver is found guilty of driving under drunk conditions or refusing to take the BAC test.
If a person who holds a CDL is charged a DUI in Illinois for the first time, they will have their CDL suspended for a (one) year. If a commercial driver drives a vehicle that carries hazardous waste and is convicted of DUI, they’ve to face harsher treatment. In this case, the CDL is suspended for 3 years.
In the case of the second DUI offense, a commercial driver will face commercial license revocation. Having a CDL revoked means a permanent loss of the commercial license.
In some cases, the Illinois law offers the convicted commercial drivers to undertake an alcohol awareness program. After completing this program, the driver can have their CDL reinstated, but after completing the suspension period of one year.
Refusal to Get Tested
If a commercial driver refuses to take the BAC test for a second incident, they can have their commercial driver’s license revoked for good.
Driving Non-Commercial Vehicle
One of the most frustrating consequences of a commercial DUI is that if a driver holding a CDL is found driving under the influence, a commercial DUI is likely to follow, whether he was driving a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial one. It means that a CDL holder has to make sure that they’re not driving when drunk, even if they’re driving a regular vehicle because the impact will eventually be on their CDL.
The rules about commercial DUI are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, and hence, commercial driver’s license holders from all states are subject to them. No matter which state the CDL has been issued from or which state the offense has taken place in, the penalties and consequences are the same.
Implied Consent for CDL Holders In Illinois
It’s not just the consequences of being convicted of DUI that commercial drivers have to worry about. Even the implied consent law is stricter for commercial drivers. Before any driver can be made to take the BAC test, officials are obligated to take the consent of the suspect. In case the suspect refuses, they have to face the consequences. However, these consequences are a lot worse for commercial drivers. If a commercial driver refuses to take the test, not only is their CDL suspended, but they’re also barred from working to make a living for as long as their CDL is suspended.
Do I Need a DUI Attorney?
A commercial DUI lawyer defends you in the court and prevents the DUI charged from becoming a solid conviction, and hence, keeps you from having to face the penalties that come with it. If you’re a commercial driver who’s been charged with a DUI, you can have a lawyer to take up your case and present DUI defenses in the court on your behalf.
Some of the possible defenses a CDL DUI lawyer can make use of include:
Inaccurate, miscalibrated, or broken BAC test kit
Lack of a reason from stopping the commercial vehicle
Violation of the rights included in the Fourth Amendment
Incorrect administration of the field sobriety test
If the lawyer manages to pull off any of these defenses successfully, any evidence that could have been used against the commercial driver is deemed inadmissible, and this can turn the case around in the driver’s favor. The chances of the driver being charged with a commercial driver DUI are significantly reduced.
Moreover, suppose the suspension of the CDL can result in possible disruptions in the livelihood of the commercial driver charged of commercial DUI. In that case, the DUI defense lawyer can even represent them in the court throughout the suspension period and strive to get the license suspension duration reduced.
Challenging the CDL Suspension
A commercial driver can protect his CDL and has the right to challenge the CDL suspension in court. Again, a commercial DUI lawyer can help get through the process. To challenge the suspension, a petition to rescind has to be filed in the court. Once it’s filed, the court has to respond to the petition within 30 days. In case the officers fail to appear in front of the judge, the suspension is rescinded. In that case, the CDL suspension isn’t proceeded with, and the driver is declared innocent.
Our DUI lawyers in Naperville have many years of experience in defending commercial drivers who’ve been arrested and charged for commercial driver DUI. If you’re in search of a competent attorney to look after your case, contact us today and let us take charge of the case for you, and help you with getting back on the road with your commercial vehicle!