Do You Lose Your CDL if You Get a DUI in Ohio?
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a requirement for operating many vehicles, such as large trucks, buses, and any vehicle used to transport goods or passengers for commercial purposes.
A CDL allows a driver to operate vehicles that fall into specific classes, each with its own requirements and restrictions. To obtain a CDL, a driver must meet specific age and medical requirements, pass a written knowledge test, and demonstrate their ability to operate a commercial vehicle through a skills test safely. Not only does having a commercial driver’s license (CDL) give individuals the ability to operate massive trucks and common carrier vehicles such as buses, but it is also a way to make a living and provide for the family. If you lose your license, you lose your livelihood.
At Patituce & Associates, our DUI attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and working to ensure that you receive fair treatment and every opportunity for a positive resolution after a drunk driving charge threatens your future.
CDL Requirements in Ohio
Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Ohio involves a multistep process that ensures the applicant has the necessary skills and knowledge to operate commercial motor vehicles safely. In addition to age requirements and a valid driver’s license, drivers must also pass a written knowledge test and a skills test and possess a clean driving record. In addition, other special endorsements, such as those required for transporting hazardous materials, driving school buses, or operating tanker vehicles, may require additional requisites.
The CDL regulations are designed to ensure that only qualified drivers operate commercial vehicles, given the increased risks and responsibilities associated with driving larger and potentially more hazardous vehicles. For CDL holders, violations like a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction can have more significant consequences, such as loss of license and job, as these violations can be seen as indicative of a lack of responsibility or professionalism necessary for the role.
Common CDL Violations in Ohio
According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, if a CDL holder is convicted of certain violations in either a commercial vehicle or a private vehicle, their ability to operate a CDL vehicle is disqualified. The length of disqualification can last between 60 days and a lifetime.
Common major violations include:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Causing death due to negligence
- Hit and run
- Driving a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony
For How Long Do You Lose Your CDL if You Get a DUI?
If you are a commercial vehicle driver and have been arrested for a DUI, your CDL will be subject to an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) not exceeding 90 days. If you were operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest, you will also be placed out of service for one day (24 hours).
Remember, having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04 or higher—as opposed to the .08 legal limit for ordinary motorists. If you refuse a post-arrest chemical test (e.g. breath or blood test), your CDL will be suspended for one year.
If you fail to appeal the ALS, your CDL will be disqualified. Although you may still obtain restricted driving privileges for operating non-commercial vehicles, you are not allowed to drive a commercial vehicle during the period of the ALS.
If a stay is granted, your CDL privileges will be restored while your criminal case plays out. If the appeal is granted, your CDL privileges will be fully restored.
If you are convicted of drunk driving in Ohio, the CDL disqualification period lasts up to one year for a first offense. In the event of a second DUI conviction, it results in a lifetime suspension.
How Long Do You Have to Wait to Get a CDL After a DUI?
A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction carries severe consequences for anyone, but for those aspiring to obtain or renew a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the penalties can be particularly restrictive. Depending on the severity of the charges and the circumstances of your particular offense, the following factors may be considerations in determining whether you will be eligible for a new CDL or renewal after a DUI charge.
- First DUI Conviction: In Ohio, if you are convicted of a DUI while holding a CDL, your CDL will be suspended for a minimum of one year. If you were transporting hazardous materials at the time, that period increases to three years.
- Second DUI Conviction: A second DUI conviction will likely result in a lifetime disqualification from holding a CDL in Ohio. This makes it virtually impossible to pursue a career in commercial driving again within the state.
- DUI Conviction While Holding a Standard Driver’s License: If you are convicted of a DUI while holding a standard driver’s license (not a CDL), you may still face challenges in obtaining a CDL. Many CDL employers conduct thorough background checks, and a DUI conviction can be a significant mark against your record. This conviction may not legally prevent you from obtaining a CDL after fulfilling any required suspension period, but it could make it harder to find employment as a commercial driver.
- Rehabilitation and Education Programs: Depending on the circumstances of the DUI conviction, you may be required to complete education or rehabilitation programs. Successfully completing these programs might be a prerequisite for reapplying for a CDL.
- Other State and Federal Considerations: It’s important to note that CDL regulations are subject to both state and federal laws. If you move to another state, the DUI conviction will still be part of your driving record, and similar restrictions may apply.
- Consult with a Legal Professional: The laws surrounding DUI convictions and CDLs are complex. If you have been convicted of a DUI and are considering applying for a CDL, it may be wise to consult with an experienced attorney familiar with Ohio’s DUI and CDL laws. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.
The process of regaining or obtaining a CDL after a DUI conviction is complex and fraught with challenges. Seeking professional legal guidance can help you navigate this complicated landscape and potentially save you time and frustration as you work to rebuild your driving career.
What Happens After a DUI Conviction in Ohio?
Even after your one-year suspension is over, there are still consequences due to having a DUI conviction on your criminal record, including:
- Employment Consequences: Losing a CDL can have a drastic effect on your livelihood. Many employers may choose not to hire someone with a DUI conviction, and if you are already employed as a commercial driver, you may lose your job.
- Increased Insurance Rates: A DUI conviction will likely result in significantly higher auto insurance rates, potentially for several years.
- Completion of Education and Treatment Programs: You may be required to complete DUI education or treatment programs as part of your sentence, which can be time-consuming and costly.
An Ohio DUI conviction can have a profound impact on CDL holders. From license suspension to potential job loss, the implications can be life-altering. It is crucial to take these charges seriously and seek professional legal representation.
How Our Legal Team Can Help
If you are a commercial driver charged with a DUI in Ohio, it is essential to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The potential consequences to your career and personal life can be devastating.
Since your future and reputation depend on your CDL, the DUI attorneys at Patituce & Associates are dedicated to helping you obtain the best possible results in your case. We can investigate your case, collect evidence, create a strong defense strategy, and help you avoid letting a single arrest end your career.