Commercial truckers rely on their CDL (commercial driver’s license) to make a living and provide for their families. But what happens to your CDL if you get a DUI?
Colorado has recently strengthened the penalties for DUI for individuals that hold a CDL. If you drive a big rig, bus, delivery truck, or another type of vehicle that requires you to have a CDL, a DUI conviction could end your career. Because this impacts your livelihood, it’s vital that you get experienced and aggressive legal representation to protect your rights and try to minimize these types of consequences.
Your Commercial Driver’s License
The Federal government regulates commercial drivers in the U.S. through the rules outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These rules state the requirements to obtain and keep a license.
Colorado statutes mirror the FMCSA regulations, with additional guidelines on requirements, standards, and penalties, which are found in Title 49 CFR Part 383. According to these rules, there is just a single record for all CDL holders. This means that any DUI conviction will follow you throughout the country and affect your ability to drive commercially.
Penalties in Colorado for DUI with a CDL
If you are a commercial driver in Colorado, the laws related to DUI are harsh and unforgiving. Even if you are arrested for DUI in your personal vehicle on your own time, you can still lose your CDL for up to a year if you are convicted.
According to Colorado law, your CDL can be suspended for one year (or three years if you are a hazardous materials transporter) if you receive a DUI conviction for any of the following:
- DUI in either a commercial or personal vehicle
- Driving while ability impaired
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Refusing a chemical test
- Committing a felony involving a vehicle
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked or suspended CDL
Colorado CDL Holders and Alcohol Offenses
Commercial drivers in Colorado are held to a much higher standard than others. If you hold a CDL and are arrested for DUI, the state DMV is going to open up two separate cases, one for your personal driver’s license and one for your CDL.
Per C.R.S. § 42-2-126(3)(d), if you were found to be driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 or higher, you face a one-year revocation of your CDL for a first offense. Per C.R.S. § 42-4-125(2), a DUI combined with a vehicle carrying hazardous materials will result in a three-year suspension for a first offense. If there is a second offense, you’ll face a lifetime revocation of CDL privileges.
Even if you are a CDL holder and were driving a non-commercial or personal vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest, you still face suspension of your CDL. The revocation can be up to one year if you are convicted for DUI or DWAI in court or excess BAC at a DMV hearing. A second offense will result in a lifetime revocation of CDL privileges.
In addition to any mandatory revocation periods, commercial drivers are also prohibited from using a CDL if there are any restrictions on their personal driving privileges. This means that, if you have an ignition interlock restriction, you can’t get a CDL reinstated or apply for a CDL until this restriction is lifted.
While federal regulations permit possible reinstatement on a lifetime ban after 10 years, this is not something that is possible in Colorado. On top of this, federal law also prohibits judges from issuing sentencing that will mask a DUI conviction on your CDL record. For these reasons alone, it’s vital that you do everything possible to avoid the steep consequences of a conviction.
Speak with an Experienced Colorado Springs DUI/DWAI Attorney
If you’ve been charged for DUI or DWAI and hold a CDL, there is a lot at stake. The only way to hold onto your CDL after one of these arrests is to aggressively fight the charges against you. We can help.
At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, our experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorneys have a track record of success in defending the rights of CDL drivers. Don’t let this event ruin your career and threaten your livelihood. Contact us now at (719) 473-9099 to schedule your initial consultation.