Many people rely on their Pennsylvania commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) to earn a living. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has many requirements for obtaining a CDL and imposes high standards for maintaining these licenses. However, a DUI conviction may jeopardize your CDL and result in a temporary or permanent disqualification, which may keep you from your livelihood.
If you have a CDL and require that license to do your job, you need to take DUI charges seriously. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you need an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney who can help protect your rights. Not only does a DUI jeopardize your CDL, you may also be subject to harsh penalties including jail time and hefty fines.
Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146.
What is a DUI in Pennsylvania?
A DUI conviction may be different for different types of drivers. Typically, Pennsylvania law defines DUI as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent and above. However, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, you may be convicted of DUI if you have a BAC of 0.04 percent. You may also be found guilty of a DUI if you are driving under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs.
Effect of DUI While Driving a Commercial Vehicle
A DUI is a serious conviction if you have a CDL. In addition to incarceration and fines, you may face disqualification for a CDL. The length of disqualification depends on the nature of the DUI conviction and may even be permanent.
CDL penalties for DUI’s in Pittsburgh include:
- First DUI – 1-year CDL disqualification
- First DUI while transporting hazmat – 3-year CDL disqualification
- Second DUI – Lifetime CDL disqualification
In addition, a person who drives a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania is considered by the law to have provided consent for a breath, blood, or urine test for BAC upon the direction of a police officer. If you refuse to take a test after the officer provides the required warning, you will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle in similar fashion as a DUI conviction. This offense may also result in a $100 fine and a requirement to be out of service 24 hours. If the offense involves the operation of a school bus, the fine is $250 and you must be placed out of service for 30 days.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and CDL
First-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania have the opportunity to enter into ARD, a pretrial diversion program that provides an alternative to going to trial. Through ARD, you may be placed under supervision and, upon satisfying prescribed conditions, avoid conviction and a criminal record. However, PennDOT considers ARD participation as a DUI conviction and may still sanction CDL holders with license disqualification. The only way to absolutely avoid disqualification is to get the state to drop the DUI charges or to be found not guilty of the offense after trial.
Protecting Your CDL from a DUI
If you are a CDL holder and you have been charged with a DUI, you should consult with an attorney who can help you analyze your options and avoid consequences that impact your ability to earn a living. You need an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney by your side so you can make informed decisions regarding your case. Call us today at (412) 281-2146 for an initial consultation today so we can help you protect your rights.