If you have your commercial drivers license (CDL), then you probably know the importance of maintaining a clean driving record. Aside from other serious traffic infractions, if you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in a commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle, then you could lose your CDL, and with it your livelihood. One DUI conviction and you could be out of work for at least one year. And with a tarnished driving record, you may find it hard to get a new driving position even when your CDL is reinstated. When dealing with protecting a CDL from the impact of a DUI, you need experienced CDL DUI attorneys working for you, who understand what it will take for you to keep your license.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our DUI attorneys in Greensburg are well-versed in Pennsylvania and federal DUI laws. We have an exceptional background in helping professional drivers protects their careers and will fight hard for your DUI charges to be dismissed, reduced, or to diminish the impact to your life.
CDL DUI Laws in Pennsylvania
If you have your CDL, then Pennsylvania has a specific DUI law that applies to you. Under 75 Pa. Code §3802(f), you cannot drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a commercial vehicle or school bus or vehicle in any of these circumstances:
- 75 Pa. Code §3802(f)(1)(i)-(ii): After you have imbibed a sufficient amount of alcohol such that your breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .04 percent within two hours of driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a commercial vehicle or .02 percent within two hours of driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a school bus or vehicle.
- 75 Pa. Code §3802(f)(2): After you have imbibed a sufficient amount of alcohol that you are rendered incapable of safely driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle.
- 75 Pa. Code §3802(f)(3): While you are under the influence of a controlled substance or combination of controlled substances.
- 75 Pa. Code §3802(f)(4): While you are under the combined influence of alcohol and one or more controlled substances.
It is important you realize the CDL legal limit for a DUI is not the same as for a regular driver in a personal vehicle. If you drive a commercial vehicle, like a delivery van or semi-truck, then your legal limit is a .04 percent BAC. If you are a school bus driver or are responsible for driving another school vehicle, your legal limit is .02 percent BAC, which you could hit after only one drink.
Also, keep in mind that your BAC could be zero and you may still face a CDL DUI. You can be charged with a DUI for drugged driving if your blood test shows the presence of a controlled substance.
To learn more about when CDL holders can be charged with an impaired driving offense, call our Greensburg CDL DUI lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys. We are here to guide you through the criminal court process and fight for you to keep your commercial license.
CDL DUI in Personal Vehicles
To be charged with a CDL DUI in Greensburg, PA, you need to be in a commercial vehicle. Simply having a CDL is not enough. If you have a CDL but are in your personal vehicle at the time of the arrest, then you will face a standard DUI charge—not a CDL DUI. You also will be held to the typical legal limit of .08 percent.
However, that does not mean a DUI arrest or conviction will not affect your commercial license. If you are convicted of a DUI while driving your personal care, you could still have your CDL suspended or lose your job. No matter what type of DUI you are facing, you need to contact our CDL DUI attorneys and fight the charges.
Do You Lose Your CDL If You Have a DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI in Greensburg, you will lose your CDL for a period. The commercial license penalties for a DUI are:
- First CDL DUI: One-year disqualification
- First CDL DUI While Transporting Hazardous Materials (Hazmat): Three-year disqualification
- Second CDL DUI or Personal DUI: Lifetime disqualification
These Pennsylvania laws are in line with federal CDL DUI laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a .04 percent BAC limit for all CDL drivers in commercial vehicles. It requires disqualification for one or three years after a first DUI and lifetime disqualification after a second DUI in either a commercial vehicle or a personal vehicle.
CDL DUI Penalties
For a first-time CDL DUI, when you have a BAC between .04 and .159, you will be charged with an ungraded misdemeanor. The penalties include:
- Between 48 hours and six months in custody
- Fines up to $5,000
- CDL disqualification for 12 months (or 36 months if carrying hazmat)
- Personal driver’s license suspension for 12 months
- Alcohol highway safety school
- Alcohol and/or drug treatment
How Do I Get My CDL Back After a DUI?
If you are disqualified from having a CDL for one or three years, you must wait the full period before you can get your commercial license reinstated. In addition to waiting the prescribed amount of time, you must satisfy all other court requirements. In other words, you need to complete all parts of your sentence, which may include paying fines, paying restitution, completing community service, going through alcohol highway safety school, and completing drug and/or alcohol counseling.
Additionally, if you are convicted of a subsequent DUI, your CDL will be subjected to a lifetime suspension, with a provision for possible reinstatement after 10 years. However, before trying to restore your CDL, you should always speak with a CDL DUI lawyer, because certain other conditions may need to be met.
You will have to retake and pass the CDL driving skills and knowledge tests. You must also go through the entire application process again. You cannot simply start driving a commercial vehicle once enough time has passed. If you pass the tests, you must also pay a reinstatement fee to obtain your new CDL.
Defending Against a CDL DUI in Greensburg
If you are a commercial driver and are facing a CDL DUI or a DUI related to your personal vehicle, call our CDL DUI attorneys right away. There are ways to defend against these charges, including but not limited to demonstrating:
- You were subject to an unreasonable traffic stop.
- You were subject to an unconstitutional search and seizure.
- You were stopped at an unlawful Greensburg DUI checkpoint.
- The police lacked probable cause to make a DUI arrest.
- A breath, blood, or urine test was improperly administered.
- The chemical test equipment was not calibrated.
- The chemical test equipment was flawed or defective.
- The chemical test’s results are invalid or unreliable.
- The prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove you committed the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.
Do Not Accept ARD Lightly for a CDL DUI
In some circumstances, you may be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD). But this is not typically a good choice for CDL holders. If you did not have a commercial license at all and were facing a DUI in your personal vehicle, then ARD enables you to avoid a trial and possibly a conviction, if you adhered to the rules of supervision. However, ARD does not prevent you from a CDL disqualification, whether you were in a commercial or personal vehicle at the time of the arrest.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) considers ARD as a DUI conviction in regard to commercial drivers. Once PennDOT is notified of your participation in ARD, your CDL will be disqualified.
The only way to avoid CDL disqualification is to fight the CDL DUI charges, and to have the charges dismissed, reduced to a non-DUI offense, or to be found not guilty. To strive toward these goals, call our CDL DUI lawyers right away.
Can You Get a CDL With a DUI?
If you have a DUI on your record, it is still possible to obtain a CDL for the first time. While you cannot get a CDL if you are under a driver’s license suspension if your license is valid and up to date, and the sentence for your DUI is complete, you can move forward with taking the CDL knowledge and skills tests.
Contact Our Greensburg CDL DUI Attorneys Today
If you drive for a living in Greensburg, PA, you need a clean driving record. Being charged with a DUI puts your CDL in jeopardy. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our highly experienced CDL DUI lawyers are here to fight for your commercial license and your livelihood.