For those who drive for a living, getting a DUI can come with devastating consequences. Even if a police officer pulls you over while driving in your personal vehicle and off the clock, a DUI conviction for first-time offenders can result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
Whether you drive a bus, semi-truck, private car, taxi or more, getting a DUI on or off the clock can be serious. When you hold your commercial driver’s license (CDL), the penalties can be swift and harsh, threatening your livelihood and ability to continue in your career.
CDL holders are held to a higher standard
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Illinois, as in most states, is 0.08%. This limit also extends to CDL holders off the clock and driving a personal vehicle. However, under both Illinois and federal law, the BAC limit for CDL holders driving for work is 0.04%. You could risk the disqualification of your CDL if your BAC tests at or over 0.04%, you refuse a blood or breath test or you receive a criminal DUI conviction.
What to do after getting a DUI
After you receive a DUI, take the following steps:
- Contact your employer. You must notify your employer within one day of the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.
- Contact an attorney. Getting legal help early on can assist in identifying any options to preserve your CDL and responding promptly to key deadlines.
- Document everything. Write down anything you recall of the events leading up to and during the arrest.
Being productive and taking immediate action can help mitigate harsh consequences and protect your driver’s license and CDL.
Options to retain or reinstate your CDL
You can contest both the DUI and the disqualification of your CDL, whether the pending disqualification is based on refusing a blood or breath test or a BAC limit over 0.04%. There are also options to reinstate your CDL. After your disqualification period, you may apply for reinstatement, which may include taking a state-approved alcohol education program.
Having a DUI on your record can make both retaining and looking for employment difficult. Taking immediate action to fight a conviction and retain your license can assist in protecting your career from a significant disruption.