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Baltimore CDL DUI Charges

A DUI can be a huge impediment to an individual with a commercial driver’s license. It can cause immediate termination from employment and loss of the CDL. There are even situations where a DUI can cause lifetime license revocation of a CDL. For these reasons, it is imperative that a Baltimore DUI lawyer is contacted as soon as possible to mitigate the damage and build a strong defense.

Consequences For CDL Drivers

There is the initial license suspension based on the test or refusal to do a test, and that is the same as it would be for a non-commercial driver. The only exception for CDL drivers is that a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test causes a one-year suspension of their commercial driver’s license rather than a four-month suspension. Additionally, the MVA cannot modify a driver’s license suspension for a CDL holder. This means they can give someone a restricted license to let them drive to and from work, but they cannot allow them to operate a commercial motor vehicle while your license is suspended. Therefore, an individual may be eligible for a work permit on their regular license, but will not have the same type of allowance to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

What Are The Long-Term Implications of a DUI Conviction On a CDL Holder?

Besides the initial suspension of the driver’s license, there are a lot of firms who will not employ a CDL holder who has a conviction for DUI on their record. Even if the individual is able to be licensed, it is going to be a lot tougher for them to find any kind of employment than for an individual who does not have that conviction on their record.

Impact on Employment

That is really going to depend on a lot of different factors. There are two independent processes at work in a typical DUI case. One is the criminal process, where an individual is convicted, acquitted, or receives Probation Before Judgment or something similar. The other process is the administrative driver’s license suspension case which is completely independent of the court case. Sometimes the administrative case is very similar to what the state has to prove in court, but other times they are going to be completely different.

For example, there are administrative penalties for refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test. There is no crime for refusal in Maryland like in some other jurisdictions. In a refusal case in criminal court, the state must prove the individual was impaired and operating a motor vehicle. To take the license, however, the MVA only needs to prove that the individual refused to submit to the Breathalyzer test. Sobriety is not a defense for refusal in license suspension like it is in a criminal case. So there will be circumstances where an individual gets acquitted in the criminal court yet still loses their license through an administrative suspension.

Additionally with CDL drivers, if an individual receives Probation Before Judgment on a 21-902(a) DUI offense, the 12-point offense, that will still cause loss of a commercial driver’s license. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration basically requires the MVA to treat that Probation Before Judgment as a conviction.

Are CDL Holders Held to a Higher Standard in Court?

It is not apparent that judges hold the CDL holder to a higher standard in court. However, the Federal Motor Carrier statutes and the Maryland legislature makes their licenses significantly more vulnerable to suspension and significantly less amenable to modification of that suspension. In that sense they are held to a higher standard than the ordinary driver.

Benefit of An Attorney

An attorney can challenge the case. Having the case dismissed is going to be significantly more important for a CDL holder than for the ordinary DUI driver. There are also outcomes in court which can mitigate against loss of a CDL. For every specific case you are going to want to speak to your attorney and get information that applies directly to your own facts and circumstances.