Commercial Vehicle Operators Held to Higher Standard
In Connecticut, the commercial vehicle laws are much tougher on individuals who operate commercial vehicles as opposed to those who operate passenger vehicles. Connecticut commercial drivers are held to the highest standard.
The legal blood alcohol concentration “BAC” limit for operating a non-commercial motor vehicle in Connecticut is .08%. The legal BAC limit for operating a commercial vehicle is .04%. CDL holders are held to this more stringent .04% standard regardless of whether they are operating a commercial vehicle for employment purposes. If the vehicle is classified as a commercial vehicle, then the legal limit is .04%.
FACING CDL DUI AND LICENSE REVOCATION IN CONNECTICUT? SCHEDULE AN INITIAL COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION, BY CALLING (860) 524-8118
Connecticut Penalties for CDL DUI and CDL Requirements in Connecticut
In Connecticut, individuals who hold commercial driver’s licenses, in addition to penalties to their regular license, are subject to a CDL disqualification for committing the following DUI related acts:
- Having a BAC of .04% while driving a commercial vehicle
- Having a BAC of .08% while driving any kind of vehicle
- Refusing a BAC test while driving any kind of vehicle
- A conviction for DUI
- A conviction for DUI with a Child Passenger
- A conviction for Assault in the 2nd Degree with a Motor Vehicle
- A conviction for Manslaughter in 2nd Degree with a Motor Vehicle
First Offense CDL DUI
If you have been arrested and charged with a commercial DUI, for a first offense, you risk the following:
- Up to 6 months in jail, 48 hours of which cannot be suspended without permission from the judge
- Fines ranging from $500 – $1,000
- 45-day loss of Passenger License
- 1-Year Ignition-Interlock Device Requirement
- 1-Year loss of Commercial Driver’s License
- 90-day suspension on your vehicle
CDL Holders Cannot Drive Commercial Vehicles With a Work Permit
Most individuals who are facing a first-time suspension for a Connecticut DUI-related offense will qualify for a Special Operator’s Permit or Work Permit so they can at least drive to work during any period of suspension. While CDL holders are technically eligible to obtain a work permit, they are not permitted to drive a commercial motor vehicle under a work permit. Since most CDL holders drive commercial vehicles for a living, the work permit is essentially meaningless to them.
In many instances, individuals can reinstate their passenger licenses after 45 days provided they install an ignition interlock device “IID.” However, at this point, individuals are only allowed to operate a motor vehicle that is equipped with an IID. Therefore, individuals who drive employer-issued vehicles (even non-commercial vehicles) for work will be prohibited from driving those vehicles unless their employer agrees to install an IID in the vehicle.
CDL Holders Are Not Eligible for the Alcohol Education Program “AEP”
Ordinarily, if it is your first offense DUI in Connecticut, you would be eligible to apply for the Alcohol Education Program which, if completed successfully, would lead to your charges being dismissed. However, CDL holders are not eligible for the Alcohol Education Program – even when driving their personal passenger vehicles. In addition, individuals arrested for DUI while driving a commercial vehicle are also ineligible for the Alcohol Education Program.
This means that Connecticut CDL holders and those operating a commercial vehicle in Connecticut will face prosecution for their very first DUI arrest. If convicted of DUI, there will be a permanent record of DUI on both your criminal record and your driving record.
These laws are especially tough on CDL holders because most CDL holders drive for a living and are required to maintain an active commercial driver’s license to continue in their employment. In addition, it will be more difficult for such individuals to obtain future CDL-required employment with a DUI conviction on their driving and criminal records.
Because of this, it is absolutely essential to retain the services of knowledgeable and experienced Connecticut CDL DUI attorneys to fight the charges and help you keep your CDL license.
Subsequent Offense CDL DUI
Connecticut CDL holders arrested and facing multiple-offender DUI are at risk for Felony DUI, jail time ranging between 120 days and 3 years, and fines ranging from $1,000 – $8,000.
CDL holders who commit two or more commercial DUI offenses also risk a permanent CDL revocation. In determining whether your CDL revocation will be permanent, Connecticut courts have ruled that it does not matter if you held a CDL when you committed your first DUI offense. If you hold a CDL at the time you commit a second or subsequent DUI offense, then you will face a permanent revocation to your CDL.
Reinstating Your CDL After a DUI Revocation in Connecticut
If your commercial driver’s license was revoked for 1-year due to a first DUI-related offense, you can reinstate your CDL at the end of that year by simply paying a reinstatement fee.
If your CDL was permanently revoked after two or more DUI-related offenses, you may still be able to get your license back if you meet certain conditions. After 10 years you can apply for reinstatement. Since the date of your permanent revocation, you must have successfully completed a substance abuse treatment program, maintained a clean criminal and driving record, and not have a current substance abuse problem. If you meet the minimum requirements, you will be eligible for a reinstatement hearing at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles “DMV.” If a DMV Hearing Officer then finds that there is good cause to reinstate your CDL, you will be a commercial driver again.
Do I Have to Tell My Employer About a CDL DUI?
If you are a CDL holder and you’ve been convicted of a DUI, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires you to notify your employer of the conviction within 30 days. In addition, you must tell your employer if your CDL has been suspended, revoked, disqualified, or withdrawn. The notification has to be made before the end of the business day following the day you received the notice.
Before notifying your employer, however, you should discuss your case with an experienced CDL DUI lawyer. As you are required to maintain employment records for a ten-year period, revealing too much or too little to your current employer may have disastrous results. By seeking legal advice before disclosing information to your employer or the court, you can ensure that no more than is absolutely necessary will be recorded in your employment and driving history.
What if I Was Driving a Personal Vehicle?
If you are driving a personal vehicle when stopped by law enforcement, the DUI limit is .08 instead of .04. If your BAC exceeds that limit and you are later convicted of DUI, you could lose your CDL even though you were operating a personal vehicle when the police pulled you over.
Commercial drivers are held to an extremely high standard, so a DUI conviction can and probably will lead to CDL complications. Don’t take a chance with your future- always contact a Connecticut DUI attorney to review the ways that you can fight the charges and retain your livelihood.
How Can a CDL DUI Lawyer Help?
If you lose your CDL, it can have severe employment consequences, so your best course of action is to get advice and representation from a DUI attorney in CT. Here are some ways an attorney can contest the State’s case:
- Determining whether you were lawfully pulled over
- Reviewing the probable cause for arrest
- Questioning the roadside test accuracy and administration
- Challenging the accuracy of breath or blood results
- Examining constitutional challenges like Miranda violations
At The Sills Law Firm, LLC, we understand that your job future is at stake if you lose your commercial driving privileges and will use our 20+ years of collective experience to protect your livelihood and your future.
Fighting to Help You Keep Your CDL in CT
At The Sills Law Firm, LLC, our Connecticut CDL DUI attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of how to defend all types of DUI cases, including those involving commercial drivers and CDL holders. If your driving privileges and job future are at stake, it is crucial to act immediately. We have 20+ years of collective experience in this field and the invaluable resources of a large law firm combined with the personalized attention of a small firm. Do not let a DUI ruin your career or future.
GIVE US A CALL TO BEGIN YOUR COMMERCIAL DUI DEFENSE NOW.