Do You Carry A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
If you carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Illinois, the traffic rules are stricter than the rules for other drivers. If you are charged with DUI or with driving under the influence of drugs, your CDL and your future will be at risk, and you’ll want to be defended by a Chicago CDL lawyer.
Many commercial drivers are truck drivers who deliver goods and products throughout Illinois and across the nation. However, because they drive large trucks and haul valuable cargo, the State of Illinois – and even the federal government – closely supervises commercial drivers in order to keep the roads safe.
What special rules govern CDL holders who are accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? When will a commercial driver’s license holder need to contact a Chicago DUI attorney for legal advice and representation?
When Are CDLs Suspended?
Illinois drivers may not drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) level at or over 0.08 percent, but the limit is lower for commercial drivers – 0.04 percent. A first conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs triggers a twelve-month license suspension for CDL holders.
This rule applies even when a CDL holder is driving his or her own vehicle or another non-commercial vehicle. However, if the driver was operating a vehicle that was carrying hazardous waste, that driver’s commercial driver’s license may be suspended for up to three years.
A second conviction for DUI or drugged driving prompts a commercial license revocation – the “permanent” loss of your commercial driver’s license. Some drivers with two convictions may have a CDL reinstated – after ten years – upon completion of an alcohol awareness program.
A third DUI or drugged driving conviction will mean the true permanent loss of your CDL with no possibility of reinstatement.
Other Consequences of Drug and Alcohol Convictions
A CDL suspension for DUI or drugged driving almost always means the driver will be fired by his or her current employer, and a CDL suspension is often enough to prevent that driver from ever getting hired again for a driving job, even after the license has been reinstated.
If you are not a United States citizen, any conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be considered a crime of “moral turpitude” that could prompt immigration authorities to begin a removal proceeding.
Commercial Drivers and Informed Consent
The implied consent law in Illinois is also stricter for commercial drivers. Simply by driving in the State of Illinois, you have “implied” your consent to a breathalyzer test if an Illinois police officer asks you to take the test.
Any motorist in Illinois who has been placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI and who refuses to take a breathalyzer examination will be in violation of this state’s informed consent law, and that motorist’s driver’s license will be automatically suspended.
The penalty for a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test is inconvenient for most drivers, but if you drive for a living, the suspension of your CDL can prevent you from working and earning an income.
What Steps Can You Take to Keep Your CDL?
If you are a commercial driver in Illinois and you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is essential for you to avoid a criminal conviction. You must reach out to a Chicago DUI attorney as quickly as possible.
Hiring a DUI attorney at once gives you the best chance to retain your CDL and protect your future. Your lawyer will cast doubt on the state’s case against you, and you may be able to avoid a conviction and the costly penalties that a DUI conviction entails for a commercial driver.
How Will Your Attorney Defend You?
Your attorney may offer one of the common DUI defenses on your behalf, including:
- Police officers did not have probable cause to stop you in traffic.
- The breathalyzer device was inaccurate or the test was administered improperly.
Your DUI attorney may file a motion to suppress the state’s evidence against you, including the results of your breathalyzer exam. If that motion prevails, it will hurt the prosecution’s case against you, and it will substantially reduce your chances of receiving a conviction for DUI.
What is an “Administrative” License Suspension?
When an Illinois law enforcement officer arrests you for driving under the influence, your driver’s license is immediately and automatically suspended “administratively” by the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Your administrative license suspension is entirely separate and distinct from any license suspension associated with your criminal DUI case. You will have 45 days from the date of your arrest to challenge an administrative suspension.
If you hold a commercial driver’s license, you must have a Chicago CDL lawyer represent you before the DMV and fight to have your license reinstated. At every stage of the DUI process, you should have the advice, insights, and guidance that an Illinois CDL lawyer will provide.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
If you hold a CDL in Illinois, contact an Illinois DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible after you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Your lawyer will need time to develop your defense strategy, so acting quickly is imperative.
Your DUI lawyer will review the evidence and the details of your arrest, question any witnesses, and protect your rights while developing a strategy for your defense. But with so many attorneys in the Chicago area, how can you find the attorney who will make your case a priority and fight aggressively on your behalf?
Commercial Drivers Can Count on Driver Defense Team
A Driver Defense Team attorney will develop a strong defense strategy and bring your DUI or drugged driving case to its best possible outcome. At Driver Defense Team, we know what a suspended license can do to your family, your job, and your future.
If you are a commercial driver who has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if this happens to you in the future, call Driver Defense Team immediately at 708-734-6029. Our legal team will provide a case evaluation without any obligation or cost.
We have offices in Chicago, Stone Park, and Villa Park. We defend clients in Lake County, Cook County, and DuPage County. If you’re a commercial driver who is facing a DUI or drugged driving charge, put your case in our hands, and Driver Defense Team will fight on your behalf.
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