You must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) if you operate a vehicle weighing above 26,000 pounds in Idaho. CDL is also needed if you carry 16 or more passengers in a vehicle you are driving. You must meet rigorous requirements before you get a CDL. However, a DUI charge can immediately have your CDL suspended. In such a case, you will need the help of a good Boise DUI attorney.
In order to understand how a DUI affects your CDL license, it is important to first understand what laws apply to a CDL licensee.
BAC Limit for CDL Drivers
If you have a CDL, a separate set of DUI laws apply to you. For non-commercial drivers, Idaho laws mandate that the legal limit for the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. This means that if your BAC is found at 0.08% or more, you will be considered DUI and likely to be charged as such.
In contrast, the legal limit for commercial drivers is significantly lower. In fact, if you have a CDL license and operate a commercial vehicle, the legal BAC limit for you is 0.04%. This is exactly half of the legal limit for non-commercial drivers. The lower legal limit makes it more stringent for commercial drivers and is meant to ensure that they remain sober while operating a big vehicle. It also reflects the greater risk that commercial drivers may pose while drunk when operating a vehicle that is many times the size of the smaller vehicles on the road.
BAC Test Refusal Penalties
Under Idaho Code Section 18-8002, you provide implied consent for evidentiary testing as a license holder in the state of Idaho. The implied consent law applies to both commercial and non-commercial drivers.
As per this law, CDL drivers must submit to a breathalyzer test or a blood test when asked by a police officer during a DUI stop. If you refuse to submit to an evidentiary test, the penalties include immediate license suspension for one year. This suspension remains in effect whether or not you are eventually charged with a DUI offense.
If you refuse a BAC test a second time, your CDL license is suspended for two years. Once your license is suspended, you can’t legally operate a commercial vehicle anywhere in Idaho.
If your BAC is found to be 0.04% or above, you will be charged with a DUI offense as a commercial driver. This applies even if you were driving a non-commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest. For a first DUI offense on a CDL license, you face immediate license suspension for one year. This is in addition to fines, potential prison time, and other penalties you may face depending on the nature and severity of your DUI offense.
For a second DUI offense, Idaho laws mandate that your CDL license be revoked for life. This is a particularly harsh penalty but it is meant to ensure road safety for other vehicles and persons on the road.
Consequences of a DUI Charge
As a CDL driver, the consequences of a DUI charge can be particularly harsh for you. These include:
- Potential loss of employment following your license suspension
- Fines and jail time
- Civil and criminal proceedings against you if you caused a crash while driving under the influence
- Legal obligation to inform your employer about the DUI charge within 30 days
Reinstatement of CDL License
If your Commercial driver’s license has been suspended for a one-year period after a first DUI offense, you can have it reinstated after the period is complete. In order to have the license reinstated, you will need to apply for reinstatement and pay a fee to the Idaho Department of Transportation (IDOT). Once you pay the fee and meet all other court-mandated requirements, your CDL license is reinstated.
How Can a Boise DUI Attorney Help You?
As noted above, the penalties for a DUI offense are particularly harsh for CDL drivers. This is why it is important to hire a good lawyer at the earliest following a DUI charge.
Here at the Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law, our lawyers work with CDL drivers to build up a robust defense against a DUI charge. We also help you separately request an administrative hearing about an ALS suspension, which is separate from your DUI-related license suspension. Our ultimate aim is to have your charges and penalties reduced to a minimum. Call us now to discuss your DUI case with our lawyers.