While driving is considered a privilege, not a right in Greenwich and the state of Connecticut more generally, this is especially true for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This is due to the higher level of training, as well as the dangerous nature of the large machines and hazardous materials associated with a CDL. If you have a CDL and are facing a DUI charge, this could seriously impact your livelihood because your license could be taken away. Learn more about protecting yourself and your license on this page.
Penalties and BAC Issues
CDLs are automatically suspended for a year if a person refuses a blood alcohol content (BAC) test or fails it. If the person is arrested while moving hazardous materials, it is a three-year ban. The rules defining refusals and failure of the BAC test in Connecticut are laid out for CDLs as follows:
(1) Refusal to take a BAC test under any circumstances and regardless of whether the commercial driver’s license driver was utilizing their CDL license at the time of the BAC test, (2) Failure of a BAC test, which would be a BAC of .04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle, or a .08% or higher while driving any vehicle, (3) A conviction for a DUI resulting from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If one of these elements is triggered, the suspension will take effect.
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One DUI offense, while stiff in penalty, can often be managed. However, subsequent DUIs come with a lifetime ban. This can be due to a refusal or failure of the BAC test. After 10 years, the person can ask the commissioner for reprieve but will need to show voluntary involvement in a treatment program, as well as good cause, and the commercial driver’s license may be reinstated. Out-of-state BAC refusal or failure also counts in the jurisdiction of Connecticut.
CDL drivers are not only subject to state law and regulation but also federal laws. This is done by way of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations on drug and alcohol use. These regulations state that a person is presumed to have been under the influence if they refuse a BAC test, and they cannot legally test higher than .04% if they submit to a test after operating a commercial vehicle. This is based on a similar assumption that there is a higher degree of responsibility needed, given the inherent nature of CDLs.
Protecting Your Commercial Driver’s License
Obtaining a CDL is time-consuming and costs money, and is mostly done for employment purposes. As such, a DUI will have long-lasting impacts on those charged. If you own a CDL and have been charged with a DUI, it is important to know your options, and the best course of action. To achieve the best results, contact a Greenwich DUI defense lawyer. At our firm, we are happy to help.