As we’ve seen in previous posts, a DWI can result in a suspension of a driver’s license. In St. Charles DWI cases, drivers with a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, face a serious prospect of losing their CDL status. Many CDL holders rely on their license to earn a living, so a loss of CDL status can mean a losing a job. This means DWI charges against CDL holders should be taken very seriously. This week, St. Charles DWI attorney Todd Ryan reviews the CDL and how DWI charges can specifically affect CDL holders.
What is a CDL?
The short answer is a CDL is a special license class that permits drivers to operate certain vehicles for commercial purposes. A common example is an over-the-road tractor trailer operator. Every time you see a semi driving down the highway, that vehicle is being operated by a CDL holder. Missouri actually has three classes of CDL: A, B, and C.
For purposes of examining a DWI case, all three classes (A,B, and C) are treated the same. It is important to note that class E and class F licenses are not treated as CDL classes and are not subject to special treatment. It’s also important to note that CDL status can be thought of as an additional driving privilege, meaning a privilege over and above the driving privilege allowed by a class F license. This post focuses on the effects a DWI has on CDL privileges.
To obtain a CDL, a driver must complete an application process that is far more stringent than the process to obtain a class F license.
How Are CDL Holders Treated Differently?
Much of the applicable law can be found under the Uniform Commercial Driver’s License Act, §302.700 - et seq. RSMo. As we saw in previous posts, DWI cases typically have two components: a civil or administrative component and a criminal component. DWI cases involving CDL holders are no different in that respect, but the applicable standards in the administrative tract do differ. Drivers should always remember that when dealing with criminal DWI charges, they are entitled to all protections granted by the Constitution. This includes the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial.
It is a crime for a driver to operate a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or greater. For non-commercial vehicles and for drivers over the age of 21, this limit is 0.08%. A driver with a CDL operating a non-commercial vehicle is still subject to the 0.08% limit; however any alcohol contact can put the driver at risk for losing his or her CDL status.
An alcohol-related administrative suspension of a driver’s license will carry with it a one-year CDL disqualification if that driver holds a CDL. Most CDL holders whocome to our firm rely on their CDL status to earn a living. This makes protecting the CDL status extremely important.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The most important thing a CDL holder can do when facing DWI charges is to hire an attorney experienced in handling DWI cases for CDL holders. St. Charles DWI attorney Todd Ryan has years of experience helping drivers protect their CDL status. As we’ve seen in previous posts, time is of the essence in all DWI cases, and CDL DWI cases are no different. If you are a CDL holder facing DWI charges, contact CDL DWI attorney Todd Ryan as soon as possible.