How a DUI Can Affect your CDL in Maryland

DUI effects on a CDL in Maryland

DUI laws in Maryland are extremely strict for commercial drivers. Those who rely upon a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to make a living must abide by rigid federal regulations due to the nature of their vehicles. Part of these regulations holds them to a higher standard than non-commercial drivers when it comes to receiving a DUI citation.

If you are a commercial vehicle driver, for example, your legal BAC may not exceed 0.04, while the legal limit for everyone else is 0.08. All commercial drivers are treated as such even when they are off-duty; therefore, getting a DUI in your regular car can lead to strict penalties that can impact your job. If you get a DUI when operating a commercial vehicle, you are urged to consult a local CDL lawyer.

The DUI “Double Standard” for Commercial Drivers

Consider this: two friends agree to meet at a bar for drinks. One of them happens to be a semi-truck driver in Maryland while the other one works in construction. The semi-truck driver holds a commercial driver’s license while his friend does not. After their outing, they both head home in their personal vehicles.

On the way home, one of the friends exceeds the speed limit by a few miles per hour, triggering a nearby officer to conduct a traffic stop. During the stop, the officer asks him to blow into a breathalyzer. The result is 0.06. What happens next?

  • The construction worker in this scenario would likely be free to go. He might be issued a citation for speeding but not DUI if he was not visibly impaired.
  • The officer would likely arrest the truck driver instantly for a CDL violation.

Unfortunately, this is the reality commercial drivers face. A truck driver is treated as such even during his personal time. The fact that he did not drive the commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI stop did not deter the officer from issuing a DUI citation. Whether you are in your work vehicle or personal car, a breath test of above 0.04 will result in a DUI citation, and a DUI with a CDL will result in severe punishment.

DUI/DWI Penalties for Commercial Drivers in Maryland

A DUI is typically a misdemeanor offense that can lead to a period of incarceration, steep fines, community service, DUI school, and other penalties. Although non-commercial drivers may apply for a hardship license to get to and from work, this option does not exist for commercial drivers.

Commercial drivers have a tougher time than others when resolving a Maryland DUI. Extra penalties for CDL drivers include:

  • CDL suspension for one full year
  • No restricted driving privileges
  • A second DUI conviction leads to the permanent loss of your CDL
  • Difficulties being re-hired after the license suspension
  • Increased insurance rates for all vehicles

A DUI conviction can result in the loss of your commercial driver’s license, but it doesn’t have to. A Baltimore CDL DUI lawyer who handles violations like DUI can fight the charge. As a former Assistant Attorney General for the Motor Vehicle Administration, Hillel Traub has over 20 years of experience helping truck drivers in Baltimore obtain favorable results for their DUI cases. Call us today at (410) 580-1100 for a free consultation.