Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders earn a living operating vehicle that carries important cargo or many people. That is why losing this license means that commercial drivers lose the ability to support themselves and their families.
When a commercial driver is arrested for DUI/OWI in Michigan, the stakes are extremely high because not only does a conviction lead to losing his/her CDL, but it also includes serious criminal penalties. Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least .04—or half of the legal limit for civilian motorists—can result in a drunk driving arrest, according to federal law.
Does a DUI Affect a CDL License?
A first OWI conviction in Michigan is punishable by a one-year CDL suspension; however, if the OWI offense involves transporting hazardous materials, the suspension will last up to three years. A second or third conviction carries CDL revocation for at least ten years.
The difference between suspension and revocation is when your suspension period is over, your CDL will be automatically returned to you. On the other hand, once the revocation period is over, you must reapply and go through the application process like it’s your first time.
As far as criminal penalties are concerned, CDL holders face the same penalties as civilian motorists. Common penalties include potential jail time, fines, community service, and other penalties.
Remember, your CDL could be suspended if your drunk driving conviction involved operating your personal vehicle. In addition, refusing a chemical test after an OWI arrest can result in the automatic suspension of your CDL.
Can You Get a CDL With a DUI in Michigan?
In Michigan, you cannot obtain a CDL if you've been convicted of a DUI or operating a motor vehicle while impaired in the two years prior to submitting your application.
If you are a commercial driver or plan to get your CDL license and you've been charged with a DUI, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side.