Commercial drivers in Illinois are constantly under significant pressure to meet deadlines, work long hours, carry huge loads in their trucks, and deal with the stress of driving all over the country. On top of this, they are at high risk of losing their driving privileges for committing a traffic violation, such as driving under the influence.
Fortunately, getting a CDL with a DUI on your driving record is still possible in the state of Illinois. However, it can be quite tricky and you must ensure that you meet the licensing requirements. Hiring a DUI lawyer to help you apply for a CDL driver’s license can make the process a lot easier. If you have been charged with a DUI, a lawyer can help you contest these charges to prevent losing your commercial drivers license.
Hirsch Law Group
At Hirsch Law Group, we have a team of highly experienced former prosecutors now working as aggressive criminal defense attorneys. Our attorneys understand the challenges faced by commercial drivers within the state, and how difficult it can be to get your license reinstated after a DUI conviction. We dedicate our careers to protecting Illinois citizens against the harsh consequences of the criminal justice system.
An Illinois DUI lawyer from our firm will advise you on your legal situation, build a defense strategy on your behalf, fight to get your charges dismissed, and help you apply for a commercial vehicle license with a past driving record. Our law firm cares about your future and will do everything we can to protect it.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.
What is a Commercial Driver’s License?
Professional drivers, such as truck drivers and those who operate commercial motor vehicles, must get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A commercial motor vehicle is a vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds, can carry over 16 passengers, or carries dangerous materials.
To get CDL licenses, drivers must be at least 18 years old with a valid driving license. They must then undergo a proficiency test to qualify for a CDL license. If you apply for a truck driving job or a job driving a school bus, for example, you will need to get a CDL.
DUI Laws For Commercial Drivers
CDL drivers in Illinois are bound by stricter laws on DUIs than regular drivers. If you have a commercial driver’s license, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal limit is 0.04%. In comparison, the BAC for regular drivers is 0.08%. If a commercial driver is caught operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher, they will face criminal penalties plus penalties for a major traffic violation.
The criminal penalties for a first-time DUI offense for CDL drivers include a maximum fine of $2,500, up to one year of jail time, and a requirement to attend traffic school or drug and alcohol awareness programs. It does not matter if you were driving a commercial motor vehicle or a personal vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest. Once you get a CDL license, you cannot drive over the 0.04% limit.
As DUI is a major traffic violation for professional truck drivers and CDL holders, they will face an automatic license suspension for one year. If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test, you will also have your license suspended for at least one year.
Grounds For CDL Driver’s License Suspension
CDL violations in Illinois are categorized as serious traffic violations and major traffic violations. CDL drivers risk license suspension based on the number of violations they receive or the type of violation. Major traffic violations are more serious than serious traffic violations and will cause an automatic license suspension.
If a CDL driver is convicted of two serious traffic violations within three years, their CDL license will be suspended for six months. An automatic disqualification of 120 days applies when there have been four violations within three years. Some examples of serious traffic violations include distracted driving, improper lane usage, speeding tickets, and running a stop sign.
If a CDL driver receives a major traffic violation, they face automatic CDL disqualification and a suspension of their driving privileges for one year. The primary examples of major traffic violations include leaving the scene of an accident, causing a felony involving a motor vehicle, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
With CDL suspension, drivers are prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle until the suspension period is up. This means that you cannot gain employment that requires a CDL during the suspension period. As a result, many commercial drivers lose their jobs after being convicted of DUI.
Can I Get a CDL If I Have a DUI On My Record?
Being convicted of a DUI has serious consequences for your CDL driving record. However, in certain circumstances, you can still get a CDL with a DUI on your record. With one DUI, you are eligible to reapply for a CDL once the suspension period has passed and there are no outstanding court orders.
If you have been convicted of more than one DUI, however, you risk lifetime disqualification of your CDL. For a second DUI conviction, you may be eligible to renew your CDL after ten years. However, with a third DUI conviction, you cannot apply for another CDL. Regardless of whether you had a CDL before, you may need to conduct another driver’s test to get your license reinstated.
How To Get a CDL With a DUI On Your Record
The process of getting a CDL with a DUI on your driving record can be complicated. If you have been charged with a DUI and are facing license suspension, we strongly advise seeking help from an experienced attorney to avoid suspension. They will help build a convincing defense for your case to try to avoid you losing your license.
If you are applying for a CDL with a DUI already on your driving record, you must meet the following requirements:
Complete Court Requirements
To apply for a CDL with a DUI, you must first meet all court requirements from your conviction, including completing the suspension period. If you received one DUI with no prior criminal convictions, you must wait one year before applying again. If you were convicted of subsequent DUIs, this suspension period will be longer. Once the suspension period has passed, you are eligible to reapply for a CDL.
Go To Driving School
Depending on your case, the court may order you to attend driving school to retake your driver’s test. This can include both a written and driving test plus the application fees.
You may also have to attend a drug or alcohol awareness program by court order. If not, it is often helpful to attend safe driving or alcohol awareness programs anyway to prove to the court that you want to prevent further offenses.
Pay Reinstatement Fees
Drivers must pay the fees for license reinstatement. For a suspended license, the reinstatement fee is $250. If you have received multiple DUIs or a revoked license, the fee is $500.
Attend Court Hearings
It is important that drivers seeking to reinstate or apply for a CDL attend all court hearings related to their DUI charges. They should also schedule a court hearing regarding their suspended license. It is extremely helpful to submit evidence to support your case and to show the courts that you are a safe driver.
Hiring a DUI lawyer to represent your case is the easiest way to get a CDL after receiving a DUI. They will ensure that all requirements are met, represent your case in court, prove your respect for public safety, and help ensure you get a CDL.
Contact The DUI Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group Today!
Operating any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have serious consequences. If you are a commercial driver, the law will hold you to much higher standards than other drivers in Illinois. DUI arrests for commercial drivers can lead to an automatic suspension of your license for at least one year.
If you have a DUI conviction on your criminal record, it is more difficult to get a CDL and to get a job driving a commercial vehicle. However, it is still possible in some cases. To apply for a CDL with a DUI on your record, you must meet the minimum requirements and submit a convincing case. Applying for a CDL can be much easier with the help of an experienced DUI attorney.
The criminal defense legal team at Hirsch Law Group has the experience and skills necessary to help your case. Our lawyers have helped hundreds of clients get their licenses reinstated after receiving a DUI. We know how tough the legal system is on DUI and commercial drivers, and we want to do everything we can to help your case.
An Illinois CDL defense lawyer from our firm can help you fight against a DUI charge, fight to protect your license, and help you get back on the road to employment with your new license. Our aggressive criminal defense attorneys care about protecting your future.
Call us to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.