How a DUI arrest can affect a commercial drivers license
A DUI arrest can have many consequences, both direct and collateral. Everyone knows that a DUI carries jail, fines, alcohol treatment, probation, ignition interlock device requirements, and personal license suspensions. But if you’re a holder of a commercial drivers license (CDL) you face a loss of that license in addition to your personal license.
What I would like to discuss is what happens to a CDL after a DUI arrest in a personal non-comercial vehicle. From previous blog posts anytime a person is arrested for a DUI they most likely will face 2 legal actions. One is with the Washington Department of Licensing, and the other is from the Judicial system. Depending on what happens from either of those legal actions, a CDL holder may be affected.
So lets take a closer look at what happens at the DOL hearing. First if you win the DOL hearing then there is no CDL disqualification. If you lose the DOL hearing and its your first violation under RCW 46.25.090(1) then you face a 1 year license suspension. If you lose the DOL hearing and its your second or subsequent violation of RCW 46.25.090(1) then its a lifetime disqualification.
Now lets look at what can happen in the criminal case. In a criminal case for DUI charge a person basically has 5 different things that can happen to them.
First if you beat the DUI charge in the criminal case then no CDL disqualification.
Secondly if you get convicted of the DUI and its your first violation under RCW 46.25.090(1) then its a 1 year CDL disqualification. If you get convicted and its your second or subsequent violation of RCW 46.25.090(1) then its a lifetime disqualification.
Thirdly if you get the DUI charge reduced to reckless driving and you have a prior serious traffic violation within 3 year you will face a 60 day CDL disqualification. If you have two or more prior serious traffic violations within 3 years then its a 120 CDL disqualification.
Fourthly if you get the DUI reduced to negligent driving then there is no CDL disqualification but it will count as a prior serious traffic offense.
And lastly if you’re considering a deferred prosecution from my reading of the statute it is unclear who this will be treated by DOL. It is clear that a deferred prosecution will not stay the disqualification of the CDL in the DOL hearing.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, and you carry a CDL its important to speak with a DUI attorney that not only understands, but can help you navigate the waters of the CDL and disqualification. Remember many attorneys out there claim to be DUI attorneys, but reality they are pretenders. Contact my office today to schedule a free 60 minute consultation that is completely confidential to discuss your options and rights when facing a DUI arrest.