If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Colorado, losing your CDL for any length of time can be career-ending. In 2018, Colorado had 411 DUI arrests per 100,000 people, ranking 13th in the nation for drunk driving rates. Many of those arrests involved a CDL with a DUI.
If you find yourself among the many Coloradans who are charged with a DUI, will you be able to keep your CDL?
What Happens to Your CDL with a DUI in Colorado?
If you hold a commercial driver’s license in Colorado, you may be wondering whether a DUI will be the end of your career. The answer depends on the facts of the case.
There are several factors that can lead to a CDL suspension:
- DUI (alcohol or drugs) or DUI per se charges while driving a personal or commercial vehicle
- Refusing a blood or breathalyzer test
- Blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04% or higher
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked or suspended license
- Death caused by negligent operation of a vehicle
A DUI charge doesn’t guarantee a conviction. An experienced Colorado DUI attorney can help protect your CDL by building a strong defense and negotiating on your behalf for the best possible outcome.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
A DUI is considered a major offense and is grounds for mandatory CDL disqualification if convicted.
- First-Time Offense: 1-3 years CDL license revocation if you were driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you were transporting hazardous materials, the revocation will last three years.
- Second or Subsequent Offense: Lifetime revocation of your CDL, but you may apply for reinstatement after 10 years.
- Schedule 1 Controlled Substance: Lifetime revocation if you are caught transporting the drug.
A DUI conviction will also result in a one-year suspension of your personal driver’s license.
Excess BAC Underage CDL
Colorado allows individuals under 21 to obtain a CDL and drive a commercial vehicle within the state’s borders.
If you are underage, caught driving while under the influence and your BAC was in excess of 0.08, your CDL license will be revoked for:
- 3 months for the first offense
- 6 months for the second offense
- 1 year for a third or subsequent violation
You may also have your personal driver’s license revoked, and you may not receive a probationary license while your license is revoked.
Once the revocation period is over, your license will only be reinstated if the DMV is satisfied that you will be a safe driver in the future.
A DUI Can Cost You Your Livelihood
If you are a first-time offender, you will get your CDL back after the revocation period, but it may be difficult or impossible to find an employer that is willing to hire you. Some carriers will hire drivers with DUI convictions, but only after a certain number of years have passed (5-10 years in some cases).
In the meantime, you won’t be able to drive a commercial vehicle while your CDL is revoked. That’s 1-3 years without employment in the field. When your license is reinstated, you may also face expensive fees.
You may be able to apply for another class of non-commercial driver’s license, but it may be probationary or there may be restrictions, such as:
- Requiring an ignition interlock device
- Completion of an alcohol or drug program
While your CDL is revoked, you will not be granted a restricted or probationary commercial driver’s license.
In other words, you cannot earn a living driving any type of commercial vehicle while your CDL is suspended.
In order to get your license reinstated, you may have to:
- Pay reinstatement fees
- Complete court-ordered requirements
- Attend a drug and alcohol treatment program
- Retake your CDL test (written and road skills)
Protecting Your CDL after a DUI Charge
If you are cited with a DUI, you have seven days from the date of the citation to request a CDL revocation hearing from the Colorado DMV.
A conviction will lead to license suspension and may very well cost you your livelihood.
It is crucial to work with a Colorado DUI attorney to protect your CDL after a DUI charge. An experienced lawyer will mount a strong defense for your case, negotiate on your behalf to lower the charges, and fight for the best possible outcome.
Reducing the charges to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving, may save your career.
“Over 90% of people who are charged with driving under the influence end up pleading guilty,” says Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown. “About 5% of those cases are dismissed or reduced to a charge less than a DWAI, and 5% or less would go to trial. ”
DUI cases are incredibly complex, especially when a commercial vehicle is involved. Don’t go it alone. Hire an experienced DUI lawyer with a track record of success to protect your career and your freedom.
Reach out today – our experienced DUI attorneys are ready to start building your defense.