Getting charged with an OUI is always a serious situation. But that situation can be even more consequential if you're charged with an OUI while operating a commercial vehicle. In fact, people who operate commercial vehicles are often held to a higher standard than average drivers. Many states have modeled their standards after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and set a 0.04 blood alcohol limit for commercial drivers.
Some states also have a rule that commercial drivers cannot operate a vehicle within four hours of consuming alcohol. Commercial drivers could even be subjected to alcohol testing after an accident if there is the suspicion that the driver was under the influence. Not only could you be putting your safety and driver's license at risk, but you could ruin your current career and any future opportunities.
Keep reading to learn happens if you're charged with an OUI while driving a commercial vehicle.
You Must Notify Your Employer
In most states, if you hold a CDL and are convicted of any traffic offense other than a parking violation, you must notify your employer within 30 days. Your employer must be notified even if you weren't driving a commercial vehicle at the time.
You May Have A Longer License Suspension
Anyone who is charged with an OUI could be at risk to have his/her license suspended. However, the length of the suspension could be even longer if you have a CDL. In some states, CDL holders automatically receive a one-year license suspension if they are charged with an OUI. In Maine, a first offense OUI while driving a commercial vehicle will result in a one year suspension of your license. However, if hazardous materials were being transported, the suspension period is increased to three years.
You Could Lose Your CDL
In many states, including Maine, any CDL holder who is charged with a second OUI will automatically lose his/her license forever. There is a provision that allows for the lifetime suspension to be reduced to 10 years but it is difficult to obtain. It is important to note that it doesn't matter how far apart the second conviction is from the first.
You Could Lose Your Job
If you're a commercial driver whose OUI results in a suspended license, it is illegal for your employer to allow you to work while your license is suspended. Other than that, it is completely up to the discretion of your employer to decide whether or not you will be able to return to work. Having an OUI on your record could also make it difficult to get jobs in the future.
You Could Face Fines And Other Legal Fees
Not only could being convicted of a commercial OUI impact your personal and professional lives, but it could also impact your wallet. If you're arrested for an OUI, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Between legal fees and potential fines, an OUI could quickly become very expensive.
If you've been charged with an OUI and have a CDL, or are simply a commercial driver looking for more information on the subject, Attorney William Ashe has over a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with. If you or someone you know is dealing with an OUI while driving a commercial vehicle, please contact The Law Offices of William H. Ashe.