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Protecting Your Commercial Drivers License When Charged with DUI

Commercial drivers arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Reading or the surrounding area face the potential loss of livelihood along with other severe DUI penalties. Pennsylvania has some of the toughest DUI laws when it comes to those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL). The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is lower for those with a commercial license, and they are subject to more significant penalties.

How does Pennsylvania DUI law differ when you are a commercial driver?

If you are a commercial truck operator, the BAC level for a DUI is half that of a driver with a standard driver license. While any driver can be convicted of DUI with a .08 BAC, the BAC limit for a commercial driver is just .04 BAC. There is no requirement that you be operating a commercial vehicle (i.e. semi-truck) when you are arrested for DUI with a commercial license. Even if you are driving your personal vehicle rather than a work car or work truck, you may still face the standards and penalties for driving under the influence with a CDL.

Punishment of commercial drivers convicted of DUI

While the penalties associated with a Pennsylvania drunk driving conviction may include jail time, substantial fines and other penalties, the penalties for a commercial driver are far more serious. These penalties may include:

  • Minimum of two days to maximum of six months in jail
  • Maximum one year suspension of your non-commercial driver license
  • Fine up to a maximum of $5,000 and additional assessments
  • One year suspension of your CDL (three year if transporting hazardous materials)

A commercial driver who receives a second DUI conviction will receive a lifetime ban of his or her CDL.

While the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) may be a desirable option, the ARD diversion program cannot protect your commercial license. This means it is important to fight a DUI conviction to avoid the loss of your CDL and protect your criminal record from a DUI conviction that will be discovered by future employers.

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