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Maryland DWI/DUI Charges & Losing Your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

For Commercial Driver’s Licence Holders, the Penalties for a DUI/DWI in Maryland Are Severe

Anyone who depends on a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to make their living knows how complicated and burdensome the laws regarding CDLs can be. This is especially true for CDL holders who are charged with an alcohol or drug-related offense. The stakes can be high because losing a CDL can often mena losing your employment as well.

CDLs and Alcohol-Related Citations

It is against the law for anyone to drive, operate, or be in control of a commercial vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system. Along the same lines, if the CDL holder refuses to take a breath or blood test or takes a breath or blood test with the result being a .04 or greater while operating a commercial motor vehicle, the individual’s CDL can be revoked for a period of 1 year.

The MVA consequences for everyone involved in a drinking and driving related offense begins after a person submits to a breath test with a result of a .08 or greater or refuses a blood or breath test after arrest. The police officers then mail a copy of the temporary driver’s license and temporary order of suspension to the MVA to begin the MVA process. But, if the police officer takes a Commercial Driver’s License away, what happens?

A Drug or Alcohol-Related Citation Will Result in the Loss of Your CDL—Even Before You’re Convicted

First, the temporary license issued by the police when the laminated Maryland driver’s license is confiscated says it allows the holder to continue driving using that paper license as your driver’s license. That is true, but there are multiple laws that require anyone driving a commercial motor vehicle to have their CDL in their possession. That means that the temporary license given by the police, while a valid driver’s license, does not allow a CDL holder to continue to drive a commercial motor vehicle. It must literally be in your possession.

A Restricted License Doesn’t Entitle You To Operate Commercial Vehicles

If a driver chooses to have an MVA hearing, for those fortunate enough to be given a work restricted license), it can seem as though that work restriction would allow a CDL holder to continue driving for employment purposes as it does for everyone else. Unfortunately, this is not so. The work restricted license issued at the administrative hearing is not a commercial driver’s license and does not allow a CDL holder to continue driving a commercial vehicle. The restricted license issued after an MVA hearing cannot be a commercial driver’s license; it is an ordinary license.

In some cases, a driver will have taken an alcohol breath or blood test with a test result indicating a .15 or greater. Those people fall into a category where they can either opt into the Ignition Interlock Program or request an MVA hearing knowing that if they lose the MVA hearing, the only outcome can be either suspension of their license outright or participation in the Ignition Interlock Program. For those people, the news is no better, as participation in the Ignition Interlock Program does not allow for a participant to hold a commercial driver’s license.

Finally, a CDL holder must beware of a Probation Before Judgment in a 21-902(a) [both the (a)(1) Driving Under the Influence and the (a)(2) per se], (c) [driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol], or (d) [driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance] case. For a CDL holder, even a Probation Before Judgment equates to a conviction for these 4 categories of offenses in the eyes of the MVA, which means a 1 year mandatory disqualification of the commercial driver’s license.

None of the information provided above is good news if you hold a commercial driver’s license. All the more reason to act quickly if you are charged with an alcohol-related drinking and driving offense. Seek legal representation from an experienced attorney immediately. Your livelihood can literally depend on it.

If you hold a CDL and have recently lost it or were cited for DUI, please give experienced Maryland DUI and DWI attorneys Jimeno & Gray, P.A., a call immediately to set up a free initial consultation to talk about your CDL. Our lawyers are Maryland natives with extensive knowledge of and experience with DUI/DWI law who serve the communities of Anne Arundel and Howard, Counties in Maryland.