How drunk driving charges differ when you have a CDL

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2022 | Commercial Drivers/CDL Tickets

People know that they shouldn’t drink and drive, but they often fail to understand how the law on the issue actually works. The basic rules for an Arkansas driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge are simple. If you exceed the legal limits for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), police officers could arrest you. You could face charges after a traffic stop or because of a motor vehicle collision.

It is common for any driver accused of drunk driving in Arkansas to lose their license and even face incarceration. However, those who drive for a living face bigger penalties and stricter regulations because of their work.

How are DWI charges different when you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

You don’t have to be at work to face career consequences

Obviously, if you get arrested for drunk driving while in control of your commercial truck, you could face penalties that will affect your CDL and your employment.

Infractions in your own vehicle can also affect your commercial license. Too many minor tickets could lead to the loss of your CDL. A single DWI charge could make you ineligible for your CDL for a year. Those who have had prior DWI infractions may lose their eligibility for even longer.

The BAC limit at work is lower

You can face charges both for signs of obvious impairment in how you drive and for a technical infraction where you are over the legal limit despite displaying normal driving skills. Although the average driver would face charges for a BAC of 0.08% or higher, the rules that apply to commercial drivers are stricter.

If you are in control of a commercial vehicle, a police officer can arrest you for impaired driving when your BAC reaches 0.04%, which is half of the legal limit for people in their personal passenger vehicles. Given how much more difficult it can be to control a commercial vehicle, the stricter limit makes sense, but it also means you will have a very hard time gauging when you might be at risk of a DWI charge.

Learning about the unique rules that apply to commercial drivers accused of DWI offenses can help you protect your profession.