COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE & OUI
If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) holds you to a higher standard when it comes to safety on the road. The RMV penalizes OUI and other major disqualifying offenses severely for CDL holders. These strict penalties can be imposed even if you were driving your personal vehicle as opposed to your commercial vehicle. Since most individuals hold a CDL as part of their employment, loss of a CDL could deeply impact your life. If you have a CDL and are charged with an OUI, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer who focuses their practice on OUI defense to help minimize potential impacts to your CDL and your career.
MAJOR DISQUALIFYING OFFENSES
Due to the higher standard to which CDL drivers are held, there are different types of offenses that are considered disqualifying. This means if you are convicted of or found responsible for one of these offenses, your CDL will be suspended. These offenses include:
OUI while driving any vehicle
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% or more in a commercial vehicle
Refusing a breathalyzer or other chemical test
Leaving the scene of an accident in any vehicle
Use of any vehicle to commit a felony
Negligent operation of a commercial vehicle that results in a death
Driving a commercial vehicle on a suspended CDL
The suspension period is one year for the first offense and a lifetime CDL suspension for a second offense. You may face suspension consequences to your CDL even before a conviction when you are charged with OUI, especially if you refused to submit to a breath test or a blood test, or if the results of the test show that you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
HOW IS MY CDL IMPACTED IF I FAILED OR REFUSED A BREATH TEST?
In addition to triggering a suspension on your Class D license, a breath test failure or a refusal to submit to a breath test can have additional impacts to your CDL.
What If I Failed a Breath Test?
Massachusetts does not impose an additional suspension against your CDL for a breath test failure. However, if you hold a CDL and your breath test result is a 0.08% BAC or higher, your Class D license will be suspended for a period of 30 days. This is referred to as an “administrative per se suspension” or a breath test failure suspension. Because your CDL is dependent upon an active Class D license, your CDL will not be valid until your Class D license is reinstated. Once your Class D license is reinstated, you will once again have an active CDL.
What If I Refused a Breath Test?
Refusing to take a breath test or a blood test as requested by the police is considered a major disqualifying offense. The following suspensions will be imposed for drivers holding a Commercial Driver’s License:
No Prior Major Disqualifying Offenses: 1 year suspension of the CDL plus 180 days suspension of the Class D license
1 Prior Major Disqualifying Offense: Lifetime suspension of the CDL plus an additional suspension of the Class D license
If your CDL was suspended for a first offense, you will be required to take the CDL permit test and CDL road test in order to reinstate your CDL.
Disputing a CDL Suspension
The RMV does not have any discretion when it comes to imposing a CDL suspension for a major disqualifying offense. The suspensions are required by law, and there are no hardship licenses available for CDLs. G.L. c. 90F, §9. Generally, the RMV does not permit hearings on CDL suspensions. However, you are entitled to hearing if you have a dispute with the RMV’s record. RMV records are not infallible and may be misinterpreted. All too often human error plays a role, particularly with respect to older prior OUI convictions or other recorded offenses prior to the use of electronic court records. Our office will thoroughly evaluate your driving and criminal records to locate any mistakes. We have had great success disputing RMV records on behalf of our clients in these instances, reducing or eliminating license suspensions.
LAWYERS WHO WILL PROTECT YOUR CDL
The Massachusetts DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. understand the importance of your CDL license to your career and therefore your livelihood. If you hold a CDL and are charged with OUI, the best way to limit the negative impact on your license is to defeat the OUI charge altogether. Our attorneys will aggressively defend your OUI case and diligently work to minimize any license suspension that could affect your CDL. Let us work for you.
Contact The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. for a free case consultation!