What You Need To Know: Driving Under The Influence In Michigan With A CDL

If you hold a Michigan commercial driver's license (CDL) and get convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) even while driving your personal vehicle, you very well may lose your CDL as well. Here's what you need to know to safeguard your CDL and protect your livlihood.

Consider The Risks

Your very livelihood likely relies on your possession of a valid CDL. Without it, semi-truck drivers, bus drivers, and hazmat drivers cannot legally work. For just a first offense conviction of one of the following major violations, regardless of whether you are driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or non-CMV, you will automatically lose your CDL for one year. If you are a hazmat endorsed driver driving your CMV when you get a DUI, it is an automatic three-year suspension.

Major violations are defined as:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of illicit drugs or drugs for which you do not have a valid prescription
  • Having a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .04 or higher while operating a CMV
  • Refusing to comply with a sobriety test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Committing a felony with a vehicle
  • Using a CMV for illicit drug distribution or manufacturing
  • Causing a fatality through negligence

A second violation for a CDL holder in Michigan will result in a lifetime suspension. Most professional over-the-road drivers make a very good living wage. Many don't have other employable skills that would enable them to earn nearly as much as they do driving. Remember, even if you were driving your person vehicle on your own time, the penalties will still affect your CDL. Driving under the influence simply isn't worth the risk.

What Can You Do If You Are Charged With A DUI?

The disastrous impact that a DUI conviction would have on your life requires a skilled DUI attorney who can thoroughly investigate any viable defense to the charge. The laws are too complex and the penalties too severe to try to figure this out on your own. DUI charges are difficult enough, but with the added penalties to your CDL, it becomes even more important to have adequate representation. Your continued financial solvency depends on not being convicted of the charges Challenges can sometimes be made based on things like the legality of the stop to begin with, suspected breathalyzer equipment failure, or a mishandled blood test.

Michigan isn't the only state that has such severe penalties for a DUI while driving your personal vehicle, so even if you hold a commercial license in a different state, it is still imperative to get yourself an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible.