If you have a Pennsylvania commercial driver’s license (CDL), your livelihood depends on your ability to operate a commercial vehicle. For commercial drivers, the consequences of being convicted with DUI are much more devastating than for non-commercial drivers. This is because being arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania not only subjects you to the ordinary administrative and criminal consequences, but also puts you at risk for having your CDL disqualified. This is true even if you weren’t operating a commercial vehicle at the time of your arrest.
Penalties for CDL DUI in Pennsylvania
In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the operator of a non-commercial motor vehicle is considered drunk if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or above. However, if you hold a CDL and were operating a commercial vehicle, the BAC threshold is lowered to .04 percent. In addition to the lower BAC limit, the penalties are more severe for commercial drivers caught driving with a BAC between .04 and .159 percent, since the offense automatically puts CDL drivers in the “High Impairment” tier of DUI. A first-time CDL DUI conviction carries penalties ranging from 2 days to 6 months in jail; $500 to $5,000 in fines; a one (1) year suspension of your personal driver’s license; and a one (1) year disqualification of your commercial driver’s license. The disqualification of your CDL is lengthened to three (3) years if you were carrying hazardous materials at the time of your DUI arrest.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
First-time DUI offenders may be eligible for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The ARD program can give first-time offenders a break in terms of the consequences of their DUI, but not everyone is eligible. Pennsylvania’s ARD initiative offers many benefits to persons who successfully complete the program, including no jail time and a reduced license suspension. Another benefit of ARD is that you will not have to disclose your DUI as a conviction to current or future employers. While successful completion of Pennsylvania’s ARD program can greatly reduce the consequences of a DUI charge for first-time offenders, it may not be right in your case. This is because there may be other defenses to your DUI arrest. For example, the arresting officer may not have had probable cause to stop you, or there may have been a problem with the breathalyzer machine. There is no way of knowing what defenses may be available to you, until I have had the opportunity to review your case.
Contact an Experienced PA CDL DUI Lawyer Today
The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis has over 20 years experience defending against all types of DUI charges in Pennsylvania, including those involving a commercial driver’s license. If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI, it is important to have an attorney on your case as soon as possible. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation.