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How Can a DUI Conviction Affect Your Ability to Get a CDL License?

 Posted on July 09, 2024 in CDL

CA defense lawyerIn what must surely define the word "irony," a truck driver who just happened to be hauling more than 43,000 pounds of beer was recently charged with DUI in Chico, CA. In California—and every state except Utah, a commercial vehicle driver may not have a BAC of more than 0.04 percent. If this happens to be a CDL driver’s first DUI, they might get off "easy" and only lose their CDL license for a year.

For the person whose job requires a CDL license to make a living, this is anything but an easy penalty, especially when combined with the potential criminal consequences of jail time and an array of fees and fines. For those contemplating getting a CDL license who are unsure whether a prior DUI will affect them, the answer is, "It depends."  

Whether you are trying to obtain a first-time CDL license, fighting a DUI to prevent a CDL license loss, or attempting to regain a CDL license following a DUI conviction, having an aggressive San Francisco CDL defense lawyer is essential. A skilled attorney has the knowledge and experience to help achieve the best outcome possible.

Was Your DUI Conviction a Misdemeanor or Felony?

The first question is whether the prior DUI conviction is a misdemeanor or felony. Most California DUI arrests are misdemeanors. Under California Vehicle Code 23550.5 VC, a DUI becomes a felony when: 

  • The defendant has three or more prior DUI convictions within ten years of the current charges (in California or any other state).  
  • The defendant already has a felony DUI conviction.
  • A person received a bodily injury from an accident caused by a person driving under the influence.  
  • The DUI accident resulted in a fatality.

Those with a felony DUI on their record will not be able to obtain a CDL license, and even those without a felony DUI will receive a lifetime ban on applying for a CDL if they have two DUIs.

What is the Process for Obtaining a CDL License After a Non-Felony DUI?

With only one DUI, the application can be made for a CDL 30 days from the date the Order of Suspension is lifted, provided the driver did not refuse a breathalyzer test. If the driver submitted to a breathalyzer test and this is their first DUI, the following legal requirements must be completed: 

  • The license suspension period imposed by the DMV or the court must be over.
  • Any DUI program or rehab ordered by the court must be completed.
  • All court-ordered fines must be paid in full.
  • The driver’s driving record must be cleared of any violations or points related to the DUI, which may require attending traffic school.
  • Application for reinstatement of the CDL driver’s license can now be made.

Getting a CDL license reinstated may not be enough to convince a trucking company to hire a driver with a DUI on their record. Drivers should prepare for employer resistance. Trucking companies are naturally wary of hiring a driver with a DUI on their record since the company pays high-risk insurance premiums for the driver.    

Before applying for truck driver positions after regaining a CDL license, thoroughly review each company’s policies regarding working with drivers who have a DUI conviction. Some companies may require an additional waiting period or have other requirements. It may take a significant amount of persistence to find California employers who are open to hiring drivers with a prior DUI.

How a Napa, CA CDL Defense Lawyer Can Help

An attorney from Burglin Law Offices, P.C., who has represented more than 5,000 people charged with DUI, can work toward helping you regain your CDL license. When you choose a Sonoma, CA CDL defense attorney who will fight for you, your future as a commercial truck driver immediately looks brighter. Having an attorney with a stellar 32-year legal career and comprehensive education in chemical testing and scientific protocols for DUI cases as your advocate simply makes good sense. Call Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300, to schedule your free consultation.  

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