The state of Illinois has strict DUI laws for commercial drivers. Commercial drivers can be automatically charged for DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. They also can be arrested and convicted of DUI if the state is able to prove they were unable to safely operate their vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their blood.
Recently on our DUI forum a commercial driver asked, “If I was arrested last week for DUI while operating my commercial truck what will happen if I am convicted of an Illinois DUI for the first time?”
First Illinois DUI conviction for a commercial driver
Commercial drivers need their commercial license to maintain their employment, generate income, and legally operate their vehicle. Unfortunately, if you are cited with your first Illinois DUI and you receive court supervision or a conviction for the charge your commercial driver’s license will be disqualified for one year. While this bad, if you are cited for a second DUI, you will permanently lose your CDL license and will have to seek alternate employment.
Other reasons your CDL could be disqualified
What if you are arrested but not convicted for an Illinois DUI? If you are a commercial driver this may not matter. For instance, if you are stopped for DUI in Illinois and you submit to the BAC test and your BAC is over .04 while operating your commercial vehicle you can still have your license suspended.
Maybe you think your CDL is safe as long as you are not stopped for a DUI in your commercial vehicle? Think again. If you are arrested and your BAC is over .08 in a non-commercial (personal) vehicle, your CDL will still be disqualified for 1 year.
Some commercial drivers also think they can outsmart the state simply by refusing their chemical test. Unfortunately, even if you are not convicted of an Illinois DUI you can expect to lose your CDL for the test refusal. This is true whether you are driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle.
Driving intoxicated in the state of Illinois as a commercial driver will not be tolerated. Expect to have your license suspended for at least one year for a test failure, test refusal, or an Illinois DUI conviction.
First step after CDL driving under the influence arrest
If you have been arrested for DUI and your commercial driver’s license is threatened you are going to need immediate legal help. Due to the seriousness of this offense, you will not want to try to fight this on your own.
Another consideration after a DUI conviction is your ability to find employment. Although the state may only suspend your license for a year, even if you are able to get your CDL reinstated, companies will be hesitant to hire you with a DUI on your record. In fact, it’s not unusual for some companies to wait up to five years to consider hiring you again after a DUI arrest. Other companies may consider you after a few years, but it may still be tough to get a job.
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