So you got a DUI/DWI charge in Howard County, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County or any other county in Maryland and you have a CDL (commercial driver’s license). Your CDL is required for you to work, so what happens now? Well, in a word, you have a problem. First, the fact that you were not driving a CDL vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest does NOT matter, you still have the same problem. Yes, it’s not fair but that’s the way your Federal Government set it up. Now, where to go from here? It’s a little confusing so if the following CDL-DUI advice is not working for you, feel free to give us a call.
A conviction or a PBJ on the 21-902A, C or D offense will result in you loosing your CDL license for one full year. The fact that you need your CDL to work for a living, to provide for your family or the fact that you were not driving a CDL at the time of your stop or arrest is not relevant to the consequences. The mere fact that you possessed a CDL at the time of the arrest is enough.
A conviction for the 21-902(B) offense or a PBJ does NOT result in the immediate loss of your CDL, that’s the good news. In fact, a PBJ (probation before judgment) on the 21-902(B) offense is a good thing for a CDL holder, you want that assuming your case may not otherwise be won. Also, a conviction on the B offense is workable too, it does not automatically result in the loss of your CDL, it does result in 8 points on your record however which then results in a points suspension hearing (which you must request) where you can ask for a lesser period of suspension of your license. The MVA is typically looking a 6 months suspension for 8 points related to DUI or alcohol which means 6 months suspension of your CDL license in this DUI arrest.
Now, having said that, what about the administrative MVA hearing secondary to DUI stop, ie. the administrative suspension (this is that onion skin Officer’s Order of Suspension paper you received when they liberated your license from your wallet).
1. If you blew less than a .15, that’s good. You can request an MVA hearing within 10 days of your arrest and request any modification you might seek, worse case scenario is that the MVA does not see it your way and you lose your license for 45 days. When you lose your license you lose your CDL. If you get a modified driver’s license, you still lose your CDL. It is very important to understand that for whatever period of time you have a “modified” driver’s license or a suspended license, you will lose your CDL license. However, for 45 days you might be able to swing something with your employer, ie. maybe you can drive a regular vehicle or do other work.
2. The CDL license CANNOT be modified like a regular license; the CDL license will be suspended for whatever period of time the holder receives either a modification or a suspension of his regular license. That is to say that a modification of the CDL is NOT possible. It will just be flat suspended while the driver may have a modified regular license.
3. This is a problem for the CDL driver for more than the obvious reason of his loosing a CDL. If a driver requests an MVA hearing, they may get whatever modification they seek, like maybe the interlock or maybe a work restricted license to drive an employers car which is generally good news, but the problem is that during any period of modification of suspension of regular license, the CDL will actually be suspended.
4. This problem becomes more evident when talking about a BAC (breach alcohol content) of .15 or greater or a refusal case where the person may face 90 or 120 days and then the CDL holder seeks an interlock at the MVA hearing or may voluntarily place the interlock on their car. Either way the CDL license will be suspended for the entire period of the modification (ie. 1 year if the interlock is obtained). This obviously is a big problem because the time period of suspension of CDL just went from 90-120 days to 1 year, big difference.
5. The most likely solution is to NOT to request an MVA hearing at all when talking about a .15 or refusal case and have the licensee lose their license for the given period of time because they will get their CDL back much faster that way. Unless, the CDL holder determines that they don’t need the CDL and can get by driving for their employer in a non CDL vehicle, then a hearing to get an employee exemption/modification may be appropriate.
6. Of course all this needs to be considered in light of the merits of the MVA case in chief. If there are serious weaknesses in the MVA’s case this will further complicate the situation because winning has clear advantages but if the licensee loses, he must be ready to indicate if he desires the interlock or would rather just take a flat suspension, which may be the better option based on the foregoing.
Each DUI case regarding a CDL holder is different or there may be other competing consequences, since the decision regarding the MVA and the CDL is a complicated one, a CDL holder is strongly encouraged to seek the advise of a qualified DUI lawyer in Maryland on this matter and the ramifications of any decision.